Southern Utah Buzztail Quiz

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Correcamino
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Re: Southern Utah Buzztail Quiz

Post by Correcamino » August 6th, 2011, 11:34 am

Ref molossu for Jimi...

Don't meant to hijack the Thread Thom, yet a thread on molossus seems inappropriate for this chapter, lol.

I have been saying for many years that basi, toto and molossus are the same species although I walways figured that basi and toto would be separate subspecies. However anybody who monitored the KS forums back in the 90's knows I have always said that Texas molossus and Az. molossus are different subspecies. Not only do they have completely different and visually, very distingushable patterns, but when seen side by side in a cage, the Texas snakes have much shorter, more rounded snouts than do Arizona snakes. There also seems to be a fairly distinct line of separation in central New Mexico. you don't see a gradient from teh western pattern to the eastern pattern. Some texas snakes...
Image

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Note how the neck markings coalesque into a "chain" type pattern cause the light interspces to form spots within. The posterio blotches banding become very widely separated and more faint. Although the eastern animals come in many colors from gray, silver, tan green to almost black, the pattern remains VERY constant.

The western snakes are very different and mush more variable, many Az. snakes (particularily desert phase)are indistinguishable from some basiliscus in Sonora. Some western snakes....

Image

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Note, the neck markings tend to remain distinct , separate blotches.

These are captive bred desert phase from Tucson area, they are from the same parents different broods (dark female 2002, light basi male 2004) just think they are interesting, lol....

Image

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Nothing of this has been formally presented yet, things could change a bit. I just got it thru the grapvine that the work being done so far has shown several different lineages mostly running in north south dispersals. There seems to be a couple of nigrescens/oaxacus lines (oaxacus, which was once thought to be a sub of basiliscus, comes back as nigrescens and will probably be sunk) the basi line including arizona and W. New Mexico (I guess basi would be sunk as molossus takes precedence) and the Toto line including Texas and W. New Mexico. And of course there is a gradient or intergrade zone from basi to nigrescens in the Occidental, and the same for toto to nigrescens in the Oriental. I was really ticked at the Biology of the rattlesaneks symposium and this group in general are my favorite crote species, one of the first presentations was supposed to be on this work, but that speaker cancelled and didn't show..GRRRR

Wuster in one study and someone else in another (CRS) have shown culminatus to have came off basilossus on one line, simus and tzabcan came off nigrescens/oaxacus on a different line, durissus branched off simus. And we had thought for years that durissus was the mother form, lol.

Rich

Jimi
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Re: Southern Utah Buzztail Quiz

Post by Jimi » August 6th, 2011, 2:23 pm

Rich - Thanks for the info, very cool.

Looks like resolution of the northern-end "durissus" mess may be lapping resolution of our CO Plateau mess...wish we could get someone to publish on ours. Presumably all the specimens are available?

Sorry your prime speaker cancelled. Hope the rest was good. I missed most of the conference due to work, then just bagged the rest in favor of some field time. Perversely, near Tucson, ha ha.

Any time you want to get together up here, give a holler. Sometimes it's just nice to have another vehicle out there in the boonies. Walking out sucks.

Cheers,
Jimi

ThomWild
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Re: Southern Utah Buzztail Quiz

Post by ThomWild » August 6th, 2011, 4:20 pm

Correcamino wrote:Ref molossu for Jimi...

Don't meant to hijack the Thread Thom, yet a thread on molossus seems inappropriate for this chapter, lol.

Image
Hijack away! And keep posting lots of pics! The one above is amazing!

-Thomas

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Jeremy Westerman
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Re: Southern Utah Buzztail Quiz

Post by Jeremy Westerman » August 6th, 2011, 4:45 pm

Brian Eagar wrote:Nice selection again Jeremy.
Did you find all these snakes yourself or are some pictures that people sent to you?
I'm just curious if you have any additional pics of 2 of them:

For the JER11 snake how big was it. Without seeing the tail its hard to make any judgement.
I have only seen lots of Concolor in that area. I personally don't believe Abyssus make it that far east and definately not past the reef over the sand but I do think they are in the reef. I think concolor and abyssus come in very close proximety here with concolor mostly in the sandy shrubland and abyssus in the rocky cliff areas.

