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 Post subject: Mountain Kingsnakes in Arizona
PostPosted: September 10th, 2012, 11:45 pm 
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Joined: November 4th, 2010, 7:10 am
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Location: Sonoran Desert
First and foremost, I look for & target rattlesnakes and photograph primarily rattlesnakes. A few other reptiles I do photograph are gila monsters, horned lizards, and mountain kingsnakes. It is always a nice treat to run across these tricolors while hiking. Though I would trade a mountain king sighting for a ridgenose or twin spotted rattlesnake sighting anyday.

Some of you may not know that there are two species on mountain kingsnakes in Arizona, Lampropeltis pyromelana and Lampropeltis knoblochi. Anything mogollon rim and north are Lampropeltis pyromelana. Sky islands and south are Lampropeltis knoblochi.
Here is the paper: http://www.cnah.org/pdf_files/1798.pdf

Part of me would like to see some CA mountain kings on a CA rattlesnake hunt in the future, but don't tell my crote friends. haha

Here are some of the mountain kings I've seen in Arizona the last few years- some with an old P&S camera and others with a dslr. My wife is good at spotting these and so she gets some credit. Two of the snakes below were found by a couple friends as well.

This was my first pyro that I saw in the wild. I saw it crawling along one of the most visited red rock creeks in Arizona, if not the states.
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If you spend time in mountain king country, then they will find you. I spend more time in SE AZ than I do in mogollon rim country due to the rattlesnake diversity, so I guess I see knoblochi a lot more than pyromelana

This is how I see them and prefer it that way. I haven't flipped rocks/logs for mountain kings. No need to.
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Sometimes driving to destinations, I see some DORs which are always a bummer.
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Sometimes when I hike destinations, I see sightings worse than DORs.
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Though, I try to photograph in-situ rattlesnakes...sometimes with crawling colubrids it always isn't an option. So I do quick poses/shots and try to keep sessions very short.
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Sometimes, mountain kings think they are rattlesnakes...
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But, most times they realize who they are... pretty bycatch for us rattlesnake junkies!
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 Post subject: Re: Mountain Kingsnakes in Arizona
PostPosted: September 11th, 2012, 12:18 am 
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Joined: July 3rd, 2010, 8:05 am
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Location: Phoenix, AZ
Wow, that was great! Thanks for the link to the paper. I had heard about this but didn't know exactly where the division between the species occurred...I guess I haven't seen pyromelana after all. That's cool though, I'll take knoblochi and keep looking for pyromelana. Thanks again and you have some great photos there.

Michael Cravens


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 Post subject: Re: Mountain Kingsnakes in Arizona
PostPosted: September 11th, 2012, 12:40 am 

Joined: July 2nd, 2010, 5:48 pm
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Location: AZ.
Those are some stunning photos of really beautiful and in some photos, unusual animals. I will read that paper with interest, thank you for citing it. I remember FR speculating/suggesting this split many years ago... Vic


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 Post subject: Re: Mountain Kingsnakes in Arizona
PostPosted: September 11th, 2012, 3:19 am 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 12:37 pm
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Good looking Pyros... and Knobs!
I've had two big trips to AZ the past two years and failed on them both times.


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 Post subject: Re: Mountain Kingsnakes in Arizona
PostPosted: September 11th, 2012, 6:37 am 
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Nice job photoing these beautiful snakes!


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 Post subject: Re: Mountain Kingsnakes in Arizona
PostPosted: September 11th, 2012, 10:43 am 
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Great show of variation there, Norman. Thanks for the post, and the paper (which can say I contributed to (through skins!) but didn't know it was out or its conclusions). I knew someone would be formally recommending a sink to infralabialis sooner or later. Kind of sad in a way.


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 Post subject: Re: Mountain Kingsnakes in Arizona
PostPosted: September 11th, 2012, 3:25 pm 
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Location: Greenwood, AR
Those are just stunning! One of these days....


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 Post subject: Re: Mountain Kingsnakes in Arizona
PostPosted: September 11th, 2012, 4:38 pm 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 3:26 pm
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Location: Arizona
Great show Norman!!


