Possible Country Records for the US

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regalringneck
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Re: Picken boggers, & baja rats

Post by regalringneck »

Lots of error's, "what ifs", & "maybe's" & other suppositions in martys post that shan't be allowed to stand unchallenged. But unless new information is posted, im done w/ this subtopic=fantasy re: baja's in cali ... and much longer ago, ... i was done w/ marty & his sillyness., tho in fairness; if anyone was to actually focus on finding a rosaliae in the golden state, i couldnt think of a more capable individual. Ha the paradox of it all!

It appears the 1 vouchered cali rosaliae isn't quite so anonymous after all, (http://specify.sdnhm.org/herpetology/)

locality/collector info:

Mountain Springs; 2.4 mi E of, on I-8

Donated by Mark Stratton and Chuck de la Cruz; D.O.R. on I-8; 11:30pm

Anybody know either of these guys? I'd sure like to talk w/ them.


Heres a pic of it:


Image


As i've delved a bit deeper, i see here we have another classic case of piss poor peer review, coupled w/ a judicious lack of healthy skepticism by those who should know better.

Grismer's rosaliae range map is really a joke as he provides no justification for it other than Hunsakers "Guadalupe canon" & the I-8 hoax ... in order to stretch the range like an umbilical cord some 300+ miles north from where there are numerous records around the 27.65 degrees N and furthur to the South. Again none have been vouchered off the San Matias pass nor Mex 2 paved transects despite decades of biologists/naturalists traversing them ... & Grismer i note, expressly discards the concept of any dependance of rosaliae on palm oasis microhabitats. In fact, i found no digital records for rosaliae in BC Norte. So spare the admonitions for so called connecting the dots ... which is btw, at best is what the range map should look like; solid in central baja sur, w/one dot; a ?mark icon on the i-8!

Hunsaker's "guadalupe canyon" ( & how many of those are there in baja?) locality that i reviewed is w/o coordinates but listed in BC Sur! Therefore there are no known vouchers of E. rosaliae between ~ 27.65 degrees N & the hoax at 32.6! Thats an unsupported 300 mile range extension, all martys blather about it being 30+ miles notwithstanding!

There have been numerous us naturalists & mx biologists to the Mexicali Guadalupe Canyon located ~ 32 degrees N. No rosaliae have been reported/vouchered from that lush oasis either.

Grismer's dislike for captive ownership is a thread throughout his generally excellent baja book, clearly w/ rosaliae, his science was clouded by his bias. This desire for rosaliae to occur in Cali, along w/ the conveinient hoax & subsequent group think; has resulted in rosaliae being state listed as a SSC in Cali, & that premature listing therefore is a potential embarrasment to the state agencies listing process.

We all want baja rats to be here in Cali, we all want boa constrictors to be in the baboquivaries, or the lower rio grande ... examples like vine snakes and jeweled racers give us reason for hope.

One day like other hoaxes, DNA analysis should reveal the truth about the origins of these unlikely specimens. I hope im wrong about both, but logic favors im not.

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Brian Hubbs
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Re: Possible Country Records for the US

Post by Brian Hubbs »

Wait a minute...I thought Harold found it...did he just give it to those other guys to donate? Or, maybe 2 rat snakes have been found...oh, double the fun...let's spread that rumor... :lol:

What I really think is that Harold just reported the find in the SWHS newsletter (since he was the editor), but was not the finder of the snake. Could this be correct?

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gbin
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Re: Possible Country Records for the US

Post by gbin »

The best part of this thread in my opinion:
Marty wrote:... Science has a way of correcting itself: that is what it is intended to do and why it is an open-ended process available to amendment with additional data...
I find biogeography very interesting, but I've never understood why people get so excited over modest range extensions. Sure, it's fun to turn up and report such specimens (which I have done), but other than that modest personal pleasure it's really not a very big deal. All such findings should be and generally are treated with at least some skepticism, which recedes as additional data accumulate, and it's not until an actual population - not just a specimen or two - is confirmed in a given area that there becomes much meaning to them, and even then it's usually not something to get too excited about. We're just talking about the edge of a species' range, after all, and all species have an edge to their range and a great many have an extensive edge at that. I'll make note of and even collect voucher specimens for range extensions when I find them, but it seems wasteful to me to put much effort into finding them when there are so many more interesting and important things I could be applying that effort toward. And arguing over range extensions seems worse than wasteful; frankly, it's silly.

Maybe that B. rosaliae reached CA by hitchhiking from MX on the foot of a migrating duck. Maybe its whole family has for countless generations lived just off the road where it was found. None of us here know for a certainty. What's most certain in the situation is that science will through time figure it out. If there were truly good cause to rush the process then fine, let's rush it, but otherwise, what's the big deal?

Gerry

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The Real Snake Man
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Re: Possible Country Records for the US

Post by The Real Snake Man »

To kind of get us back on track and perhaps spare the difficulty of reviewing everything, I’ve tried to assemble a small review of what we’ve gathered:

California:
Bogertophis rosaliae
-Much of the latter part of the discussion has been about the truth behind the 1986 specimen, and who found it. That’s all pretty fresh and pretty verbose and pretty controversial, so I’ll stay out of it.
Eridiphas slevini
-Don Cascabel recently hypothesized that this species was a good candidate for being found in palm canyon oases in southern California, like Bogies.

Arizona:

Hubbs let slip that one of the following species has supposedly been found (14 or so, actually). Knowing Hubbs and his lack of interest, it wasn’t a Lampropeltis.

Comments on areas:
-Don Cascabel says the area between Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument and the Baboquivaris (including the range itself) has not been well-explored at all.
-Correcamino says that many of the species in question would likely be on the western slopes of the Baboquivaris and nearby areas, which are considered sacred by the Tohono O’odham, and collectors/herpers/etc. are not going to have any easy time getting access.

