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Crotalus viridis RAFINESQUE, 1818

IUCN Red List - Crotalus viridis - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaViperidae, Crotalinae, Serpentes (snakes) 
SubspeciesCrotalus viridis nuntius KLAUBER 1935
Crotalus viridis viridis (RAFINESQUE 1818) 
Common NamesE: viridis: Western Rattlesnake, Prairie Rattlesnake
E: nuntius: Hopi Rattlesnake
G: Prärie-Klapperschlange
G: nuntius: Hopi-Klapperschlange 
SynonymCrotalus viridis viridis (RAFINESQUE 1818)
Crotalinus viridis RAFINESQUE 1818
Crotalus viridis viridis — KLAUBER 1936
Crotalus viridis viridis — STEBBINS 1985: 231
Crotalus viridis viridis — LINER 1994
Crotalus viridis viridis — CONANT & COLLINS 1991: 236
Crotalus viridis — MCDIARMID, CAMPBELL & TOURÉ 1999: 297
Crotalus viridis viridis — TENNANT & BARTLETT 2000: 529
Crotalus viridis viridis — ASHTON et al. 2001
Crotalus viridis viridis — CAMPBELL & LAMAR 2004
Crotalus viridis — HOSER 2009
Crotalus viridis — CROTHER et al. 2012
Crotalus viridis — WALLACH et al. 2014: 196

Crotalus viridis nuntius KLAUBER 1935
Crotalus confluentus nuntius KLAUBER 1935
Crotalus viridis nuntius — KLAUBER 1936
Crotalus viridis nuntius — STEBBINS 1985: 232
Crotalus viridis nuntius — CROTHER 2000: 60
Crotalus viridis nuntius — ASHTON et al. 2001
Crotalus viridis nuntius — CAMPBELL & LAMAR 2004
Crotalus viridis nuntius — BEAMAN & HAYES 2008 
DistributionSW Canada (incl. Alberta, Saskatchewan), W USA (Washington, California, Oregon, Montana, South Dakota, New Mexico, Texas),
Mexico (Baja California Norte, N Chihuahua, NW Coahuila)

viridis: the Great Plains (Oklahoma, NW Texas, New Mexico) to the Rocky Mountains and from S Canada to Mexico (N Sonora, N Chihuahua, N Coahuila); Type locality: “the Upper Missouri”. Restricted to “the prairies between the Cannonball and Heart rivers, within 40 km of the Missouri River in North Dakota” a location far distant from the previous restriction of the type locality to ‘‘vicinity of Kansas City, Missouri’’ (Schmidt, 1953: 226).

nuntius: NE Arizona 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.
TypesType: lost (fide HOLYCROSS et al. 2008)
Holotype: SDSNH 3105 [nuntius] 
CommentSynonymy: Douglas et al. (2002) synonymized C.v. nuntius with C. v. viridis although more recent authors keep using it as valid. Crother et al. (2012) follow Douglas et al. 2002 and do not list it as valid.


Size: Length up to 58 inches (~ 145 cm).

ASHTON et al. (2001) split C. viridis into two evolutionary species, C. viridis and C. oreganus. CROTHER (2003) and others also followed that scheme.

Reproduction: viviparous.