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 Post subject: Re: Mountain Kingsnakes in Arizona
PostPosted: September 11th, 2012, 6:16 pm 
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This is by far my favorite arizona post, with an exception to Paul Lynum's posts I found those a bit more interesting due to there triangulum matter but the best pyro post Ive seen I think awesome stuff man!
:beer:
Brandon DeCavele


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 Post subject: Re: Mountain Kingsnakes in Arizona
PostPosted: September 11th, 2012, 6:57 pm 

Joined: June 13th, 2010, 6:40 pm
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Paul Lynum wrote:
Great AZ post. This time of year pretty all AZ post are the same four ( :sleep: ) animals. Klaubs, pricei, tigers, and turd brown snakes (Willardi) :lol: Very cool to see another persons pyro shots. I love the fact you took all insitu :thumb: . That's the only kind of pics I take of herps I find cause it takes you back to when you found the animal and can relive it. The posed shots of a snake on a rock with a vista in the back just ruins it. Thanks for not ruin it. Also, that paper on pyros is one of the biggest pieces of crap I ever read. The guys who wrote it doesn't know a damn thing about pyros. That's for sure. Thanks Norman!! :beer:

Paul Lynum


I agree with all of that^^^


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 Post subject: Re: Mountain Kingsnakes in Arizona
PostPosted: September 11th, 2012, 7:06 pm 
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Location: San Francisco, CA
You know, if you start looking for pyros, the Crotes will come out haha! Atleast, that is what happens when I look for zonata here in CA...all Crotes!

Gorgeous finds, Probably my favorite photo series this year on FHF.


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 Post subject: Re: Mountain Kingsnakes in Arizona
PostPosted: September 11th, 2012, 9:42 pm 
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Location: Sonoran Desert
MichaelCravens wrote:
Wow, that was great! Thanks for the link to the paper. I had heard about this but didn't know exactly where the division between the species occurred...I guess I haven't seen pyromelana after all. That's cool though, I'll take knoblochi and keep looking for pyromelana. Thanks again and you have some great photos there.
Michael Cravens

Thanks Michael! I saw you got a nice one earlier this year.

VICtort wrote:
Those are some stunning photos of really beautiful and in some photos, unusual animals. I will read that paper with interest, thank you for citing it. I remember FR speculating/suggesting this split many years ago... Vic

Thanks! I would like to hear FR chime in

mikemike wrote:
Good looking Pyros... and Knobs!
I've had two big trips to AZ the past two years and failed on them both times.

Don't look for them!

Will Wells wrote:
Nice job photoing these beautiful snakes!

Thanks Will! Look forward to your photos!

Paul Lynum wrote:
Great AZ post. This time of year pretty all AZ post are the same four ( :sleep: ) animals. Klaubs, pricei, tigers, and turd brown snakes (Willardi) :lol: Very cool to see another persons pyro shots. I love the fact you took all insitu :thumb: . That's the only kind of pics I take of herps I find cause it takes you back to when you found the animal and can relive it. The posed shots of a snake on a rock with a vista in the back just ruins it. Thanks for not ruin it. Also, that paper on pyros is one of the biggest pieces of crap I ever read. The guys who wrote it doesn't know a damn thing about pyros. That's for sure. Thanks Norman!! :beer:

Paul Lynum

Thanks Paul! I figured you would like these pics. Three of the four snakes you named off are some of my favorites! hahaha. Some of those turd brown snakes are screamers, but the pics you see are usually of the same half dozen animals.
I didn't take all insitu - the bottom half photos were posed when I couldn't get an insitu.
I was wondering what you thought about that paper. lol.

kcmatt wrote:
Great show of variation there, Norman. Thanks for the post, and the paper (which can say I contributed to (through skins!) but didn't know it was out or its conclusions). I knew someone would be formally recommending a sink to infralabialis sooner or later. Kind of sad in a way.

Thanks Matt! I can't even imagine what will be sunk and given species status the next ten years. I'll be in the field, while those splitters can stay in the lab.

Eric East wrote:
Those are just stunning! One of these days....

Thanks! Get into habitat and hike!

Brendan wrote:
Great show Norman!!

Thanks Brendan! You get credit for one of the nicer pyros! I knew you liked pyros deep down inside or you were bored at work - otherwise you wouldn't have checked this thread.

Brandon D wrote:
This is by far my favorite arizona post, with an exception to Paul Lynum's posts I found those a bit more interesting due to there triangulum matter but the best pyro post Ive seen I think awesome stuff man!
:beer:
Brandon DeCavele

Thanks a lot! You must be a tricolor fan to say this is one of your favorite AZ posts.