Pseudoeurycea belli
-Correcamino says there is an old record of these from near Prescott, Arizona
Leptodeira splendida ephippiata
-Don Cascabel says that this cat-eyed snake ranges close to the border around Cananea, but would need some big Hylid species as prey, so the reservation “would be the most likely spot.”
Bipes
-Kent VanSooy says he has “heard rumors and speculation” about some member of the genus in Arizona
-Don Cascabel disagrees with the rumors about a member of the genus being present in the US, claiming the habitat is wrong in most areas and they tend to be very common where they are found.
-Correcamino says there were rumors about Bipes in the area before anyone knew what one was.
Phyllodactylus homolepidurus
-Don Cascabel says that they would most likely be on the reservation if found in Arizona
Bufo (Incilius) mazatlanensis
-C. Smith claims to have found a specimen at the golf course of the Tubac resort in Tubac, Arizona (Santa Cruz County) in 2010.
Trimorphodon tau
-Correcamino claims they have been found at Benjamin Hill, Sonora; and further, that they have been found just south of the border near Cochise County
-Don Cascabel adds that they would most likely be on the reservation if found in Arizona
Boa constrictor
-Correcamino claims they have been found at Benjamin Hill, Sonora
-Don Cascabel adds that they would most likely be on the reservation if found in Arizona
-Natalie McNear claims that the best spot (from Google Earth) looks like the Pajaritos, based on where they are found in MX.
-scott s says their habitat to the south just seemed wetter and greener than AZ.
-azatrox brings up the point that most herpers in the Pajaritos are hitting the same spots along roads at the same times of year all the time, but that much remains unexplored.
Imantodes gemmistratus/latistratus?
-Correcamino claims they have been found at Benjamin Hill, Sonora
-Don Cascabel says that he only has reason to believe they are found in southern Sonora, but would believe they ranged further north if an Anolis prey species were found.
Leptodactylus melanotus
-someone, I forget who, finally mentioned the species to say that they weren't very habitat-specific
Ctenosaura macrolophus
-Don Cascabel says that they would most likely be on the reservation if found in Arizona
Coleonyx fasciatus
-Crotalus says that there are records of the species near Cananea, Sonora, which is just south of the border
-there appears to be some taxonomic disagreement which muddles this, though
Masticophis mentovarius
-Don Cascabel says this species ranges quite far north into Sonora, and could possibly turn up in the Baboquivaris.
Leptophis diplotropsis
-Don Cascabel says this species ranges quite far north into Sonora, and could possibly turn up in the Baboquivaris.

New Mexico:
Ambystoma rosaceum
-Crotalus says that the species is most likely to be found in the Animas Mountains (or Peloncillos), if at all
-Don Cascabel concurs on the Animas as a likely spot, due to the large numbers of high elevation cattle ponds and the ability of Ambystoma to cross desert valleys
Phrynosoma ditmarsi
-Jackson Shedd thinks the main reason they haven’t been found in the US is because accessibility is difficult.
Storeria storerioides
-never mentioned again, strangely enough

Texas:
The largest of the four Border States is considered too well-sampled to hold any more unknown Mexican species. Being from the Rio Grande Valley, I am almost certain that there aren’t any more species to be discovered there, although I would also like to review the Neotropical species that barely reach into the area, if only for completeness’ sake:

-Coniophanes imperialis can be found over much of what used to be the Rio Grande Delta, whether in good habitat or urban backyards.

-Drymobius margaritiferus is only along the river from southeasternmost Hidalgo County to Southmost Cameron County; the latter may be its only home nowadays.

-Leptodeira septentrionalis has a patchy but wide distribution throughout the scrub country in the four southmost counties and two more coastal counties.

-Sceloporus grammicus can be found in Hidalgo and Cameron counties, though I’ve only ever seen them in Hidalgo County; they can be tough to find if you don’t know where to look.

-Eleutherodactylus cystignathoides can only be found in Hidalgo and Cameron counties, where it is fairly abundant at certain localities (including neighborhoods).

-Leptodactylus fragilis has historically been found in Cameron, Hidalgo, and Starr counties, but it has been hit hard by habitat destruction and appears only to persist in Starr County at the present. There has been speculation about its extirpation, but Pat Burchfield (a respected local herpetologist) reports having found numbers of them after the last major hurricane in the area (Dolly), and others have heard calls after sufficient rain in even more recent years.

-Rhinophrynus dorsalis was discovered in the US as late as 1964. This species is found only in Starr County and one or two surrounding counties; being a tropical lowland, predominantly coastal species throughout much of its range, it really surprises me that the species has never been found in the actual Delta region of the Valley, which would have flooded its habitat much more regularly and enabled greater breeding capacity. Max Pons, who has managed the Nature Conservancy’s Southmost Preserve (just east of the Sabal Palm Sanctuary) for decades, claims to have heard one calling there after a hurricane a few years ago. Whether or not they are really present there is of course not evident, but it would make sense if they were.

-Smilisca baudinii can be found in much of the southern portion of the old Delta, whether in good habitat or urban settings.

-Other more general South Texas herp species include Notophthalmus meridionalis, Siren “South Texas sp.”, Hypopachus variolosus, Rhinella marina, Drymarchon melanurus, Ficimia streckeri, Sceloporus variabilis, Sceloporus cyanogenys, and a few others.

There were some questions as to why the seemingly more-hospitable regions of the Rio Grande Delta didn’t host more Neotropical species. I wondered at this myself. There aren’t really any obvious geographical barriers; from the Yucatan Peninsula to the Rio Grande Delta, there is virtually continuous lowland forest. However, the same problem exists north of the Delta as well. Why don’t cottonmouths make it this far south? Why not copperheads, mudsnakes, or a group of other species that could probably survive if introduced here, but all appear to have ranges that dead-end around the same spot? As it turns out, several Neotropical range patterns turn out the same way to the south. My theory, and the theory of others who have looked into it, is that the sand sheets north and south of the Delta act as a sort of habitat block, and that the Neotropical species that we do have are here because they somehow made it across. I don’t know. I could be way, way off. Don Cascabel and Crotalus also mentioned that temperatures and rainfall have a lot to do with it, but that still wouldn’t explain why some northern species don’t get this far south.

I don’t know the Big Bend region very well, but there are of course several Mexican species that reach into that area as well. That area gets hit pretty hard by herpers on a regular basis, so probably nothing left to discover. As for the area between Big Bend and the Valley, it’s kind of non-descript scrub country. Maybe not as well-sampled, but probably nothing left.

I know it wasn't a perfect review and doesn't do the whole thread justice, it was mostly intended as a recap.

-Gene

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regalringneck
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Re: Possible Country Records for the US

Post by regalringneck »

Welcome back doc, even if it is w/ your mamalogist hat on ... 300 miles & across the US border isn't a mere modest range extension when it comes to our legless friends! Nor is "outing" what is increasingly looking like yet another hoax, tho i'd like to see these rosaliae posts copied out to a stand alone thread. Typing about rosaliae ... i wonder if they, like the chocolate striped boas, didnt ride s. baja across the gulf from their mainland elaphid cousins & that would nicely account for their current distribution, & leaving why they couldn't colonize furthur north along the peninsular ranges ... fodder for another thread : }
Gene thnx for the summary.

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gbin
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Re: Possible Country Records for the US

Post by gbin »

regalringneck wrote:Welcome back doc, even if it is w/ your mamalogist hat on ... 300 miles & across the US border isn't a mere modest range extension when it comes to our legless friends!
Such a (possible) range extension distance might be more impressive for a snake than a mammal, rxr, but that doesn't mean it's any more important. ;) We're still talking about nothing more than where exactly the edge of a species' range lies - a species the range of which extends approximately the entire length of the Baja Peninsula, no less - and although that might be meaningful to people whose jobs require them to see it so (i.e. affected state and federal wildlife managers), it really isn't in any other way that I can see. I'm not saying that people shouldn't be hopeful or skeptical about it, as suits them, I'm just saying it's not worth arguing about. And even if it were worth arguing about, argument won't settle it; that'll take the accumulation of more data or a lack thereof over time.

I agree, Gene, that was a great summary!

