Night Snake Species ID

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TJB
Posts: 3
Joined: May 25th, 2017, 2:31 pm

Night Snake Species ID

Post by TJB » October 15th, 2019, 11:00 am

I attached a photo I took at Big Bend National Park in May 2017. I originally catalogued it as a Chihuahuan Night Snake (Hypsiglena Jani) . On iNaturalist it was identified as the subspecies Texas Night Snake (Hypsiglena Jani spp Texana). Is this taxonomy determined by geography, a physical characteristic or some other manner? Thanks
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Texas Night Snake_BBNP_May 2017 247b.jpg

craigb
Posts: 625
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 5:02 am
Location: Southern Cal.

Re: Night Snake Species ID

Post by craigb » October 19th, 2019, 10:49 am

Quite honestly the taxonomy for reptiles and amphibians changes about as often as I purchase a new car. Every six to twelve years the majority of the scientists that care about such things change from separatists to generalists. Otherwise known as the dividers and the clumpers.

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

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

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

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

craigb

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