Jlassiter wrote:
Paul Lynum wrote:
Great AZ post. This time of year pretty all AZ post are the same four ( :sleep: ) animals. Klaubs, pricei, tigers, and turd brown snakes (Willardi) :lol: Very cool to see another persons pyro shots. I love the fact you took all insitu :thumb: . That's the only kind of pics I take of herps I find cause it takes you back to when you found the animal and can relive it. The posed shots of a snake on a rock with a vista in the back just ruins it. Thanks for not ruin it. Also, that paper on pyros is one of the biggest pieces of crap I ever read. The guys who wrote it doesn't know a damn thing about pyros. That's for sure. Thanks Norman!! :beer:

Paul Lynum


I agree with all of that^^^


haha thanks

Zach_Lim wrote:
You know, if you start looking for pyros, the Crotes will come out haha! Atleast, that is what happens when I look for zonata here in CA...all Crotes!

Gorgeous finds, Probably my favorite photo series this year on FHF.


Thanks Zach. I find plenty of crotes - far, far more than pyros. Actually, I see more pyros than cal or desert kings. Pyros are just pretty bycatch that I figured others would like to see. I would love to make more trips to Norcal for crotes. It's just so far up there and the crote species are limited. I am a crote guy and it's funny how more people view my pyro posts than my crote posts.


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 Post subject: Re: Mountain Kingsnakes in Arizona
PostPosted: September 12th, 2012, 7:09 am 
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Beautiful Norman! Since we can't seem to stumble across one ourselves, it's good to see some great pictures. In CA, sometimes we happen upon crots while looking for mountain kings.... :)


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 Post subject: Re: Mountain Kingsnakes in Arizona
PostPosted: September 12th, 2012, 9:38 am 

Joined: June 8th, 2010, 7:12 am
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Location: Hesperia, California.
Fundad and I cruised these two within 5 min of each other...
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In the next 2 hrs we saw 6 or 7 crotes, including these
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While looking for these (we saw 3)
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You'd like it where I live... I can see 9 out of 10 of Ca's Crote Ssp's within a 2 hr drive. Only one I've yet to see is lutosis... some 5-6 hrs away... :(
Great post, dude... :thumb:
BTW...That little 'desert-phase' Z was my lifer, and I've yet to see another. :roll: :lol: :lol: jim


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 Post subject: Re: Mountain Kingsnakes in Arizona
PostPosted: September 23rd, 2012, 10:30 pm 
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Paul:

"Also, that paper on pyros is one of the biggest pieces of crap I ever read. "

Could you expand on that? I have heard this about that paper a few times from a few individuals, but no specific arguments. Thank you.

Great shots, Norm!


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 Post subject: Re: Mountain Kingsnakes in Arizona
PostPosted: September 23rd, 2012, 10:44 pm 
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I'd also be interested into the reasons why many of you dislike that paper. I have no opinion on it, never having seen a pyro, or knowing much about phylogenetics.


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 Post subject: Re: Mountain Kingsnakes in Arizona
PostPosted: September 25th, 2012, 1:13 am 
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Great post! There's nothing like seeing a Mnt king out on the crawl. :thumb:


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 Post subject: Re: Mountain Kingsnakes in Arizona
PostPosted: September 26th, 2012, 11:00 am 

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Nice collection of photos and a good variety of colors and patterns. I love it.


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 Post subject: Re: Sv: Mountain Kingsnakes in Arizona
PostPosted: September 27th, 2012, 2:20 am 
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Interesting post, I thaught knoblochi and pyromelana could be told apart that knoblochi are saddled/blotched, and pyro has rings. Can also knoblochi have rings? Is it only the Mexican knoblochi that are saddled/blotched?
Great post anyhow!


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 Post subject: Re: Mountain Kingsnakes in Arizona
PostPosted: October 11th, 2012, 12:58 pm 
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It's another DNA boondoggle...just like the getula paper...and it will mean nothing to those of us who determine subspecies (not species) by pattern. AZ pyros are nothing like knoblochi, except that a few can have knoblochi-like markings on the lateral portion of the body, but never completely like a knoblochi. This would make them, in my opinion, an intergrade between pyro pyro and pyro knoblochi. I'm glad I won't be around in 50 years to see how screwed up herpetology has become by the DNA jockeys that always have to create something new to keep their jobs...

According to the getula split paper by Pyron and Burbrink, this snake is a Speckled Kingsnake (L.holbrooki)

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Freer, TX In reality, this is a Desert Kingsnake, L. g. splendida.

According to the getula split paper by Pyron and Burbrink, this snake is a California Kingsnake (L. californiae)

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Sonora, MX-photo by Matt Cage. In reality, this is a Desert Kingsnake/Western Black Kingsnake intergrade, L. g. splendida x L. g. nigrita.

