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Night Snake Species ID

Posted: October 15th, 2019, 11:00 am
by TJB
I attached a photo I took at Big Bend National Park in May 2017. I originally catalogued it as a Chihuahuan Night Snake (Hypsiglena Jani) . On iNaturalist it was identified as the subspecies Texas Night Snake (Hypsiglena Jani spp Texana). Is this taxonomy determined by geography, a physical characteristic or some other manner? Thanks

Re: Night Snake Species ID

Posted: October 19th, 2019, 10:49 am
by craigb
Quite honestly the taxonomy for reptiles and amphibians changes about as often as I purchase a new car. Every six to twelve years the majority of the scientists that care about such things change from separatists to generalists. Otherwise known as the dividers and the clumpers.

For a decade or more rosy boas in California, Arizona, and Mexico had Genus, species, and subspecies hence decided by the dividers.
Then several years ago the clumpers decided that was wrong, and clumped some subspecies together into simple Genus and species.

Desert kingsnakes in southern Arizona are still a taxonomic adventure. There are professionals on all sides.

Me personally I would call your animal a H. jani from Texas (Big Bend NP). Then let both sides try to convince you of their logic.

Years of reading and experience will help you to form your own opinions.

craigb