Your JER6. Crotalus oreganus lutosus
Box Death Hollow Wilderness area, Dixie National Forest,
Aquarius Plateau, Colorado Plateau, Garfield County, Utah

I'd say by location was an Abyssus but I'm pretty curious if lutosus don't make it around the mountain in the mid elevations from the west. I haven't seen enough snakes from that area yet and without seeing the tail on this one it makes it hard. How high in elevation was it? I found one near there this summer that looks more abyssus than that one at just over 6000 feet. I'm curious how high they get on the south slope of the boulder mountains which are more forested than the north slope which has concolor pretty high.

For your Hole in the Rock road / 40 mile bench I'm curious whether it was out in the rocky outcrops in the flats near the road or actually in the rocky 40 mile / 50 mile bench. I've heard of them from the bench but not from the flats.
Brian, JER11 snake was about 18 inches if I remember right, I will have to go through my pics and see if I have any of the same snake and ask my climbing buddies for their pics. I think there are weird looking snakes in the roost area now that we have been talking about it but at the time I just assumed concolor. JER6 was up pretty high 7800 feet or so by "wide hollow." I remember thinking it was pretty light for a lut but it seems lutosus to me.
Almost all of the snakes were in slot canyons, washes or moist canyon bottoms. Not out on the "flats" but they must be there because the flash floods wash them in it seems. I find dead snakes of all kinds all the time. Jimi, yeah it is cooler in the cracks but I think those animals get trapped and funneled into the slots rather than preferred habitat. Otherwise I probably wouldn't see them because miles of checking outcrops and walking has yet to produce much.
My last backpack trip was 33 miles with three snakes found total. rattler, Gopher and one dead striped whipsnake.

Well I was out in the San Rafael Swell area last night I had two reptile shows at the Emery County fair on Friday, and on the way home we took "the scenic route." Across the swell from Castledale through Buckhorn wash and out on Hwy 6 towards Woodside. Covered a lot of dirt and paved road and got totally skunked on Rattlesnakes, did find a gopher crossing the dirt road and one garter snake hours later on pavement just out of Wellington. I nearly hit a red fox by Castledale and a couple of prairie dogs too. I desperately wanted some more buzztail pics from the mystery area but no luck. Surprized we didn't see more action at magic hour as it had just rained the night before.

Jimi, the DNR guys in Castledale pissed me off to no end :( I just casually chatted them up about snakes between my reptile shows at the Emery County fair and the guy says to me, "the only good snake is a dead snake in my opinion." The three wildlife fellows all chuckled. Wow. Good thing they work for DNR wildlife and are in charge of protecting them!!!! I have that jerks name if you can do anything about it. Seriously dissapointed in the good ol boys running the show down there. I just finished an educational reptile show (I brought lots of snakes to show the locals ironically) for several hundred people not 200 feet away from their booth. This is why all or most Utah snake enthusiasts hate or mistrust the State gov guys because in my experience this guy is typical. "If it ain't fishin or shootin sumptin with 'horns' it ain't wildlife." It was so refreshing to get to know you on the four corners trip and see that not everyone working for DNR is a redneck #@%#^ and then this happened.

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Re: Southern Utah Buzztail Quiz

