Elevational records for viridis?.....

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Correcamino
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Elevational records for viridis?.....

Post by Correcamino » May 20th, 2011, 1:18 pm

just curious about anyones personal experiences with high elevation viridis. The highest I have personally found them here in Az. is just over 7000 ft. although I know they occur higher. Distribution just gets very spotty above that and they are very hard to locate. How high have you guys found them?

Rich

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Ian Jessup
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Re: Elevational records for viridis?.....

Post by Ian Jessup » May 20th, 2011, 4:30 pm

I've found them just shy of 8000 ft just southwest of Golden, CO. But it has only happened twice, and I wasn't even herping, just out hiking around.

TimCO
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Re: Elevational records for viridis?.....

Post by TimCO » May 22nd, 2011, 10:57 am

I stumbled upon one in the foothills southwest of Denver at approx 8350. I didnt have an altimeter but can research the exact elevation. I regularly see them above 7500.

I have been thinking about high altitude viridis lately, wanting to investigate some of the dens.

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Correcamino
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Re: Elevational records for viridis?.....

Post by Correcamino » May 23rd, 2011, 9:15 am

Thanks guys! Klauber has several anecdotal reports of viridis at altitudes over 10,000 ft. from Forest service and USFW people, but I personally can't find a verified/reliable report from 9,000 or above. The highest I can find are all in the 8,000's.

Rich

ThomWild
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Re: Elevational records for viridis?.....

Post by ThomWild » May 23rd, 2011, 1:36 pm

Last year I found a lutosus at right around 9000ft. I don't know exactly how high I was but it was just over half way up Lone Peak which is at just over 11000'. The trail starts at about 5200' so I would guesstimate it to be somewhere between 8500-9000.

How do lutosus compare to viridis as far as elevation goes?

-Thomas Wilder

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Tom Lott
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Re: Elevational records for viridis?.....

Post by Tom Lott » May 23rd, 2011, 2:52 pm

Rich,

We had a thread partially on this topic several years ago on the SWCHR Venomous Forum:

http://southwesternherp.com/cgi-bin/yab ... 1213028558

Significantly, Todd Hughes mentions seeing several at almost 12,000 ft on Mt. Phillips in northern NM back in 2002. Unfortunately though, no photos or specimens were taken, but I personally trust Todd's observation. If verified, that would considerably exceed the estimates of Degenhardt et al (1996, ca. 8600 ft) and Klauber (1956, ca. 10,000 ft).

I think the real question is how many herpers actually look for snakes at those elevations, as opposed to encountering them accidentally while engaged in other activities.

Tom Lott
SWCHR

TimCO
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Re: Elevational records for viridis?.....

Post by TimCO » May 23rd, 2011, 3:16 pm

Thanks for the info Tom. Having spent quite a bit of time at high elevation, I find it hard to believe that a viridis would be spotted that close to treeline, where the growing season can be measured in weeks during some years. Mt Phillips tops out at 11721, which means it would have been near the summit. I don't know Todd Hughes personally, but without a pic, it sounds like a fish tale.

That said, I'd love to find out they are up there.

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Re: Elevational records for viridis?.....

Post by Brian Eagar » May 23rd, 2011, 3:57 pm

My Dad taught on the Navajo reservation in NW New Mexico right on the Continental Divide for many years and they found lots of Viridis in that town which was about 8500'. They also found a pituophis once which he sent me a bad pic of. I'm still interest to find out which subspecies it was on the continental divide there.
That area was very high plains/grassland. I've only been there once.

In SE Utah I have only found viridis up to about 5500 feet and most commonly only much lower. The Pinion / Juniper woodland takes over above that elevation for the most part and I don't think they live in it. At least not in Utah. There are only a couple of areas in SE Utah where the plains / shrub/grasslands come in above that elevation.
1. East of Monticello on the highway they have been found at maybee 6000 feet.
2. ? valley - Who knows what the rattlesnakes are there. Viridis / concolor. My bet is viridis. Some people going on the field trip should focus on the nice paved roads which run through miles of very quiet habitat there. There's a chance for all kinds of cool things to pop up there like Miks snakes and blackheaded snakes and blacknecked garters. You'd surely find some pits and crotes while looking for the cooler stuff. Unfortunately I've never been there when conditions have been suitable for cruising like they will be this weekend.