According to the getula split paper by Pyron and Burbrink, this snake is a California Kingsnake (L. californiae)

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Nogales, AZ - photo by Dave Long In reality, this is a Desert Kingsnake/Western Black Kingsnake intergrade, L. g. splendida x L. g. nigrita. Even though it looks all black, it looked like a splendida as a juvenile and was found within the intergrade zone.

I just get tired of these splits and changes that make no sense and just confuse the newbies...I'm not against changes, as long as they make sense and improve our understanding, but like the getula screw-up, this pyro screw-up is just ludicrous...It appalls me that some so-called scientists force this crap on us...and other so-called scientists accept it. What the HELL is going on?

for those who don't know, this is what a California Kingsnake looks like

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and this is what a Speckled Kingsnake looks like

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Oh yeah, nice pyro pics Norman... :thumb: although, I didn't see any knoblochi... :roll:


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 Post subject: Re: Mountain Kingsnakes in Arizona
PostPosted: October 11th, 2012, 2:02 pm 
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Nice post norm!

Hubbs where exactly does pure nigrita start?

-B-


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 Post subject: Re: Mountain Kingsnakes in Arizona
PostPosted: October 11th, 2012, 2:28 pm 
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No one knows exactly where they start...but my book gives a pretty good idea on the range map...hope thet heps...


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 Post subject: Re: Mountain Kingsnakes in Arizona
PostPosted: October 11th, 2012, 2:30 pm 
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lol guess ill never know since I'm not buying your book.

-B-


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 Post subject: Re: Mountain Kingsnakes in Arizona
PostPosted: October 11th, 2012, 2:36 pm 
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I don't give a rats ass if you buy it or not. You can read it at the Tucson library if you want to drive there...


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 Post subject: Re: Mountain Kingsnakes in Arizona
PostPosted: October 11th, 2012, 2:42 pm 
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You know I was asking a serious question since I have some records from Mexico that I would like to know more about and you had to once again turn it into a book sale.

Sorry for the hijack Norm.

-B-


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 Post subject: Re: Mountain Kingsnakes in Arizona
PostPosted: October 11th, 2012, 2:48 pm 
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I didn't turn it into a book sale, I simply stated that the range map was in my book...that's why i wrote a book, so i don't have to give everyone the same info over and over...but, if you really want to know, then do what i did and interview dozens of people, read papers and look at all the dead kings in all the museums in the west...and plot the localities on a map...why do i have to do your work for you?


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 Post subject: Re: Mountain Kingsnakes in Arizona
PostPosted: October 11th, 2012, 2:57 pm 
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I just ask a simple question more out of respect since you are an "authority" on Lampros and I am not. I figured since this thread had included a similar discussion on pyro distribution and you had brought up the other "species" I thought that it was a question that contributed. Thank you for your help.

-Brandon-


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 Post subject: Re: Mountain Kingsnakes in Arizona
PostPosted: October 11th, 2012, 3:13 pm 
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You're welcome. :lol:

I know, Brandon, why don't you write a book...spend 5 years on it, then after you publish it at your own expense tell everyone that asks you what's in the book...for free on a forum...so that they can just argue with you about it, since they never read your book in the first place. Try it, see how it makes you feel... :o

Everyone who has read the book doesn't need to ask me questions anymore... :)


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 Post subject: Re: Mountain Kingsnakes in Arizona
PostPosted: October 11th, 2012, 3:49 pm 
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Well I figured since you where helping straighten out the story on the kings and in a seemingly generous mood that it was a fair question to ask. As for me personally I don't care enough to figure it out or I probably already would have done so. Side note, it's never a good thing when people stop asking questions ;)

-Brandon-


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 Post subject: Re: Mountain Kingsnakes in Arizona
PostPosted: October 11th, 2012, 4:02 pm 
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alright, alright...here it is: Damn, some people's kids...

Image

Now, remember, this is only an approximation and does not reflect absolute knowlege...for all i know nigrita could just be a color morph of splendida...but it sure isn't a Cal King...

And Norman, I'm really sorry I hijacked your excellent pyro post... :roll:


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 Post subject: Re: Mountain Kingsnakes in Arizona
PostPosted: October 11th, 2012, 4:31 pm 
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Thanks Brian!
:beer:


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 Post subject: Re: Mountain Kingsnakes in Arizona
PostPosted: October 11th, 2012, 5:04 pm 
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Thanks Norman...and a shout out to Hellihooks, whose posts/contributions I always appreciate.