Post by Jimi » August 6th, 2011, 8:43 pm

Otherwise I probably wouldn't see them because miles of checking outcrops and walking has yet to produce much.
My last backpack trip was 33 miles with three snakes found total.
That's what I meant when I said it must have taken a lot of field time to walk all those CO Plateau rattlers.
Surprized we didn't see more action at magic hour as it had just rained the night before.
Yeah that happens to me a lot too! I've had one or two 12-15 snake nights in UT (not counting the occasional 50-gopher night on the west side, ha ha) but I get a lot more 1-3 and plenty of zeroes. A half dozen (e.g., a night, couple rattlers, and a few gophers) is a pretty OK night in eastern UT. Anyway, I do better a few days after rain. The next night (or same night, if it rained that day) often sucks. Not always - I got a taylori on wet road once, and a few concolor, but usually it's better after a few hot days.
DNR guys in Castledale
Don't know them. I presume you mean DWR and not e.g. Forestry or State Parks. Frankly even if DWR (regardless of section - law enforcement, wildlife, aquatics, whatever) I am not surprised. There are many factors contributing to this. We're working on it, but this is one of the reasons I always try to invite field (regional) staff on our field trips. Sometimes I get a couple. Anyway, people are people, they know what they know and sometimes they're done learning. Sorry they brought you down, and I hope "the nearby civilians" didn't hear their unprofessional, no-way-to-represent comments. I'll take their names off-line and come at it sideways and soft.

One of the biggest factors in that attitude is a result of our business model (basically ubiquitous in state fish & wildlife mgt). It's user pays. And we don't sell licenses or stamps to herp. By user pays, I mean we don't just get "your tax dollars" to manage wildlife. We get very little of that (<12% of our annual ~$56M budget, agency-wide, comes via state legislature). And the number is shrinking fast. Hook and bullet pays over half the bills, either directly in licenses sold, or indirectly through federal excise taxes (returned to states) on guns, ammo, tackle, boats, and other sporting gear. No such tax on hiking boots, tents, cameras, field guides, backpacks, etc. I'm paid from offshore federal oil and gas money (State Wildlife Grants is the program, run out of USFWS). Congress is hammering that. It'll probably be zeroed out in US FY12 appropriations. Luckily I'm a good hand and can probably get work counting deer or something, and stay in DWR. If I want that. Ah, life. Shall we go herping?

Cheers,
Jimi

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Correcamino
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Re: Southern Utah Buzztail Quiz

Post by Correcamino » August 8th, 2011, 1:02 am

Correcamino, Thanks for the detailed insight into taxonomic differences, the fuzzy picture is starting to clear up, I and most amateur field herpetologists can only go with the scientific material provided (usually a species description, type specimen or holotype and a few known localities coupled with a piss poor range map) to make any kinds of distinctions. I now understand the Hopi situation much better. Would it still be wrong to call that variant Hopi's even though there is no genetic distinction? "What did you find, well, a big mean and green viri and a runti hopi a few miles further." All range maps for the old nuntius taxon appear to be large distinct blobs adjacent to Prairie range. This coupled with Klauber's description led to the miss-impression that they are somehow isolated regionally rather than by specific habitat niche conditions.

As far as concolor goes I definitely don't like SSAR's "let's put it here for now" lumping conservatism, seems like very poor science. Especially when State and Federal laws are based on taxonomic designations, they need to be accurate as we can make them. I still find it curious that the default position taken was not to leave it in the same genus it has always has been in until we can designate the proper genera for all western rattlesnakes with further research. By moving it to a newly designated taxon they are directly implying that concolor stems from the oreganus lineage when all the scientific data that we do have so far shows that it doesn't.
Why was cerberus the only one to get specific status? is there really a no-contact buffer around cerberus populations with other Western Rattlesnake forms?
I am not surprised at the atrox gradient, any animal that spans such a large range must have ecological regional diversity, that is how subspecies and eventually species evolve.
As far as molossus/basiliscus goes it sort of reminds me of the Black backed gulls in Great Britain where there is a subtle circumpolar morphological change across Northern Europe and Russia that by the time they get back around to England they do not interbreed and behave and look like different species even though there is an interbreeding gradient all across the northern hemisphere. Would a Northern molussus be a different species than Southern basiliscus if it were shown that they no longer recognize behavior or whatever or perhaps there is some biological barrier to interbreeding even though they are both from the same species gradient? (I am sure the can and would interbreed) Species gradients and intergrade zones with other species and subspecies certainly muddy the picture especially around the point of origin for a new form as what appears to be happening in the Page area. Really makes one wonder what the distribution was like before Lake Powell.
Jeremy,

For viridis, Brendan and I tried that for a few years and I think it just made a mess of things. We would say "hopi" meaning we saw a small reddish snake, or say "prairie" meaning we saw a larger type snake. But with other people involved it made a mess of things, even in teh book that Hubbs and Brendan did, the big green snake listed as a nomnate viridis from Northeastern Az. is technically a "nuntius" and should have been included in that section.