If anyone who posts here regularly (ie. I've seen you post a field report here before) and is going to the 4 corners field trip wants suggestions for places to go in SE Utah drop me a PM.

I won't post details on here.

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Brendan
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Re: Elevational records for viridis?.....

Post by Brendan » May 23rd, 2011, 8:37 pm

ThomWild wrote:Last year I found a lutosus at right around 9000ft. I don't know exactly how high I was but it was just over half way up Lone Peak which is at just over 11000'. The trail starts at about 5200' so I would guesstimate it to be somewhere between 8500-9000.

How do lutosus compare to viridis as far as elevation goes?

-Thomas Wilder
Lutosus was documented at 13,000ft by Bryan Hamilton. I'd be very surprised if viridis made it over 11,000 ft but anything is possible. I'd ask Louis about it Rich.

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Ian Jessup
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Re: Elevational records for viridis?.....

Post by Ian Jessup » May 23rd, 2011, 8:48 pm

Personally, I'd be down to check out some strong probable locations for high altitude viridis and take photos and measurements to PROVE it.

:P

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Correcamino
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Re: Elevational records for viridis?.....

Post by Correcamino » May 23rd, 2011, 11:51 pm

Thom,
as Brendan posted ref Bryans documentation, lutosus seem tp be literally EVERYWHERE within their geographic range, lol. They are amazingly adaptable snakes.

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Correcamino
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Re: Elevational records for viridis?.....

Post by Correcamino » May 24th, 2011, 12:07 am

2:29 pm
Posts: 3
Location: south-central Texas Rich,

We had a thread partially on this topic several years ago on the SWCHR Venomous Forum:

http://southwesternherp.com/cgi-bin/yab ... 1213028558

"Significantly, Todd Hughes mentions seeing several at almost 12,000 ft on Mt. Phillips in northern NM back in 2002. Unfortunately though, no photos or specimens were taken, but I personally trust Todd's observation. If verified, that would considerably exceed the estimates of Degenhardt et al (1996, ca. 8600 ft) and Klauber (1956, ca. 10,000 ft).

I think the real question is how many herpers actually look for snakes at those elevations, as opposed to encountering them accidentally while engaged in other activities.

Tom Lott
SWCHR"

Thanks for that info Tom! Here in Az. I think viridis are limited by two factors...
1. they are replaced at the higher elevations to the south by cerberus.
2. north of cerberus range and south of the Grand Canyon (including the rim country), there doesn't appear to be anything higher than around 7300 ft.

High elevation vipers just fascinate me. I guess the highest crotes I have seen have been at 11,000 in Mexico (transversus and triseriatus) with Brendan in 2009. We found ravus exiguus and lepidus at around 9400 ft. In the U.S. it would be cerberus (Mt. Lemmon) and pricei and willardi (Ritas) at about 9,000

Rich

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Bryan Hamilton
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Re: Elevational records for viridis?.....

Post by Bryan Hamilton » May 24th, 2011, 8:52 am

Considering how far some of these vipers move, I wouldn't be surprised to see them at any elevation within their range.

Consider the possibility that vipers move up to the higher elevations to take advantage of abundant prey. Even thought the growing season can be measured in weeks, it is extremely productive and its possible they move up to forage. That's what I think happened with my high elevation record. I doubt the lutosus hibernate at those elevations, although I do suspect dens at nearly 10,000 feet.

Another note, 13,000 feet in Nevada is quite a bit different than 13,000 feet in Colorado. Overall our higher elevations are more mild than the bigger mountain ranges (ie Rockies, Unitas, Sierras ect).

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Correcamino
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Re: Elevational records for viridis?.....

Post by Correcamino » May 24th, 2011, 10:03 am

I was gonna comment on that earlier and forgot, but Bendan and I were discussiong that earlier this spring when we were there. 6000 ft. in N. Nevada seems like low desert. In Az. it would be well up into the mountains.