Nomenclature: Hoser’s 2009 classification and nomenclature has been rejected as unnecessary and unavailable by WÜSTER & BERNILS 2011. 
  • Ashton, Kyle G.; de Queiroz, Alan 2001. Molecular systematics of the Western Rattlesnake, Crotalus viridis (Viperidae), with comments on the utility of the D-Loop in phylogenetic studies of snakes. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 21(2):176-189. - get paper here
  • Bateman, Heather L.; Alice Chung-MacCoubrey, Howard L. Snell, and Deborah M. Finch 2009. Abundance and Species Richness of Snakes along the Middle Rio Grande Riparian Forest in New Mexico. Herp. Cons. Biol. 4: 1 - get paper here
  • Beaman, K.R. & Hayes, W.K. 2008. Rattlesnakes: Research Trends and Annotated Checklist. In: Hayes et al. (eds), The biology of rattlesnakes. Loma Linda University Press, pp. 5-16
  • Campbell, Jonathan A. and William W. Lamar 2004. The Venomous Reptiles of the Western Hemisphere, 2 vols. Comstock (Cornell University Press), Ithaca, NY, 962 pp. [review in Science 305: 182]
  • Chiszar, David; Adam Walters, and Hobart M Smith 2008. Rattlesnake Preference for Envenomated Prey: Species Specificity. Journal of Herpetology 42 (4): 764 - get paper here
  • Chiszar, David; Bryon K. Shipley, Hobart M. Smith, Kevin Fitzgerald and Anthony J. Saviola. 2014. Straightness-of-path during and after vernal migration in prairie rattlesnakes, Crotalus viridis, in eastern Colorado. Herpetology Notes 7: 425-436 - get paper here
  • Collins, J.T. & Collins, S.L. 2009. A pocket guide to Kansas snakes, 2nd ed. Great Plains Nature Center, Wichita, 69 pp.
  • Collins, J.T. & Collins, S.L. 2010. A pocket guide to Kansas snakes, 3rd ed. Great Plains Nature Center, Wichita, 69 pp.
  • Conant,R. & Collins,J.T. 1991. A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern/Central North America, 3rd ed. Houghton Mifflin (Boston/New York), xx + 450 p.
  • Crother, B. I. (ed.) 2012. Standard Common and Current Scientific Names for North American Amphibians, Turtles, Reptiles, and Crocodilians, Seventh Edition. Herpetological Circular 39: 1-92
  • Cunningham, John D. 1966. Field Observations on the Thermal Relations of Rattlesnakes. Southwestern Naturalist 11 (1): 140-142 - get paper here
  • Degenhardt, William G.; C. W. Painter, and A. H. Price 1996. Amphibians and reptiles of New Mexico. Univ. New Mexico Press, 431 pp.
  • Dixon, James R. 2000. Amphibians and reptiles of Texas, second edition. Texas A&M University Press, 421 pp.
  • Ferguson, Denzel E.;Payne, K. Ellsworth;Storm, Robert M. 1958. Notes on the herpetology of Baker County, Oregon. Great Basin Naturalist 18 (2): 63-65 - get paper here
  • Gatica-Colima, Ana, Eduardo F. Macias-Rodríguez and Ricardo Paredes-León. 2014. Crotalus viridis viridis (prairie rattlesnake) ectoparasites. Herpetological Review 45 (1): 143-144
  • Hennig, A.S. 2012. Die Reptilienauffangstation München. Ophidia 6 (2): 30-33 - get paper here
  • Holycross, Andrew T.; Thomas G. Anton, Michael E. Douglas, and Darrel R. Frost 2008. The Type Localities of Sistrurus catenatus and Crotalus viridis (Serpentes: Viperidae), with the Unraveling of a Most Unfortunate Tangle of Names. Copeia 2008 (2): 421–424 - get paper here
  • Hoser, R. 2009. A reclassification of the rattlesnakes; species formerly exclusively referred to the genera Crotalus and Sistrurus. Australasian Journal of Herpetology 3: 1-21 - get paper here
  • Klauber, Laurence M. 1938. Notes from a herpetological diary, I. Copeia 1938 (4): 191-197 - get paper here
  • McCranie, J.R. & Wilson, L.D. 1979. Commentary on taxonomic practice in regional herpetological publications: a review of the rattlesnakes with the description of four new subspecies [by HARRIS & SIMMONS 1978]. Herpetological Review 10 (1): 18-21 - get paper here
  • McDiarmid,R.W.; Campbell,J.A. & Touré,T.A. 1999. Snake species of the world. Vol. 1. Herpetologists’ League, 511 pp.
  • Meik, Jesse M and André Pires-daSilva 2009. Evolutionary morphology of the rattlesnake style. BMC Evolutionary Biology 2009, 9:35 - get paper here
  • Olivier, R. 2008. Grote verwarring rond een ‘kleine’ ratelslang: De Hopiratelslang, Crotalus viridis nuntius. Lacerta 66 (1-3): 40-46 - get paper here
  • Platt, S.G. et al. 2006. A herpetofaunal survey of southwestern South Dakota with an emphasis on species of conservation concern. Journal of Kansas Herpetology 20: 10-19 - get paper here
  • Rafinesque, C.S. 1818. Further accounts of discoveries in natural history in the western states. American Month. Mag. Crit. Rev. 4 (1): 41
  • Reber, David L.; Alison Smith Reber 1996. Rattlesnake roundup in Kansas: a brief history. Amphibian and Reptile Conservation 1 (1): 10-14 - get paper here
  • Schmidt, Karl P. 1953. A Checklist of North American Amphibians and Reptiles. 6th ed. American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, Chicago, 280 pp.
  • Stebbins,R.C. 1985. A Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians, 2nd ed. Houghton Mifflin, Boston
  • Tennant, A. & Bartlett, R.D. 2000. Snakes of North America - Eastern and Central Regions. Gulf Publishing, Houston, TX, 588 pp.
  • Wallach, Van; Kenneth L. Williams , Jeff Boundy 2014. Snakes of the World: A Catalogue of Living and Extinct Species. Taylor and Francis, CRC Press, 1237 pp.
  • Weima, André 2013. Giftschlangen verantwortungsvoll pflegen. Terraria Elaphe 2013 (6): 18-23
  • Werler, John E.&; James R. Dixon 2000. Texas Snakes. University of Texas Press, 544 pages
  • Werning, Heiko 2012. Die Reptilien und Amphibien des Südwestens. Draco 13 (50): 18-60 - get paper here
  • Winchell, S. 2007. Klapperschlangen! Die Gattung Crotalus. Reptilia (Münster) 12 (66): 18-25 - get paper here
  • Wüster, W. & Bérnils, R.S. 2011. On the generic classification of the rattlesnakes, with special reference to the Neotropical Crotalus durissus complex (Squamata: Viperidae). ZOOLOGIA 28 (4): 417–419
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