As for SSAR, I can understand their being conservative, I tend to be that way myself and am actually much more of a lumper than a splitter. SSAR could see the overwhelming evidence that there were indeed an eastern (viridis) and western (oreganus) clade. Yet there ws just too much to be ironed out for them to accept everything without further study. The proposal to accept cerberus as a full species was easy. Cerberus was never part of oreganus, in fact cerberus is older than viridis. Both forms branched off a common ancestor at differnt times. No contact zone has yet been found between the two. We have an area near Flagstaff at 7000 ft. that seems fairly close, I fully expected to find cerberus there, but it seems to be all viridis instead. As of yet no cerbs at this site.

As for the taxonomy of the group, I personally have my own based both on Douglas et. all and what I have personally seen in the. I still stay conservative on parts. I recognize..
viridis
cerberus
concolor
oreganus oreganus
oreganus lutosus
oreganus helleri
oreganus abyssus

I rally don't worry much over interpretaions as to whether this is a full species or a subspecies, is it C.o.lutosus, or is it C. lutosus, just as long as I know it is lutosus, lol.

As for the parallels you mentiond with the gulls, we see the exact same thing very often in snakes. Molossus seem to be pretty cut and dry in north south dispersals. Theres not really any kind of evolution/dispersal that brings a more recently evolved form back around to meet the ancestral form. But we do see this type of event in lutosus / abyssus. There is a small area in the western region of the Grand Canyon rim were you can find snakes that come back usually as one or the other, but intergrades are not infrequent. Once you move away from this area they act as separate species entirely. Louie says he has only had two examples of lutosus/abyssu interbreeding in Utah out of hundreds of specimens. Lepidus aquilus does a confusing thing in Mexico. Aquilus branched off of nominate lepidus in east central mexico, dispersed south and west, then a bit north and met again with lepidus klauberi, where they intergrade and act as subspecies. Yet the DNA guys still hold fast to the idea that aquilus is now a separate species, I guess based on bootstrap values.

ewostl
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Re: Southern Utah Buzztail Quiz

Post by ewostl » August 15th, 2011, 12:29 am

I don't mean to hijack this thread any further but I was hoping Correcamino could elaborate more on the differences between eastern and western molossus. Here are two snakes from western NM that seem to fit the description of eastern/Texas snakes

Image

Image

Would love to hear some thoughts

Cheers

EW

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Correcamino
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Re: Southern Utah Buzztail Quiz

Post by Correcamino » August 15th, 2011, 8:03 am

EW,

I agree, those definately look like the eastern form. As for geography, I am just giving a general idea, I'm sure the boundry isn't a perfectly straight line, but zig-zags back and forth, obviously from you pics to the western portions at some point. I personally don't know of any ranges where both forms/pattern types occur together, but I haven't herped central N.M and those on forums dont give specific ranges. It probably would be no problem to do so for something as common as molossus, but most posted are a bi-product of lepidus hunting. I just have to go by what I can glean from those I talk to who have herped the area. Most have indicated they find one or the other and the general divison seems to be central N.M.

I think it would be a great project for those who live in central N.M to really survey the various mountain ranges to find what ranges have what form, if any ranges have both forms, if so do both patterns come out in one brood or is there an intergrade looking form? Even though the two forms come from widely eparated lineages, intergradation/hybridyzation is still very possible as in the lepdus - aquilus situation described above.