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 Post subject: Re: Mountain Kingsnakes in Arizona
PostPosted: October 11th, 2012, 6:05 pm 
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So I guess the obvious followup question is this:

Why does pattern make a subspecies? As we have seen through captive breeding, pattern is highly plastic, and subject to simple mendellian heritability, for the most part. If the point of taxonomy is to elucidate relationships between organisms, wouldn't a classification system based on genetics offer more helpful information?


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 Post subject: Re: Mountain Kingsnakes in Arizona
PostPosted: October 11th, 2012, 6:13 pm 
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And the next logical followup question:

Why all the pissing, moaning and bickering over this? After all, they're only kingsnakes. :lol:

-Kris


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 Post subject: Re: Mountain Kingsnakes in Arizona
PostPosted: October 11th, 2012, 6:20 pm 
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azatrox wrote:
And the next logical followup question:

Why all the pissing, moaning and bickering over this? After all, they're only kingsnakes. :lol:

-Kris



Taxonomy is intricately related to conservation, as well as utility.

Conservation wise, we have evidence that the southern and northern bog turtle populations are different, and as so they have different conservation priorities. This isn't based on morphology, but genetics (as well as other factors, sure).

Utility wise, we have seen that venom can evolve in different directions in members of the same species. I think the new sea snake taxonomy paper posted earlier is a great example. They LOOK the same, but the genetics say different, and this can have implications for anti-venom production.


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 Post subject: Re: Mountain Kingsnakes in Arizona
PostPosted: October 11th, 2012, 6:35 pm 
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Fine, you call them whatever you want...but field guides will be impossible in the future with some of this DNA based classification crap...and the examples i showed illustrate very well. Why do we need 2 bog turtle species that look identical. Why not just help the populations that need it, wherever they are...? The funding requisites evidently need a big overhaul...

You know, let's just cut the crap...you know very well why these splits happen. "Many times" to push an agenda or garner fame for an unknown grad. student so he can get a job or funding. In my opinion, there was no reason to make knoblochi a species, or to change it's range. What purpose was served, other than to pad someone's scientific resume?

Be honest, many of these new DNA classifications appear to be garbage...and only designed to pad resumes... :o


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 Post subject: Re: Mountain Kingsnakes in Arizona
PostPosted: October 11th, 2012, 6:56 pm 
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Taxonomy is intricately related to conservation, as well as utility.

Conservation wise, we have evidence that the southern and northern bog turtle populations are different, and as so they have different conservation priorities. This isn't based on morphology, but genetics (as well as other factors, sure).


Yeah, I was kidding. There seems to be a divide between those that believe in genetics based taxonomy vs. morphology based taxonomy. Personally, I lean more towards genetics based taxonomy...Done properly (and honestly), genetics work doesn't lie regardless of what an animal looks like. (I add "honestly" to avoid the issues that Hubbs brings up in his rebuttal to the genetics based argument.)

That said, even I know that p. knoblochi and p. pyromelana look VERY different, and no one's going to convince me that genetics based work was the driving factor in splitting the pyromelana mess where it was split. I just don't buy that pyromelana found in central/southern Az are knoblochi...especially after seeing multiple examples of both.

-Kris


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 Post subject: Re: Mountain Kingsnakes in Arizona
PostPosted: October 11th, 2012, 6:59 pm 
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Brian Hubbs wrote:
Fine, you call them whatever you want...but field guides will be impossible in the future with this DNA based classification crap...and the examples i showed illustrate very well. Why do we need 2 bog turtle species that look identical. Why not just help the populations that need it, wherever they are...? The funding requisites evidently need a big overhaul...

You know, let's just cut the crap...you know very well why these splits happen. Mostly to push an agenda or garner fame for an unknown grad. student so he can get a job or funding. There was no reason to make knoblochi a species, or to change it's range. What purpose was served, other than to pad someone's scientific resume?

Be honest, most DNA classifications are garbage...and only designed to pad resumes...we're not all idiots on this forum... :o


Because lawyers are a pain in the ass! The bog turtles are still the same species, don't worry about that ;) As to you final comment, I'll just agree to disagree :beer:


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 Post subject: Re: Mountain Kingsnakes in Arizona
PostPosted: October 11th, 2012, 7:01 pm 
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Some genetic classifications make sense and are useful, like the sea snake study referred to on this forum...but others are just manipulative pieces of garbage...like the getula split and the pyro split. thanks for siding with me on that one azatrox... :thumb: Sorry if I'm a little slow responding here, but I'm watching the movie "Oklahoma" and have to keep fast forwarding through the music... :lol: :lol: :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: Mountain Kingsnakes in Arizona
PostPosted: October 11th, 2012, 7:53 pm 
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Brian Hubbs wrote:
... DNA jockeys that always have to create something new to keep their jobs...

