Newer paper on North American rat snakes

So, while scrolling reddit I came across some interesting info. There is a paper I have heard nothing about proposing changes to North American rat snake taxonomy. I haven’t seen anyone else discuss it, and I am wondering if it is officially accepted or if it is still pending acceptance/peer review.

Here is the reddit post with the papers download link. @t_h_wyman and @bartleyreptiles what do you two think?


Figured tagging @eaglereptiles and @lumpy would be a good plan because these changes might actually be official.

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Alright, so from what I understand, the black rat snake and grey rat snake are considered the same species now (even though grey rat snakes are smaller than the black rat snakes). They are now considered the Central rat snake, and are Pantherophis alleghaniensis. The Eastern rat snake is now the Yellow and everglades rat snake, and is Pantherophis quadrivittatus, with the Everglades just being a more colorful yellow rat snake (which makes more sense than the grey and black thing because they are the same sizes). The Texas rat snake is still the Western rat snake and is Pantherophis obsoletus. The baird rat snake is still it’s own species and is Pantherophis bairdi. This change doesn’t make much sense to me but oh well. :person_shrugging:

Here is the new range map.

Edit: So upon further reading the black color in the black rat snake can be in each species but in their Northern range?? Now I am even more confused. My head hurts. This still doesn’t explain why the black rat is bigger if they are different species…

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I cannot access this from work (Reddit is blocked here) but this seems to be part of the continuing argument over the species/group

The fact that outside of Florida, you appear to be looking at a hybrid population (based on the colour blurring on the map you posted), I am more inclined to the previous way of looking at it where everything east of the Mississippi is one species and the differences in phenotype are habitat/climate-specific variations

I have never really understood the constant bickering taxonomists (and hobbyists for that matter) have with these animals when they can look at the massive variation across corn snakes over the exact same range and not blink an eye

:man_shrugging:t4: :man_shrugging:t4:


Here, I have saved the file to my google drive and made it so anyone can view the file.

I don’t get the arguing either tbh. This way of looking at it is a lot more confusing and makes less sense than the last one.


Taxonomists gonna taxonomize LOL

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