Udink
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Re: Southern Utah Buzztail Quiz

Post by Udink » February 29th, 2012, 12:15 pm

Jeremy Westerman wrote:
Jimi wrote:You've done well, very well. I expect these few images represent thousands of hours of walking and driving around.
I do a lot of rock climbing, canyoneering and backpacking, not to mention I worked on some movie locations down there this last year. I don't know about thousands of hours... ;)
I think what may be more likely is that the photos Jeremy posted represent an hour or two of collecting other people's photos from the web. At least, in the cases of the images labeled JER10 and JER12, the photos were taken by me and posted to my Picasaweb and Flickr accounts.

Although Jeremy never explicitly stated that he visited all these locations and took the photos himself, he certainly implies it and doesn't try to dissuade other forum members from thinking so (see Jimi's quote above and Jeremy's response). I guess I don't care so much that Jeremy misrepresents himself here, but I do care that my photos were copied to his Photobucket account and reposted without credit to the photographer.

So, Jeremy, would you mind removing my photos from your Photobucket account? I have no objections to you linking directly the photos on my Flickr account, as long as proper credit is given:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/udink/5117952276/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/udink/453085555/

Thanks y'all, and sorry to dig up an old thread for this. :?

Jimi
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Re: Southern Utah Buzztail Quiz

Post by Jimi » February 29th, 2012, 3:42 pm

Oh dear, this is unfortunate. I hope it proceeds with civility.

Anyway, um...Udink(?)...if you indeed captured those 2 images - nice job! Glad you found this place. Care to introduce yourself in the bios sticky? What brings you to Price? Or keeps you there?

It is too bad this old thread has been sullied by an unsavory assertion and perhaps more (i.e., some truth to the assertion). However, perhaps that can all be worked out amicably, and we can resume the thread on a happier note. I for one am looking past the impending blizzard, to warmer, sunnier times on the Colorado Plateau.

Jeremy - breathe!

Peace,
Jimi

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Jeremy Westerman
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Re: Southern Utah Buzztail Quiz

Post by Jeremy Westerman » March 1st, 2012, 8:16 pm

Udink wrote:
Jeremy Westerman wrote:
Jimi wrote:You've done well, very well. I expect these few images represent thousands of hours of walking and driving around.
I do a lot of rock climbing, canyoneering and backpacking, not to mention I worked on some movie locations down there this last year. I don't know about thousands of hours... ;)
I think what may be more likely is that the photos Jeremy posted represent an hour or two of collecting other people's photos from the web. At least, in the cases of the images labeled JER10 and JER12, the photos were taken by me and posted to my Picasaweb and Flickr accounts.

Although Jeremy never explicitly stated that he visited all these locations and took the photos himself, he certainly implies it and doesn't try to dissuade other forum members from thinking so (see Jimi's quote above and Jeremy's response). I guess I don't care so much that Jeremy misrepresents himself here, but I do care that my photos were copied to his Photobucket account and reposted without credit to the photographer.

So, Jeremy, would you mind removing my photos from your Photobucket account? I have no objections to you linking directly the photos on my Flickr account, as long as proper credit is given:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/udink/5117952276/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/udink/453085555/

Thanks y'all, and sorry to dig up an old thread for this. :?
I certainly never claimed to take the photos you questioned but merely showed them in a rattlesnake photo quiz with as accurate location data as I could provide for a reasonable species/subspecies identification. The quote by Jimi and my response were taken by me as a generalization not in response to any specific photo. I and many other snake enthusiasts spend enormous amounts of time in the field so I took it in that context. I am not trying to misrepresent myself as you would assume. I certainly see how it seems misleading now. Funny how typed messages can have unintended context. Some of the photos are from climbing friends of mine, some are mine, and some had specific locality info that I trusted that were passed on to me by friends' emails. The only reason I put those photos on my photobucket account is because this site only allows pictures posted in that fashion. I apologize if your pictures got hijacked or whatever. I hope that you share an interest in the animals and post them yourself to this forum.
~edit~ I deleted those images from my photobucket please use udink's link to view them now. I hope the location data is still correct on those snakes. They are still awesome photos. I get bombarded on my facebook and email from friends with pics of lizards, amphibians, animal tracks and snakes all the time wanting me to tell them what kind it is or whatever. I did use some of those pictures in this thread but I never claimed to take the pictures.