...It appalls me that so-called scientists force this crap on us...and other so-called scientists accept it...

... DNA based classification crap...

You know, let's just cut the crap...you know very well why these splits happen. Mostly to push an agenda or garner fame for an unknown grad. student so he can get a job or funding. There was no reason to make knoblochi a species, or to change it's range. What purpose was served, other than to pad someone's scientific resume?

Be honest, most DNA classifications are garbage...and only designed to pad resumes...we're not all idiots on this forum... :o

I can understand people holding different opinions on a body of work or even about the person who produced it (if they actually know said person). Further, I firmly believe that one of science's great strengths is that it doesn't simply allow but actually thrives on, some would even say it requires, criticism. But what I don't get at all is why some people think it's ok for them to denigrate people they don't know in the slightest or act like those people's work is "crap" just because they don't agree with it.

The primary purpose of science is to increase knowledge and understanding. Not to aid conservation. Not to help mankind. Not to enhance profits. A study might also be conducted with such secondary purposes in mind, but they are indeed secondary.

The way to judge the quality of science is by how properly and carefully it was conducted. Not by how helpful or unhelpful it might be for a particular secondary purpose. Not whether one likes or agrees with its results (though I'd argue that it should be possible to persuade the open-minded person to change positions through the accumulation of scientific evidence).

You want to find fault with a study? That's more than fine, it's downright desirable as I said, but do so by finding its actual faults, not by making vague slams against it overall or by baselessly attacking the character and motivation of the people who conducted it (and who you likely know absolutely nothing about). Trot out whatever evidence you can find that opposes it. Do your own studies to come up with such evidence, if necessary. If such evidence simply doesn't exist, at the very least take a moment to outline whatever cogent arguments you can muster against the study that bothers you so.

As you said, Brian, let's just cut the crap. Ok?

Ok, onto the subject of the general (un)worthiness of genetic studies for taxonomic purposes...

I can't imagine who would disagree that the strongest taxonomic studies make use of the most kinds of data, e.g. combining information on genetics, morphology, behavior, biogeography, you-name-it. The more narrow the dataset, the less reliable the result.

But many taxonomy studies always have been and apparently always will continue to be conducted that examine only a few or even just one type of data at a time. So be it; even very limited information is better than no information at all. In these cases it's understandable that many of us might favor visual data, as we're an extremely visually oriented species. But the simple truth is that appearances can be deceiving in and of themselves (e.g. due to convergent evolution), and that our interpretation of appearances is also often very subject to our own biases - and bias is anathema to science. Genetic techniques have failings as well - as I said, it's really best to combine a variety of different kinds of data - but in my opinion one-on-one they beat every other kind of data we could obtain for addressing taxonomic questions. They're readily applied and unaffected by who applies them, they result in easily quantified and analyzed information, and they can be repeated with a very high degree of consistency by subsequent workers.

If you want to persuade me to put more of my belief behind some other taxonomic scheme than one supported by published genetic analyses, then you'd better bring plenty of competing evidence, not just a bunch of garbage rooted in your personal feelings about the matter.

Gerry


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 Post subject: Re: Mountain Kingsnakes in Arizona
PostPosted: October 11th, 2012, 9:08 pm 
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My opinion on Pyros - I don't have enough experience or book knowledge but my suspicion is they are all the same snake.
Maybe subspecies is valid, maybe not.

My opinion on Getula - this is largely pulled out of my ass but it's my view - Western Black are a color morph of Desert. That's opinion. And they should be called Mexican Black because MBK is prettier than WBK. MBK/Splendida however are the same species as Cal King but subspecies level distinction is not only valid but necessary.

Cal Kings from Redding, CA are clearly visually distinguishable from Cal Kings from SFBA are clearly visually distinguishable from Cal Kings from Los Angeles County - yet they are all clearly the same snake and would be grouped together separate from MBK/Splendida.

While they would be grouped together separate from MBK/Splendida - taxonomy they are the same species because there is a clear intergrade zone where genes flow between them. Hence the need for Cal King to be different subspecies from MBK/Splendida.