Gerry

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yoloherper
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Re: Possible Country Records for the US

Post by yoloherper »

Hunsaker's "guadalupe canyon" ( & how many of those are there in baja?) locality that i reviewed is w/o coordinates but listed in BC Sur! Therefore there are no known vouchers of E. rosaliae between ~ 27.65 degrees N & the hoax at 32.6! Thats an unsupported 300 mile range extension, all martys blather about it being 30+ miles notwithstanding!
I don't know much about the topic, but Hunsaker's "Guadalupe Canyon" is definitely in BC Norte withing 40 miles of the border. Here's his original write up from Herpetologica which actually indicates they found more than one individual at the location. This at the time represented a 400+ mile extension, but the validity seems pretty solid.
-Elliot
Edit, forgot to put the link
http://dustyrhoads.x10host.com/Dusty_Rh ... logica.pdf

Marty
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Re: Possible Country Records for the US

Post by Marty »

Wait a minute...I thought Harold found it...did he just give it to those other guys to donate? Or, maybe 2 rat snakes have been found...oh, double the fun...let's spread that rumor...

What I really think is that Harold just reported the find in the SWHS newsletter (since he was the editor), but was not the finder of the snake. Could this be correct?
Brian,
That is a possibility. Though Harold published the note he doesn’t claim he was the one who found it, though that is how I interpreted it since he was the one to publish the note and no credit is given to anyone else. That could also be why the date and locality accompanying the specimen (26 May 1984 and 2.4.miles E of Mountain Spring on I-8) differs from that published by Harold as “crossing old US Highway 80 in early June between Jacumba and Mountain Springs.” Or, maybe he learned of the find, found another, published it, and didn't deposit the specimen; though I see that as less likely that him reporting on the find of others now that the collectors names are known...but who knows?
i was done w/ marty & his sillyness., tho in fairness; if anyone was to actually focus on finding a rosaliae in the golden state, i couldnt think of a more capable individual. Ha the paradox of it all!

…all martys blather…
Back-handed compliments and attacking the person instead of the information; predictably John Gunn!
As i've delved a bit deeper, i see here we have another classic case of piss poor peer review, coupled w/ a judicious lack of healthy skepticism by those who should know better.
I’m glad you chimed in to set the record straight. The absolute certitude with which you speak is almost compelling, but yet you must rely on trying to bring others down in order to bolster your position. Differing opinions and a healthy dose of skepticism can be a good thing. Knowing how to provide those viewpoints and dissenting opinions, however, is an area in which you can strive to improve.
Grismer's rosaliae range map is really a joke as he provides no justification for it other than Hunsakers "Guadalupe canon" & the I-8 hoax ... in order to stretch the range like an umbilical cord some 300+ miles north from where there are numerous records around the 27.65 degrees N and furthur to the South. Again none have been vouchered off the San Matias pass nor Mex 2 paved transects despite decades of biologists/naturalists traversing them ... & Grismer i note, expressly discards the concept of any dependance of rosaliae on palm oasis microhabitats. In fact, i found no digital records for rosaliae in BC Norte. So spare the admonitions for so called connecting the dots ... which is btw, at best is what the range map should look like; solid in central baja sur, w/one dot; a ?mark icon on the i-8!
To imply Grismer didn’t do his due diligence in his reporting, again, reveals your need to try and diminish another to elevate yourself while neglecting to account for information you don’t have access to; information such as specimens not viewable online as not all collections are available online, as well as specimens Grismer, his students, or associates might have collected or encountered. You also have no idea what material he viewed at institutions in Mexico, or communications he had with cohorts at Mexican universities and institutions. Given your penchant for evaluative reasoning I would think you would have to know specimens searchable online are a poor accounting of a species like Bogertophis in Baja. This also ties in to your assertion that the species should have been found by what you seem to be portraying as multitudes of biologists traversing the northern range: first, the number likely isn’t all that large and the time invested in actually targeting the species likely considerable less and, second, you really don’t have any idea if additional specimens have been found on Mex Hwy 2 or elsewhere - you just know what's available online. Grismer interpreted the range based on published accounts, specimens, his own extensive experience in Baja, as well as the character and attributes of the landscape. He does provide justification, utilizing the same type of data used in his other accounts and by just about everyone who writes for publication. You choosing not to view such methods as justification isn’t a problem with the methodology but a personal one.

Searching HerpNet, the first record displayed for Bogertophis rosaliae is ROM 13689 from the Royal Ontario Museum listed as coming from Baja CA Norte, though no specific locality is provided. Another item you discount in your presentation is in the text of Grismer’s account where he cites a specimen he personally observed at Cataviña, a location at roughly 29.73 degrees N. I noted the dependence on palm oases is speculative but included it as part of the discussion since it was forwarded before I joined. However, for the purposes of accuracy, Grismer says, “I don’t believe this species has any special affinity for palm groves,” hardly “expressly discarding” the concept as you present him to have done. But, given the lack of knowledge we have on the species in the northern portion of its range it makes sense to hone in on areas where other specimens have been found which, in this case, is in the vicinity of palm oases at Guadalupe Canyon, BCN* and Boulder Creek, CA, over which I-8 crosses at roughly the location the CA specimen was collected. Similar ranges of species such as Coleonyx switaki, Crotaphytus vestigium, Phyllodactylus xanti, Petrosaurus mearnsi, and Urosaurus nigricaudus should also be noted as having similarly narrow northward distribution along the eastern flank of the peninsular range before crossing the border into CA. Similar patterns of biogeographic distribution are common, with species distributions petering out at different points along a gradient. In this instance, rosaliae would seem to conform to such a pattern.
Hunsaker's "guadalupe canyon" ( & how many of those are there in baja?) locality that i reviewed is w/o coordinates but listed in BC Sur! Therefore there are no known vouchers of E. rosaliae between ~ 27.65 degrees N & the hoax at 32.6! Thats an unsupported 300 mile range extension, all martys blather about it being 30+ miles notwithstanding!
Marty’s blather was based on something you likely didn’t consider and another you didn’t take the time to review before pronouncing judgment on this situation; that the citing of “Baja CA Sur” in the online database is likely a human-caused transcription error and that Hunsacker (1965) specifies where the rosaliae was captured when he states, “On the first of March, 1963, an adult Elaphe rosalie was collected in Guadalupe Canyon, 35 miles south of Mexicali, Baja California.” Therefore, in disregard of your belief, my depiction of intervening distances, as well as Grismer’s presentation of the species range, is accurate.
Grismer's dislike for captive ownership is a thread throughout his generally excellent baja book, clearly w/ rosaliae, his science was clouded by his bias. This desire for rosaliae to occur in Cali, along w/ the conveinient hoax & subsequent group think; has resulted in rosaliae being state listed as a SSC in Cali, & that premature listing therefore is a potential embarrasment to the state agencies listing process.
That’s a pretty bold incrimination to declare both his science and judgment clouded, and arising from an ulterior motive. Can you provide support for your assertions, or are you just defaming the man because of your personal belief that B.rosaliae doesn’t enter into CA and it makes it easier for you to do so if you diminish him personally and professionally? Care to provide page citations to support your assertion that Grismer has a dislike for captive ownership woven throughout his book? I don’t pick up on that thread and is different from the Grismer I've interacted with who was supportive of kids like me keeping captive animals because of the bond it creates between people and animal, and out of which grows concern for species and their environments. What Grismer does include in his discussions, though briefly, is his is dislike for commercialization, the number of animals illegally collected, and the damage to habitat in pursuit of those species. To my eye, that in no way translates to the anti-captive ownership assertion you forward. He, on page 38-39, discusses the topic as I present it in his ‘Conservation and Commercialization’ section, and mentions such acts of collection and destruction of habitat for Lampropeltis z. agalma, L. herrarae, and Petrosaurus thalassinus; hardly a pervasive thread but maybe there are other examples I didn’t find which you would be so kind as to share. Whether the species was listed prematurely or would, for some reason, be a potential embarrassment to the listing agency is your opinion. Others, including the agency responsible for the listing (which is a minor listing, not equivalent to threatened or endangered), would likely disagree and are in a solid position to defend the decision based on their mission and the known occurrence of the species in CA .