As far as growing seasons, rattlesnakes really don't need much. I have known wild cerbs that stayed huge and healthy on three LARGE meals a year, taken June -August. Others stayed just as large during the same time frame, but ate a fence lizard every day or two.

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Jason Hull
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Re: Elevational records for viridis?.....

Post by Jason Hull » May 24th, 2011, 5:47 pm

Another note, 13,000 feet in Nevada is quite a bit different than 13,000 feet in Colorado. Overall our higher elevations are more mild than the bigger mountain ranges (ie Rockies, Unitas, Sierras ect).
I think you hit the nail on the head here. I've spent a good deal of time in the Sierras of western NV and I have not seen lutosis higher than 6,000' and they are few and far between.
In central and eastern NV these snakes are thriving in numbers at that elevation and higher. Although I haven't spent much time in the range, I believe the Ruby's would share the same dynamic as the larger ranges you mentioned.

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Jeremy Westerman
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Re: Elevational records for viridis?.....

Post by Jeremy Westerman » August 3rd, 2011, 11:08 am

ThomWild wrote:Last year I found a lutosus at right around 9000ft. I don't know exactly how high I was but it was just over half way up Lone Peak which is at just over 11000'. The trail starts at about 5200' so I would guesstimate it to be somewhere between 8500-9000.
How do lutosus compare to viridis as far as elevation goes?
-Thomas Wilder
Brendan wrote: Lutosus was documented at 13,000ft by Bryan Hamilton. I'd be very surprised if viridis made it over 11,000 ft but anything is possible. I'd ask Louis about it Rich.
Bryan Hamilton wrote:Considering how far some of these vipers move, I wouldn't be surprised to see them at any elevation within their range.
Consider the possibility that vipers move up to the higher elevations to take advantage of abundant prey. Even thought the growing season can be measured in weeks, it is extremely productive and its possible they move up to forage. That's what I think happened with my high elevation record. I doubt the lutosus hibernate at those elevations, although I do suspect dens at nearly 10,000 feet.
Another note, 13,000 feet in Nevada is quite a bit different than 13,000 feet in Colorado. Overall our higher elevations are more mild than the bigger mountain ranges (ie Rockies, Unitas, Sierras ect).
Going over my data I regularly see lutosus from 4,600 to 9,000 feet and a few up to 10,500 feet on Lone Peak in the Wasatch range, but I think this is upward summer migration, I don't believe there are any hibernaculums that high. For viridis I don't have anything above 5,000 feet in Utah, but Monticello is at 7,000 and there must be Prairies nearby...

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Re: Elevational records for viridis?.....

Post by Jimi » August 3rd, 2011, 12:51 pm

My recollection (I could look it up, but I trust my memory here) is that we night-cruised several (like, 6-7) around 6500' on the 4 corners trip, and I got at least 2 around 7000'.

Also that one we day-walked (featured how many times in photos since then, ha ha) near the skink site was about 7000'.

Brian - the highest ones I cruised were absolutely in on-site P-J. That is, ridgetop or steep sites w/ shallow rocky marine-derived soils - not sites where P-J has recently invaded, but "old-growth" P-J.

The one we walked at the skink site, I'd characterize that spot as a "mountain browse" (Gambel oak, serviceberry, chokecherry, etc) site (intermixed w/ mtn sagebrush) that the P-J is invading. That whole mountain needs some fire.

Cheers,
Jimi

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Jeremy Westerman
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Re: Elevational records for viridis?.....

Post by Jeremy Westerman » August 3rd, 2011, 2:28 pm

Jimi wrote:My recollection (I could look it up, but I trust my memory here) is that we night-cruised several (like, 6-7) around 6500' on the 4 corners trip, and I got at least 2 around 7000'.
Also that one we day-walked (featured how many times in photos since then, ha ha) near the skink site was about 7000'.
Cheers,
Jimi
Yes we did, but wasn't my data from someone else in the group I think...I got skunked most nights road cruising low.

pituophian
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Re: Elevational records for viridis?.....

Post by pituophian » August 6th, 2011, 8:53 pm

I have personally seen viridis at 8900 ft in southern Colorado at the top of Wildhorse Mesa.

Ian

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