And the same argument can be made throughout the classical getula range. From California to Florida they are all the same species with gene flow and intergrades between forms that are different enough to be classified as distinct subspecies.

My view on the getula paper saying they should be split, to me that's an indication that the conclusions drawn from the data were incorrect indicating there is a flaw in their method of analyzing the data and what the data means. The same method that the same researchers applied to the Pyro paper, thus casting suspicion for me on the validity of the Pyro paper.

I suspect sometime in the next decade there will be papers published demonstrating what that flaw in the method is.

But I'm not a scientist, so wait and see.

-=-

Oh - buy Brian's book - he is good author that explains things well. Even if you can't stand him personally, it is well researched and well written.
Or look at it in the library.


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 Post subject: Re: Mountain Kingsnakes in Arizona
PostPosted: October 11th, 2012, 9:44 pm 
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The same method that the same researchers applied to the Pyro paper, thus casting suspicion for me on the validity of the Pyro paper.


Not technically true. The getula paper only analyzed a single mitochondrial gene, while the pyro paper analyzed a mitochondrial gene and two nuclear genes. Both use a niche modeling approach as well to identify habitat/climate/niche preferences among the groups studied. In my view, the pyro paper convincingly shows that the two populations are allopatric, in terms of genetic distinction, geography, and of habitat/niche specialization. Those three lines of evidence provide substantial support for the idea that they are independently-evolving lineages, which is the definition of evolutionary species concept. Whether they should be named pyro/knoblochi I haven't a clue.

The getula paper is far weaker by comparison, because the reliance on a single mitochondrial gene may not provide sufficient evidence to demonstrate that the various populations are genetically distinct enough to evolve independently, especially given that the populations are not always geographically allopatric. The habitat/niche preferences are also not nearly as clear along population borders.

Some of the differences here are surely semantic to some extent, but they also are very useful in determining boundaries for management options and in future comparative studies. Phylogenetic methods are also continuously evolving themselves, so chances are good that the names will change again someday.

Van


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 Post subject: Re: Mountain Kingsnakes in Arizona
PostPosted: October 11th, 2012, 9:47 pm 
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Gerry: My goal was not to persuade you to believe anything...I was simply stating my beliefs and noting said garbage for what it is. My photos are proof enough that Burbrink's getula split was rough, shoddy, not well done, and absolute BS. End of story. sorry you typed so much in response, but if true to character, you'll do it again... :lol: See, I'm not going to argue with you here. I respect your opinion, so respect mine, and my freedom of speech, no matter how gruff at times...

funky: Thank you fer yer support...

van: You are a very knowledgeable and intelligent fellow.


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 Post subject: Re: Mountain Kingsnakes in Arizona
PostPosted: October 11th, 2012, 10:38 pm 
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independently-evolving lineages

That's something I have some trouble with.

The Sagebrush Lizards in Sutter Butte are geographically and therefore reproductively isolated from other sagebrush lizards.
Therefore they are evolving independently, no? But no one is claiming them to be a separate species, presumably because there hasn't been enough independent evolution - but how much is enough?

When there is a contact zone we can look at what happens in that contact zone. But where there is not a contact zone, we don't know if they would continue to evolve independently. And where there is not a contact zone, we don't know it will remain that way. The Ensatina complex seems to show several cases where populations were isolated and then later had contact again.

If taxonomy is suppose to be a hypothesis of the evolutionary tree of life, then it should look at what has happened (past tense) rather than speculating on what will happen (future tense) so if there is evidence that a population has been isolated, that may mean that in the future it will be a distinct species, but unless we know genes won't flow if they are put into contact again, we can't know that it will be a separate species in the future. It may not play out that way, just like several Ensatina examples show isolation and secondary contact resulting in renewed gene flow.

How to know when independent evolution has reached a point that there will be reproductive isolation given a secondary contact, I suppose that is a difficult question, but it is the question that probably needs answering before these splits are considered valid.


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 Post subject: Re: Mountain Kingsnakes in Arizona
PostPosted: October 11th, 2012, 10:56 pm 
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Quote:
The Sagebrush Lizards in Sutter Butte are geographically and therefore reproductively isolated from other sagebrush lizards.
Therefore they are evolving independently, no? But no one is claiming them to be a separate species, presumably because there hasn't been enough independent evolution - but how much is enough?


Has anyone actually tested that hypothesis in that species yet? Many species simply haven't been looked at in that context yet.