*Corrected BCS to BCN

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The Real Snake Man
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Re: Possible Country Records for the US

Post by The Real Snake Man »

When the debate becomes as heated about the people as it is about the animals, all but those participating in the argument lose interest and the thread heads for the board line. I say we come to the following conclusion: it can never be proven that Bogertophis rosaliae does not live in the US, and it would be harder still to prove that it never did; we can, however, do our best to search for it, and if we find it, great, the debate ends. If we don't, then the search will continue, those old dreams will never die, and the allure of a classic hunt will always be there. And who knows, maybe we'll find some other neat stuff while we're at it.

-Gene

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regalringneck
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Re: Possible Country Records for the US

Post by regalringneck »

Thnx for posting the link YoloH, As i read the part about the 2'nd sighting, i realized i've actually read this pub. previously... gettn ode is el eh ! :crazyeyes:
So w/ that Hunsaker voucher clarified, I will acknowlege I am wrong, (WRONG), & fold my position, & concede that henceforth I must grudgingly presume the I-8 specimen legitimate, as the habitat is so very similar & continuous. My previous faith in Grismer's excellent work fully restored.
Pity the E-databases are so inaccurate, I promise i will not rely upon them so heavily again. :oops:

John Gunn

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Speckled Rosy
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Re: Possible Country Records for the US

Post by Speckled Rosy »

regalringneck wrote: As i've delved a bit deeper, i see here we have another classic case of piss poor peer review, coupled w/ a judicious lack of healthy skepticism by those who should know better.

Grismer's rosaliae range map is really a joke as he provides no justification for it other than Hunsakers "Guadalupe canon" & the I-8 hoax ... in order to stretch the range like an umbilical cord some 300+ miles north from where there are numerous records around the 27.65 degrees N and furthur to the South. Again none have been vouchered off the San Matias pass nor Mex 2 paved transects despite decades of biologists/naturalists traversing them ... & Grismer i note, expressly discards the concept of any dependance of rosaliae on palm oasis microhabitats. In fact, i found no digital records for rosaliae in BC Norte. So spare the admonitions for so called connecting the dots ... which is btw, at best is what the range map should look like; solid in central baja sur, w/one dot; a ?mark icon on the i-8!

Hunsaker's "guadalupe canyon" ( & how many of those are there in baja?) locality that i reviewed is w/o coordinates but listed in BC Sur! Therefore there are no known vouchers of E. rosaliae between ~ 27.65 degrees N & the hoax at 32.6! Thats an unsupported 300 mile range extension, all martys blather about it being 30+ miles notwithstanding!

There have been numerous us naturalists & mx biologists to the Mexicali Guadalupe Canyon located ~ 32 degrees N. No rosaliae have been reported/vouchered from that lush oasis either.

Grismer's dislike for captive ownership is a thread throughout his generally excellent baja book, clearly w/ rosaliae, his science was clouded by his bias. This desire for rosaliae to occur in Cali, along w/ the conveinient hoax & subsequent group think; has resulted in rosaliae being state listed as a SSC in Cali, & that premature listing therefore is a potential embarrasment to the state agencies listing process.

We all want baja rats to be here in Cali, we all want boa constrictors to be in the baboquivaries, or the lower rio grande ... examples like vine snakes and jeweled racers give us reason for hope.

One day like other hoaxes, DNA analysis should reveal the truth about the origins of these unlikely specimens. I hope im wrong about both, but logic favors im not.

I know people who have seen rosaliae in San Matias.. I also know of another recently discovered range extension of another baja snake species 75 miles north of the former record..So there are still surprises out there..

Baja Rat snakes range at least to San Matias. And If the Gaudalupe canyon sightings are true, then the mex hwy 2, and I-8 are not that far off in the realm of possibilities.. ?

-Dan

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gbin
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Re: Possible Country Records for the US

Post by gbin »

The Real Snake Man wrote:... we can, however, do our best to search for it, and if we find it, the debate will end. If we don't, then the search will continue, the dreams will never die, and the allure of the hunt will always be there...
If one enjoys such searching then I think that's great; I'd suggest folks dream bigger/aim higher with the bulk of their time and effort, though. ;)
regalringneck wrote:... I will acknowlege I am wrong, (WRONG)...
Well done, amigo! :thumb:

Gerry

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Re: Possible Country Records for the US

Post by hellihooks »

Stebbins's 1958 range extension for Variable Groundsnake, on the 247, 10 mi south of Barstow stood for 51 years until I found another in 2009 (beating the western range extension by a mile or so) in one of the most extensively herp areas of the hi-desert.
I'll leave it to others more qualified than I, to draw any conclusions off these facts. ;) jim

And, btw... next years Nat Meet will be held very near Mt Springs, in April... so we'll have plenty of qualified herpers cruisen the 8, and adjoining environs :)

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Re: Possible Country Records for the US

Post by chrish »

The Real Snake Man wrote: -Sceloporus grammicus can be found in Hidalgo and Cameron counties, though I’ve only ever seen them in Hidalgo County; they can be tough to find if you don’t know where to look.
I have always wondered about the records for this species up near Kingsville, TX. I think it probably gets further north than it is recorded.
My experience with this species in Texas is that it isn't rare, but it is most active during the hottest and driest times of year. I have seen dozens in a day and then on other trips not being able to find a single one. There are a lot less herpers down in the valley during the heat of the summer.
Eleutherodactylus cystignathoides can only be found in Hidalgo and Cameron counties, where it is fairly abundant at certain localities (including neighborhoods).
The problem with this species is differentiating "native" populations in the valley from the introduced populations. I think they are found in more counties of Texas than currently documented and can probably be found in many counties between I-10 and the valley.
-Other more general South Texas herp species include Notophthalmus meridionalis, Siren “South Texas sp.”, Hypopachus variolosus, Rhinella marina, Drymarchon melanurus, Ficimia streckeri, Sceloporus variabilis, Sceloporus cyanogenys, and a few others.
Of course, once someone looks carefully at Ficimia and acknowledges that F. streckeri is just the northernmost population of F. olivacea, the US will get a "new" species and lose a bogus one. :lol:
As for the area between Big Bend and the Valley, it’s kind of non-descript scrub country. Maybe not as well-sampled, but probably nothing left.
The problem with the areas up the river between the valley and Del Rio is that the only "candidate" species that get close occur up in the low mountains of Nuevo Leon and Coahuila and those mountains don't get across the border.

