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Agkistrodon piscivorus (LACÉPÈDE, 1789)

IUCN Red List - Agkistrodon piscivorus - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaViperidae, Crotalinae, Colubroidea, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes) 
Common Namespiscivorus: Eastern Cottonmouth
leucostoma: Western Cottonmouth
G: Wasser-Mokassinotter
G: Östliche Wasser-Mokassinotter [piscivorus]
G: Westliche Wassermokassinotter [leucostoma] 
SynonymCrotalus piscivorus LACÉPÈDE 1789: 130
Acontias leucostoma TROOST 1836: 176
Trigonocephalus piscivorus — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1854: 1491
Ancistrodon piscivorus — COPE 1860: 336
Toxicophis piscivorus — BAIRD & GIRARD 1853
Toxicophis pugnax — BAIRD & GIRARD 1853
Toxicophis pugnax — SCHMIDT 1954: 306
Agkistrodon piscivorous — MEHRTENS 1987: 355 (in error)
Agkistrodon piscivorus — CONANT & COLLINS 1991: 228
Agkistrodon piscivorus leucostoma — CONANT & COLLINS 1991: 229
Agkistrodon piscivorus — MCDIARMID, CAMPBELL & TOURÉ 1999: 238
Agkistrodon piscivorus piscivorus — CROTHER 2000: 56
Agkistrodon piscivorus leucostoma — CROTHER 2000: 56
Agkistrodon piscivorus leucostoma — DIXON 2000
Agkistrodon piscivorus leucostoma — TENNANT & BARTLETT 2000: 494
Agkistrodon piscivorus piscivorus — TENNANT & BARTLETT 2000: 490
Agkistrodon piscivorus piscivorus — CROTHER et al. 2012
Agkistrodon piscivorus — CROTHER et al. 2012
Agkistrodon piscivorus leucostoma — CROTHER et al. 2012
Agkistrodon piscivorus — WALLACH et al. 2014: 18
Agkistrodon piscivorus — BURBRINK & GUIHER 2014
Agkistrodon piscivorus — CROTHER et al. 2017 
DistributionUSA (Texas, S/E Oklahoma, S Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Kansas, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, E North Carolina, W Tennessee, W Kentucky, S Illinois, Indiana, SE Virginia)

piscivorus: Atlantic coastal plain south from SE Virginia west to Alabama, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina. Type locality: “Carolina”; Schmidt (1953 :225) proposed to restrict it to the vicinity of Charleston, South Carolina.

leucostoma: from the Mexican border (Rio Grande valley) through Texas, E Oklahoma to C Missouri and S Illinois, W Kentucky, Tennessee to Mobil Bay, Alabama. Type locality: "western district of Tennessee." Proposed emendation to "10 miles northeast of Bolivar, Hardeman County, Tennessee" by
Schmidt (1953:225). Map legend:
TDWG region - Region according to the TDWG standard, not a precise distribution map.

NOTE: TDWG regions are generated automatically from the text in the distribution field and not in every cases it works well. We are working on it.
Reproductionviviparous; facultative parthenogenesis (BOOTH et al. 2012). 
TypesType: unlocated fide McDiarmid et al. 1999; unknown fide Burbrink & Guiher 2014. 

Taxonomy: The monophyletic Florida subspecies of A. piscivorus may be a distinct species (at 4.8% SD), whereas two western subspecies of A. contortrix also appear to constitute a single distinct species, pending additional analyses. Both species of Agkistrodon can be used as suitable ectothermic models to gauge impacts of future climate change (DOUGLAS et al. 2009). Strickland et al. 2014 found two poorly resolved clades roughly corresponding to the Florida and continental populations but their finding does not support the splitting suggested by Burbrink & Guiher 2015.

Synonymy: Burbrink & Guiher (2015) synonymized A. p. piscivorus and A. p. leucostoma into a single species, A. piscivorus. They split off A. conanti as separate species whose range completely falls into that of A. piscivorus.

ICZN opinion 1463 retains the name of LACÉPÈDE 1789.

Habitat: occasionally in brackish waters (”marine”). 
EtymologySpecific epithet refers to dietary habit, derived from Latin pisces and vorare, translated as ‘fish’ and ‘to devour’, respectively. 
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