Quote:
When there is a contact zone we can look at what happens in that contact zone. But where there is not a contact zone, we don't know if they would continue to evolve independently. And where there is not a contact zone, we don't know it will remain that way. The Ensatina complex seems to show several cases where populations were isolated and then later had contact again.

If taxonomy is suppose to be a hypothesis of the evolutionary tree of life, then it should look at what has happened (past tense) rather than speculating on what will happen (future tense) so if there is evidence that a population has been isolated, that may mean that in the future it will be a distinct species, but unless we know genes won't flow if they are put into contact again, we can't know that it will be a separate species in the future. It may not play out that way, just like several Ensatina examples show isolation and secondary contact resulting in renewed gene flow.

How to know when independent evolution has reached a point that there will be reproductive isolation given a secondary contact, I suppose that is a difficult question, but it is the question that probably needs answering before these splits are considered valid.


I don't think any of these studies try to predict the future. If lineages are independently evolving right now, then they are, by the evolutionary species concept (which is what Burbrink et al. use), different species right now, regardless of whether they will re-hybridize in the future.

Whether the evolutionary species concept shouldn't be used in preference to the biological species concept (i.e., reproductive isolation) is up for debate, and is still debated among biologists. The problem is that many "species" (especially plants) are not reproductively isolated to the extent necessary for the biological species concept.

Van


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 Post subject: Re: Mountain Kingsnakes in Arizona
PostPosted: October 12th, 2012, 3:57 am 
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Brian Hubbs wrote:
Be honest, most DNA classifications are garbage...and only designed to pad resumes...

What's the source of this perception?


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 Post subject: Re: Mountain Kingsnakes in Arizona
PostPosted: October 12th, 2012, 7:10 am 
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Brian, I respect you more than you know (and likely more than you deserve :P ). But you should realize that my respect for someone can't help but be diminished when s/he stages vague, personal attacks on people and their bodies of work apparently just because s/he doesn't agree with the results of said work. Not to mention that your attacks are aimed at scientists and their science, a group which includes me and which is already subject to far too much such nonsense in modern day America. You find your photos persuasive of something contrary to Burbrink's work, ok, but do you really mean to tell us that those photos also inform you of his character and motives? And justify your impugning the character and motives of those other scientists you addressed? Come on.

VanAR wrote:
... The problem is that many "species" (especially plants) are not reproductively isolated to the extent necessary for the biological species concept.

I strongly favored this concept myself, once upon a time. But then as I gained knowledge and experience as a reproductive biologist I came to understand that 1) reproductive isolation is often not a yes or no thing, but can exist to many different degrees even between species that everyone would agree are not very much alike, and 2) variation within populations exists in reproductive traits (and at largely unknown but likely much greater levels than we realize), too, further muddying the reproductive isolation waters. So now I acknowledge that all of the species concepts are flawed in one way or another, that this is doubtless the way it must be given how fluid evolution is, and that my current pragmatic approach - recognizing species to a large extent simply as seems to be most useful - is about as good as any other. ;)

Gerry


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 Post subject: Re: Mountain Kingsnakes in Arizona
PostPosted: October 12th, 2012, 8:26 am 
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Gerry: sometimes I paint with a wide brush without intending to. I usually preface my sentiment with words like "It seems to me", "many times", "many people", "sometimes", "a lot of the time", etc. If i failed to do that in my last spree of condescension I apologize, and will re-read my rhetoric and change it as necessary. However, I have seen many studies that i considered ludicrous come down the pike in the last 10 years, and you know they weren't all credible. I'm just trying to point out one which I truly believe is stupid and another than seems unreasonable to me...and I'm surprised that Matt Ingrasci put his name on it (see, I do know a few of these folks, but maybe not as well as I thought...).

PS-Corrections to tone made...


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 Post subject: Re: Mountain Kingsnakes in Arizona
PostPosted: October 12th, 2012, 9:48 am 
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Brian Hubbs wrote:
... I have seen many studies that i considered ludicrous come down the pike in the last 10 years...

I get that, Amigo. I'm just asking that you take the time and effort to tear them apart properly.

Gerry


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 Post subject: Re: Mountain Kingsnakes in Arizona
PostPosted: October 12th, 2012, 12:02 pm 
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I guess if I wanted to be the policeman of herpetology I would do that, but everyday I get less and less interested in these wars. Once in awhile I feel like venting, but not to the point that I have to become a DNA expert. Hell, I'd rather go photograph more pond turtles for the naherp.com database...seriously...I only have 824 entries for those and I need to get that number up to 5,000...just for my own understanding of the species and its distribution. 8-)


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