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The Real Snake Man
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Re: Possible Country Records for the US

Post by The Real Snake Man »

chrish wrote:My experience with this species in Texas is that it isn't rare, but it is most active during the hottest and driest times of year. I have seen dozens in a day and then on other trips not being able to find a single one.
I don't think they're rare either, but I do think they're somewhat locality-specific nowadays. There are definitely more spots that simply won't turn up any than spots that will. I know of two reliable locations in Hidalgo County.
The problem with this species is differentiating "native" populations in the valley from the introduced populations. I think they are found in more counties of Texas than currently documented and can probably be found in many counties between I-10 and the valley.
I would say any population north of the two counties I specified should count as introduced. You do bring up a good point that some populations even within their natural Texas range could be introduced as well, though. I hadn't considered that.
Of course, once someone looks carefully at Ficimia and acknowledges that F. streckeri is just the northernmost population of F. olivacea, the US will get a "new" species and lose a bogus one. :lol:
I'm not too much up on Ficimia taxonomy, but even if they sink streckeri it wouldn't count as a new species in my book.
The problem with the areas up the river between the valley and Del Rio is that the only "candidate" species that get close occur up in the low mountains of Nuevo Leon and Coahuila and those mountains don't get across the border.
I definitely agree. What further interests me is that in Coahuila there is a mountain range area (WAY northwest of the Valley) that appears to be home to isolated, relict populations of both Drymobius margaritiferus and Leptodeira septentrionalis, according to the range maps in Conant/Collins field guide. I traced the Leptodeira record to an old paper written by Liner (and some others, I think). When you think of both of those species, you typically think of them as ranging from the Yucatan (and Central/South America) to south Texas along the continuous coastal plain. The fact that there is an isolated, even further north population of both in some inland mountain range is really fascinating to me.

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Re: Possible Country Records for the US

Post by Don Cascabel »

What amazes me about all of this discussion on rosaliae is the willingness to beat it to death on the internet but the fact that NO ONE, except Martly like 20 years ago, NO ONE has actually gone out to look for one. This is an hour east of San Diego people and only about 3 hours from Phoenix. Don't you EVER get sick of herping the same crap over and over again?

Hubbs I would really appreciate you filling us in on what "supposed" country record was discovered... if any.

Marty do you or anyone have a pdf of the pub from H. de Lisle... I never read it either, just the Guadalupe Canyon one. I imagine the publication was something along the lines of BMHS o BCHS which isn't exactly peer-reviewed or anything, not that that is really saying anything.

I personally can't say that I can trust the Cali Bogertophis specimen because I do seem to recall that the story was that they recollected it DOR. That being said, the Guadalupe Canyon records have no reason to be questioned, and IF the Bogertophis prefer more mesic palm canyons on the northern (drier, for the most part) extreme of their range, then there are logical stepping stones from Guadalupe Canyon to just north of the I-8. Afterwards, as you said, the get fewer and farther apart. There are also lots of "rumored" sightings from both west of San Felipe and Hwy. 2 which lend weight to B. rosaliae not just being isolated to one Canyon in extreme nc. BC, but rather in isolated pops much like H. regilla in BCS. Probably, Bogertophis isn't the only one, and both Eridiphas and Chilomeniscus will be showing up closer to the border as well.

On another note, while Klauber and associates really pioneered night-driving and collecting the Californian deserts in general, I HAVE read through most of the notes which are online, and their collecting was rather limited to certain areas (none really relevant in this discussion) and to pioneering techniques more than researching specific sites.

Finally, and just as a conversation-reinitiator... I just want to point out that many interesting species were named in this thread and potential search spots were given and the Bogertophis in California, which is just a minor range extension which has already been found, is likely the least interesting from a herpetological stand-point, albeit apparently rather controversial, lol.

Cheers,

Don Cascabel

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Re: Possible Country Records for the US

Post by jonathan »

Don Cascabel wrote:What amazes me about all of this discussion on rosaliae is the willingness to beat it to death on the internet but the fact that NO ONE, except Martly like 20 years ago, NO ONE has actually gone out to look for one. This is an hour east of San Diego people and only about 3 hours from Phoenix. Don't you EVER get sick of herping the same crap over and over again?
And this year's national NAFHA meeting is going to be right in the backyard of those canyons.

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Re: Possible Country Records for the US

Post by Don Cascabel »

Just to stir the pot a bit....

I ran across this interesting read in the 1981 edition of Herp Review.