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Jeremy Westerman
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Re: Southern Utah Buzztail Quiz

Post by Jeremy Westerman » March 1st, 2012, 8:59 pm

Jeremy Westerman wrote:
Brian Eagar wrote:Nice selection again Jeremy.
Did you find all these snakes yourself or are some pictures that people sent to you?
I'm just curious if you have any additional pics of 2 of them:
Brian, JER11 snake was about 18 inches if I remember right, I will have to go through my pics and see if I have any of the same snake and ask my climbing buddies for their pics.


Udink, here I clearly stated that some of the pictures were not taken by me but were from my friends.

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Re: Southern Utah Buzztail Quiz

Post by Jimi » March 4th, 2012, 6:41 pm

Ah, well this does seem a nice resolution. Glad to see it.

So...I'm curious what you guys' observations and opinions are, as to when it isn't too early to start looking for these lovely Utah buzztails. Below 4500', early April maybe? A few weeks later elsewhere, if sunny and calm?

I keep getting too late a start in the season (early-mid May typically), and they've frequently already dispersed. They don't seem to worry much about late-season cold storms...

Finally, a number of you are now legal to salvage DORs, for submission to BYU under sort of a pilot master/sub permit situation. I'll be in touch. I would hate to hear from you "Jeez, wish I'd known! I've already passed up a half dozen!"

I'll also see about those tissue kits from Native Aquatics, for specimens not suitable for whole whole-body salvage.

Cheers,
Jimi

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Re: Southern Utah Buzztail Quiz

Post by ThomWild » March 5th, 2012, 11:20 am

Jimi,

I know Catherine is planning an outing I guess you would say to help assemble the tissue kits with Jason, but I don't think they have set up a date yet. We will also be using the kits to sample the specimens for the project we are working on. I can check with her and see if we could possibly have them ready for some of the early spring trips.

-Thomas

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Re: Southern Utah Buzztail Quiz

Post by Jeremy Westerman » May 1st, 2012, 7:21 am

Jimi wrote:
So...I'm curious what you guys' observations and opinions are, as to when it isn't too early to start looking for these lovely Utah buzztails. Below 4500', early April maybe? A few weeks later elsewhere, if sunny and calm?

I keep getting too late a start in the season (early-mid May typically), and they've frequently already dispersed. They don't seem to worry much about late-season cold storms...

Finally, a number of you are now legal to salvage DORs, for submission to BYU under sort of a pilot master/sub permit situation. I'll be in touch. I would hate to hear from you "Jeez, wish I'd known! I've already passed up a half dozen!"

I'll also see about those tissue kits from Native Aquatics, for specimens not suitable for whole whole-body salvage.

Cheers,
Jimi
Was down in some old haunts last week looking for crotes and came up zip even though temps were great 80's/high40's-50's. cruised newspaper rock, Monticello, Blanding, Arches, Needles overlook, Price, Moab, river road, etc. Just 2 Dor's (Gophersnake and whipsnake) No rattlesnakes at all. Still scratching my head in confusion. I thought I had perfect timing, but I guess not. So maybe just maybe haven't dispersed quite yet???who knows. sheesh. Let me know about the salvage.

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Re: Southern Utah Buzztail Quiz

Post by Jimi » May 1st, 2012, 7:32 pm

Hi Jeremy,

Thanks, interesting info. Tough country to herp, hard to say exactly why no crotes. You didn't get 100% skunked!

Jack is renewing his master salvage permit ASAP.

Cheers,
Jimi

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blacktara
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Re: Southern Utah Buzztail Quiz

Post by blacktara » December 24th, 2017, 9:55 pm

Don't even ask how I found this thread five years after the fact - Those five snakes originally posted

1. Abyssus
3. Lutosus
4. Concolor
5. Viridis

The interesting snake is 2 - to me the head says abyssus while the back half of the body looks like lutosus - Curious if that is a House Rock area snake?

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