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Crotalus atrox BAIRD & GIRARD, 1853

IUCN Red List - Crotalus atrox - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaViperidae, Crotalinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnake
G: Texas-Klapperschlange, Westliche Diamantklapperschlange
E: Tortuga Island Rattlesnake (tortugensis)
S: Cascabel de Diamantes 
SynonymCrotalus atrox BAIRD & GIRARD 1853: 5
? Crotalus confluentus SAY 1822: 48
Crotalus cinereous LE CONTE In HALLOWELL 1852: 177
? Crotalus confluentus — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1854: 1476
Crotalus confluentus — TRÉCUL 1876: 440
Crotalus confluentus — GARMAN 1887: 123
Crotalus confluentus BOULENGER 1896
Crotalus tortugensis VAN DENBURGH & SLEVIN 1921 (fide CASTOE et al. 2007)
Crotalus confluentus — BURT 1935
Crotalus cinereous — SMITH 1939: 319
Crotalus tortugensis — CLIFF 1954
Crotalus atrox — STEBBINS 1985: 226
Crotalus atrox — CONANT & COLLINS 1991: 235
Crotalus atrox — LINER 1994
Crotalus tortugensis — LINER 1994
Crotalus tortugensis — MCDIARMID, CAMPBELL & TOURÉ 1999: 296
Crotalus atrox — MCDIARMID, CAMPBELL & TOURÉ 1999: 277
Crotalus tortugensis — MURPHY et al. 2002
Crotalus tortugensis — GRISMER 2002
Crotalus atrox — ERNST & ERNST 2003: 492
Crotalus tortugensis — BEAMAN & SPENCER 2004
Hoserea atrox — HOSER 2009
Hoserea tortugensis — HOSER 2009
Crotalus atrox — WALLACH et al. 2014: 188
Crotalus atrox — ZAHER et al. 2019
Crotalus tortugensis — ZAHER et al. 2019 
DistributionUSA (SE California, S Nevada [A Heindl, pers. comm.], Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas),
Mexico (Mexico [HR 35: 190], Baja California, Quéretaro, Sonora, Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, Chihuahua, Coahuila, NE Durango, Oaxaca, Zacatecas, San Luis Potosi, isolated records from Verzcruz, Hidalgo, Jalisco, Aguascalientes, Sinaloa, Veracruz, Guanajuato)

Type locality: "Indianola" [Indianola, Calhoun County, Texas, USA].

tortugensis: Mexico (Isla Tortuga in the Gulf of California).  
Reproductionovovivparous. C. atrox and C. horridus may hybridize in nature (Meike t al. 2008). Levine et al. 2021 presented evidence for long-term sperm storage up to 6 years (or longer). 
TypesHolotype: USNM 7761
Holotype: CAS 50515 [tortugensis] 
CommentVenomous! Crotalus atrox is responsible for most casualties through snakebite in North America.

Nomenclature: Hoser’s 2009 classification and nomenclature has been rejected as unnecessary and unavailable by WÜSTER & BERNILS 2011.

Synonymy: AMARAL 1929 synonymed C. tortugensis with C. atrox. However, recent authors recognize it as valid. Zaher et al. 2019 found sufficient genetic differences between atrox and tortugensis to warrant species recognition.

Similar species: C. scutulatus.

Love (2013) reports melanism in C. atrox.

Habitat: usually terrestrial, occasionally arboreal (Sykes & Sykes 2020). 
EtymologyThe specific name, "atrox," is a Greek word meaning "cruel, harsh, or merciless," presumably applied in reference to this animal's feisty disposition and capacity to deliver a lethal bite. 
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