Bipes IN ALTA CALIFORNIA
The recent exchanges in Herpetological Review regarding the presence of Bipes in the United States (Campbell, 1980; Gans and Pappenfus, 1980; Dundee, 1980 and Smith and Holland, 1981) reminded us of an over- looked report of Bipes in Central California. The report was one of more than a dozen historical accounts given orally in 1877 by JoseFranciscoPalomares,anearlypioneer in California, and recorded by the historian Thomas Savage (Temple, 1955). The manu- script containing the remembrances was deposited in the Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, and a translation by Temple was published in 1955. Since this report is not in the herpetological literature and otherwise not readily available in most libraries, we have taken the liberty of quoting it as it was published in the Memoirs of Jose Francisco Palomares (Temple, 1955:33-36):'
"Curious case of an Indian who died as the result of an ajolote.
"Once we were hunting deer in company with Don Ygnacio Ortega, a man well versed in matters of the hunt and of a very harsh character. One night while we were resting in camp, located at La Poza del Fresno (the pool of the fresno), after having skinned the deer that we had killed during the day, we noticed that there crawled out of the water a great number of little animals resembling [sala- manquesas], ravenously consumed the blood that had collected there. We paid little atten- tion to such vermin and everyone retired without any misgivings.
Some of us slept and others rested, when there were heard some hearty shrieks from the Indian Ygnacio, servant of Ortega, yell- ing, 'Ouch! Ouch! the snake, he crawl in! Ouch! Ouch! the snake he crawl in!' Imme- diately, we were all moving around and snatching some live fire brands went to see what was happening to Ygnacio, whom we found squatting down with his hand clenched under his anus, from which there writhed the tail of an animal, which we at once recognized as an ajolote ... 'This snake hurts very much, Senor! With his claws he is tearing me,' re- plied the Indian.
"Then Ortega went to where the patient was lying and said to him, 'Let me grab it and I'll pull it out.' The Indian answered, 'But don't let him get in any further, Senor, no! here, I have hold it.' The Indian released his hand and Don Ygnacio yanked, but the animal would not budge, perhaps because it was hooked on to the insides by its small sharp claws . . . Then Ortega, with the faggot in hand, burned the Indian about the thighs, pul- ling at the same time on the tail of the ajolote. The patient let out a scream of pain and Or- tega yanked out the animal and flung it away from there.
'Bracketed sections are in the original Span- ish from the manuscript in the Bancroft Library.
"The anus of the Indian looked on the out- side like a rosette, and then we saw that he had jagged wounds from which the blood flowed freely. For all that we did we could not stanch the flow. Ortega, grumbling and swearing, ordered us to break camp, but not before some of us went to where the ajolote lay and killed it. Examining it we found that on [las dos patitas que tenia por delante], very similar to human hands, you could see some short, little claws, steel-like and as sharp as needles. Then we realized that those little knives must have horribly wounded the insides of the hapless Ygnacio . . Finally, after twenty-four hours of bleeding from his wounds, Jose Ygnacio expired at La Panocha Chiquita; the body was brought to the Mis- sion of San Juan Bautista, where he belonged, and there he was given Christian burial."
There can be little doubt that the ajolote described by Sr. Palomares was a Bipes. His description of the animal (a snake with sharp claws on its two small human-hand-like paws) is a reasonably accurate one for Bipes. Ajo- lote is the common name applied to Bipes biporus of Baja California. Furthermore, the description of the behavior of the ajolote is similar to the behavior attributed to Bipes in the La Paz area; however, there it more com- monly involves women rather than men. Although it would not be unreasonable to question the veracity of some aspects of the circumstances of the encounter with the ajo- lote, it remains an intriguing possibility that they actually found and killed a Bipes in Cen- tral California.
The hunt related probably took place in the 1820's. Sr. Palomares was born in 1806 and his hunting companion, Don Ygnacio Ortega, died in 1829. The location of the hunt was somewhere near Little Panoche Creek (La Panocha Chiquita) in the Panoche Hills in what is now western Fresno or adjacent San Benito County, California. The Poza del Fresno could have been what is now called Mercy Hot Springs. This area lies in the west- ern edge of the San Joaquin Valley. The habi- tat consists of rolling sandy hills dominated by annual grassland with a mixture of shrubs (A triplex polycarpa, Ephedra californica and Haploppus racemosus) (Barbour and Major 1977:495), and is well suited for a burrowing animal like Bipes. The area is sparsely popu- lated and remains, from a herpetological standpoint, one of the least explored in California.
Does Bipes await rediscovery in Central California?

Courtesy of John Wright and William Mason... I guess that's one y'all can look for without border patrol. First I would make sure they weren't confusing or relaying a story that happend in BCS though.

Cheers,

Don Cascabel

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Re: Possible Country Records for the US

Post by Ribbit »

That is a great story, and I'm glad you brought it to our attention here. I wonder though, since nearly all details of the story obviously are extremely far from reality, why would it make any sense to believe that stripping off all of the fantastical elements leaves behind any credible sighting? Isn't it more likely that the entire story is a wild fabrication, including the part about seeing an animal in Central California that could be Bipes? I don't mean this as a rhetorical question -- I'm seriously curious about why anyone thinks it's sensible to turn "story about swarms of water-dwelling, deer-blood-drinking, human-anus-attacking creatures" into "possible record of harmless animal several hundred miles outside of its known range".

John

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Re: Possible Country Records for the US

Post by VICtort »

I too am in Ribbits camp regarding veracity of this Bipes report. In todays courts, Judges usually direct jurors to consider discounting all the testimony of a witness that is found to by lying...indeed attacking witness credibility is a foundation of most cases. However, Don Cascabel exhorts us to remain open minded and seek out the cryptic, that which may have formerly been common...? I have been in that area, there are some fascinating "islands" of habitat (micro habitats) that may have the unexpected and typically more Southerly distributed species present. I will let you know if I find any Bipes, and I will wear wetsuit tight underwear if approaching any springs... Like many areas in the SW, there is likely less surface water present than when the early explorers passed through, it has been intensely grazed and burned, so it is somewhat plausible isolated populations of species may have disappeared in the last 200-300 years. The ajolote stories are persistent in Baja, folks commonly warn me about ajolote, some tongue in cheek, others truly believing in the hazard.

Vic

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Re: Possible Country Records for the US

Post by regalringneck »

... intel & twitter chatter have it that an elite red ops team of bogertophid operators are going to swarm guadalupe canon ... coincidentally during the jamul campout ... i have been vetting & pre-screening candidates & continue to get inquiries/applications via pm ...
... despite a healthy appetite for humour, i 2 failed to see much of value in cascabels various txts above ... relating spotty pacific tree frog pops to baja rat distr. ??? / the bipes story ... please we even have a few from az that still get thrown around. sounds like a hatching of chupacabras anyway!
...Regarding Klauber, what many havent experienced, is that especially in the pre-internet years ... once you had a reputation for reptiles, had a few newspaper articles written about you, people contact you from all walks of life; scouts / utility workers / ranchers / hwy patrolmen / etc / & herps, photos, reports, start "raining" in on you ... Shaw didnt have to do anything but wait at the zoo for them to show up ... but theres the point ... none did. & for many many years ... none did. Just as their appear to be none vouchered off San Matias or Mx 2 ... now why ?

edit; Johnathan, i tried to search for a "rosaliae in calif" thread i coulda sworn we had somewhere on the cali forum ... 2 no avail, we otta have the meaty rosaliae comments in a stand alone thread, in addition to being buried in this cybertome ... as it is truly a spectacular representative of baja's herptofauna ... : }

edit2 ; Again does anyone recognize (or can they search & find ) these 2 guys; Mark Stratton and Chuck de la Cruz;

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Re: Possible Country Records for the US

Post by hellihooks »

I told a homeless guy that legless lizards could crawl up his butt, so that he would let me check under his mattress. was that wrong??? :crazyeyes: :lol: :lol: :lol:

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Re: Possible Country Records for the US

Post by Don Cascabel »

Guys I am not saying that there are Bipes in California... I just thought it was a fun and interesting read, buried deep in the Herp Review archives. Personally, it sounds to me like a story all too often told in southern Baja, and wive's tales and legends travelled as quickly through colonial Mexico as their porters could on horseback. Thus it wouldn't take long for a story like that to make it's way from Santa Rosalia to Fresno let's say. Of course, whoever narated it in Alta California, would of course say it happened to him or he saw it happen. That's human nature.

On another note, I think some of you are crazy (stupid?) to express so much doubt about the B. rosaliae distribution. Whether the record is legit or not (I can not comment, nor can I find ANY reference to either "donors"), the nearby records in northern Baja and continuity of the habitat (as well as species with similar habitat requirements) makes the possibility a no-brainer for me. That being said, we search for state records and distribution extensions all year long, EVERY YEAR, so maybe things that are "obvious" to us just aren't as clear to others... I don't know. Anyhow, someone, after some serious effort, will find Bogertophis in California. I almost guarantee it... and it's not going to be ON Fwy. 8.

Cheers,

Don Cascabel

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Re: Possible Country Records for the US

Post by hellihooks »

Don Cascabel wrote: On another note, I think some of you are crazy (stupid?) to express so much doubt about the B. rosaliae distribution. Whether the record is legit or not (I can not comment, nor can I find ANY reference to either "donors"), the nearby records in northern Baja and continuity of the habitat (as well as species with similar habitat requirements) makes the possibility a no-brainer for me. That being said, we search for state records and distribution extensions all year long, EVERY YEAR, so maybe things that are "obvious" to us just aren't as clear to others... I don't know. Anyhow, someone, after some serious effort, will find Bogertophis in California. I almost guarantee it... and it's not going to be ON Fwy. 8.

Cheers,

Don Cascabel
Obviously the State of Ca concurs... it's listed as a Ca protected species... so... illegal to touch if and when someone finds one... :shock: So... hows that work? You find one... in situ only, as proof... lest you admit to breaking the law... :| jim

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Re: Possible Country Records for the US

Post by Ribbit »

hellihooks wrote:it's listed as a Ca protected species... so... illegal to touch if and when someone finds one... :shock: So... hows that work? You find one... in situ only, as proof... lest you admit to breaking the law... :| jim
What's wrong with that?

John

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Re: Possible Country Records for the US

Post by hellihooks »

I got no prob with it being 'hands off'... just seems to me that the positive utility of obtaining proof should outweigh protection for something not proven to be there... it's like $400 to get a scientific collecting permit (if they even grant you one) to be able to take macro shots, genetic sample etc... :shock:

My luck I'd see one, not get a shot (so didn't happen) and it'll be just one more of Helli's tall tales... (not that I have THAT many... :lol: ) jim

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Re: Possible Country Records for the US

Post by Ribbit »

It is an interesting dilemma -- if one is seen, it would be the first one in ages or ever, which seems like evidence that it's rare in CA. And if it's that rare in CA, then perhaps the welfare of each individual is important to the continued survival of the population. On the other hand, could it really (still) be in CA and be super rare? Wouldn't they have all died out then? Perhaps it is not that rare, but just hard to observe, in which case perhaps the welfare of each individual might seem less important than the info obtained by handling/collecting.

I think my head exploded.

John

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Re: Possible Country Records for the US

Post by jonathan »

I had considered what I would do if I found a rosalie, with their protected status and all. I figured that I would take a lot of shots, especially scale shots and in situ shots with background, do detailed scale counts, especially ventrals/subcaudals, and then let the thing go and be prepared to have some folk yell at me afterwards.

One thing I read about birding observations is that one of the greatest factors in the reliability of unusual observations is the history of the observer. If someone saw another rat snake in California, especially if they had the pictures to prove it, then whether it would be considered a "confirmation" or not would probably depend on what kind of reputation for honesty and reliability the observer had built up.

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Re: Possible Country Records for the US

Post by Brandon La Forest »

Jim, there are lots of protected species in my state that somehow pose nicely on rocks....use some imagination :)

Cheers

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Re: Possible Country Records for the US

Post by hellihooks »

So... there's law-abiding, and law-abending??? :lol: this year's Nat Meet in that area should be fun... ;) jim

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Re: Possible Country Records for the US

Post by Kent VanSooy »

During the public comment period for a possible revision of the CDFW regs for reptiles and amphibians, I sent in the following comments (not that anything happened with them). What do you all think?

Bogertophis rosaliae – as stated in the public input section, it’s unclear whether a viable population of these snakes exist in California. It is certain, however, that captives of this taxon are maintained in the state. Were an individual to be found in extreme southern San Diego County, it would be unclear whether it represented a second known wild record, or an escaped individual; only genetic sampling and testing could provide additional insight, but those data could not be obtained with a zero possession limit. I believe that a limit of 2 should be applied to this taxon. This would provide the double benefit of potentially settling the question of whether this snake occurs in the state, and preventing numerous hobbyists from being in violation of the regulations.

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Re: Possible Country Records for the US

Post by Paul Lynum »

San Matias Pass. This is an In-Situ shot of the only one I've found there and the farthest north I've found one. I know of a small hand full of others found at this pass.

Paul Lynum
Image

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Re: Possible Country Records for the US

Post by Robert Hansen »

This thread is by now pretty ancient and most of the participants are no longer around (interpret that as you like). However, for two of the more talked-about species (Bogertophis rosaliae and Boa constrictor, now Boa sigma), recent discoveries have confirmed some of the ideas posted here a few years ago.

A 2019 distribution note by Sam Murray and Aaron Mills confirmed the presence of Bogertophis a mere 3.6 km S of the California border. That certainly supports the legitimacy of the 1984 Mountain Springs, Imperial Co. snake. The full citation of their note: Murray, S. S., and A. M. Mills. 2019. Bogertophis rosaliae: geographic distribution. Herpetological Review 50:748.

A much longer paper is scheduled to appear in the September 2020 issue of Herp Review by Van Devender et al., and reports a number of new northern records for boas in Sonora. I can't disclose the specifics prior to publication, but it's fascinating stuff, and confirms in particular the suggestions by DC (Chris G.) about habitat requirements for this species at its northern range limits.

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Re: Possible Country Records for the US

Post by Jimi »

Thanks for the heads-up Bob, I will have to watch for the upcoming Herp Review pub on boas in Sonora.

And congrats also, to Chris G on his perspicacity.

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Re: Possible Country Records for the US

Post by craigb »

I really appreciate bringing this thread back, just to reread the posts. The anticipated new study is a bonus. I am now retired and plan to spend more time in the field during 2021. :mrgreen:

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Re: Possible Country Records for the US

Post by Jimi »

Craig, do you have access to Herp Review? I think the observation was made right around dark, in mid May 2017. About 9 PM. Sounded like they walked it, or shined it - not cruised-on-road.

cheers

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Re: Possible Country Records for the US

Post by Robert Hansen »

I posted this some time ago on Facebook following the publication of the latest Bogertophis discovery.
*****************

Do Baja California Ratsnakes Occur in California?

The northern range limit of the Baja California Ratsnake (Bogertophis rosaliae) has long been in question. In March 1963, San Diego State University biology professor Dr. Don Hunsaker II (1930–2016) collected an adult male from Guadalupe Canyon, about 35 miles south of Mexicali, and saw a second snake the same day. His finds represented a 410-mile range extension north, and for many years remained the northernmost locality for the species.

But in May 1984, a trio of amateur herpers found a DOR ratsnake at 11:30 pm on Interstate 8 near Mt. Springs, Imperial Co., in extreme southern California, just east of the San Diego County line. They recognized the significance of their discovery and made sure the specimen got into the collection at the San Diego Natural History Museum. Although to many herpetologists this new find made perfect biogeographic sense—after all, the desert mountains in western Imperial County near Jacumba Hot Springs were merely a northern extension from south of the border—other people were skeptical. Online discussions in recent years even suggested that the find was some sort of hoax—maybe a DOR obtained in Baja planted by other herpers as a joke, or a snake ditched by nervous poachers after they crossed the US-Mexico border. Numerous southern California herpers have attempted to find a second U.S. specimen without success. Many assumed that the ratsnakes must share their northern range with Coleonyx switaki (Barefoot Gecko), and that surely another snake would have turned up by now during one of the hundreds of nights that herpers have spent looking for geckos. Thus, whether B. rosaliae was a California native remained an open question, as least for some.

A recent find by Sam Murray and Aaron Mills should put this controversy to rest. In May 2017, they encountered an adult female rosaliae only 3.6 km S of the USA-Mexico border north-northeast of La Rumorosa. Their find has now been documented with a just-published note in the current issue of Herpetological Review. Congrats to Sam and Aaron for an epic find!

The photo here shows the snake in question, courtesy of Sam Murray.
Attachments
Bogie map with labels.jpg
Hunsaker 1965 Bogertophis in N Baja.jpg
B.rosaliae_S.Murray_640px.jpg
Murray & Mills 2019 Bogertophis record in N BC.jpg

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Re: Possible Country Records for the US

Post by Porter »

Robert, What do you guys use to record GPS documentation when finding something like this? Just recently, I’ve been putting pin marks for some of my finds onto Google Maps. I do this by going into the app on my iPhone, because you can’t add pin marks to the Google earth app for iPhone. If I’m in a no reception area, it’s impossible to get an accurate pin because it just wanders all over the place searching for a location. In a situation like that, Do Herpers typically go by documenting a specific landmark… And then locating the spot later on a map? ..or is there a device that doesn’t experience similar reception problems?

*Also, I apologize if that’s already mentioned in the included photos… I was only able to read the last one, I just finished up some video editing on my Iphone. My vision is pretty blurry right now

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Re: Possible Country Records for the US

Post by Robert Hansen »

Richard: The preferred means of recording coordinates is through use of a handheld GPS unit. A popular Garmin model (the eTrex 10) sells for under $100. You can of course spend much more, or spend a little more and buy a used Garmin CSX that does a better job at getting sat signals in forested areas. As long as you're not buried deep in a canyon, you can access satellites and get a pretty accurate reading (and the accuracy is shown on the screen). If it's a particularly interesting find or place, I'll typically punch in those coordinates when I get home to a bigger screen and look at sat images in Google Earth or a topo map like ACME Mapper 2.1 (free online). I realize that most herpers use their phones to get GPS data and in places with strong cell signals that works fine, but obviously we tend to venture into more remote areas where cell service is sketchy or non-existent.

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Re: Possible Country Records for the US

Post by chris_mcmartin »

Porter wrote:
July 17th, 2020, 4:41 pm
If I’m in a no reception area, it’s impossible to get an accurate pin because it just wanders all over the place searching for a location.
It depends on your phone. Some older phones never had GPS receivers in them but relied instead on triangulation based on cell towers. I think most newer phones have GPS receiver chips such that, assuming you're not in a canyon or other area where a clear view of the sky is not possible, they can provide an accurate position (within a few meters). Cell towers, where available, may still be used to augment/refine the position received from satellite triangulation and to speed up the time it takes to resolve position.

https://www.androidcentral.com/how-does ... k-my-phone

You may not be able to see this on a map or other app because the data needed to generate the map may not load if there's no cell reception, but the raw coordinates should be good as long as you have something to display them. For example, the Mobile Mapper app (for NAHerp and HerpMapper) shows the raw coordinates and accuracy but does not plot them on a map.

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Porter
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Re: Possible Country Records for the US

Post by Porter »

Cool, thanks for the info guys :thumb: I noticed that if I start driving directions before going into a non-reception area, there’s no problem. It’ll take me right to my pin. But if I try to get directions while in a non-reception area, it doesn’t work, and I notice the little blue dot that’s supposed to display my location Is slowly wandering off in a random direction. I can never tell how far that dot is actually traveling because it depends on how far I’m zoomed in on the map. Which doesn’t respond much at all in a non-reception area. A lot of times it’s a blank square with maybe a little bit of pixelated topography showing around it.

Mainly, I thought it was just a good question/information to ask for silent viewers and upcoming Herper’s. Right time, given the subject matter. Normally I can figure out where I was by noting a distinct landmark. I think back in 2010 or 11, I got the first record for a rhino in Contra Costa County (Lifer/Not a range extension). It was on a road I was cruising back-and-forth. there’s a very gnarly looking tree at one of the bends in the road. So I was able to go back and mark that exact spot where it was crossing. It’s a whole different story when you’re buried deep in the woods beneath the trees.

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BillMcGighan
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Re: Possible Country Records for the US

Post by BillMcGighan »

On the subject of GPS
A very useful phone APP we use in the east, but probably works out west, is "HUNTSTAND".
It's useful because it can show who's land you are on.

Jimi
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Re: Possible Country Records for the US

Post by Jimi »

A very useful phone APP we use in the east, but probably works out west, is "HUNTSTAND".
It's useful because it can show who's land you are on.
OnX ("onyx") might be similar to HUNTSTAND. It costs money but the developers have gone to the trouble of gathering parcel / landowner data from all the county recorders' offices and putting it into a geodatabase. The underlying basemap is USGS 7.5min topo quads but the roads & such are improved. OnX is really nice. I've only shoulder-surfed it, I don't have it.

What do you guys use to record GPS documentation when finding something like this?
I just use iNat, for herps, butterflies, plants, fish, etc ("anything"). And I also recommend iNat to everyone. When you "make an observation" you first give the taxon a name (which you can edit later), then you take a photo. Or two, or ten. I usually first take a quick "voucher" shot, if I'm worried about the animal darting out of sight. But then I'll take a series of closer-ins, including no-fail ID-diagnostic angles. If need be I'll grab a lizard for a belly shot or whatever. Finally I take a few habitat shots. You can then flip through them and delete any you don't need. My iNat observations usually have 3-5 photos, and also normally include a habitat shot or two. Depends how special I think the observation is.

After finishing the photo part of the iNat workflow, you go to the map. You can zoom way, way in and watch how your positional accuracy improves. You just need to have your Location Services (or whatever your phone calls it...) setting enabled. Who has a smart phone that's so old it has no GPS chip, but still works? Ha ha.

You can adjust iNat privacy settings - public, private etc.

we tend to venture into more remote areas where cell service is sketchy or non-existent
Almost all my herping is done in such places. I can always get at least 20-25m positional accuracy for my iNat points; and even in a remote rockpit hellhole I can usually get 4m or better. My attitude is, that is quite good enough. I'm not mapping sessile organisms after all...even a horned lizard is likely to move 20m. And a night lizard will probably move 4m.

cheers

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jonathan
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Re: Possible Country Records for the US

Post by jonathan »

My dad has mentioned that he's planning on getting OnX for Washington this year, and if he gives a positive review then I'll get it for Oregon.

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