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Drymarchon couperi (HOLBROOK, 1842)

IUCN Red List - Drymarchon couperi - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaColubridae, Colubrinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Eastern Indigo Snake, Gopher Snake, Blue Indigo Snake, Blue Bull Snake
G: Östliche Indigonatter
E: Gulf Coast Indigo Snake [kolpobasileus [kolpobasileus] 
SynonymColuber couperi HOLBROOK 1842: 75
Georgia Couperi — BAIRD & GIRARD 1853: 92 (?)
Spilotes couperii — COPE 1860: 342
Spilotes corais couperii — LÖNNBERG 1894
Compsosoma corais couperii — COPE 1900:858 (part).
Spilotes corais couperi — BROWN 1901 (part)
Drymarchon corais couperi — AMARAL 1929: 330
Drymarchon corais couperi — SMITH 1941: 479
Drymarchon corais couperi — CONANT & COLLINS 1991: 191
Drymarchon couperi — CROTHER 2000: 61
Drymarchon corais couperi — TENNANT & BARTLETT 2000: 340
Drymarchon couperi — WALLACH et al. 2014: 245
Drymarchon kolpobasileus KRYSKO, GRANATOSKY, NUÑEZ & SMITH 2016
Drymarchon corais couperi — SCHÄBERLE 2018 
DistributionUSA (Georgia, Florida, probably South Carolina)

Type locality: "dry pine hills, south of the Alatamaha" , (Altamaha River, Georgia), restricted to "Wayne County, Georgia" by Schmidt (1953).

kolpobasileus: USA (Florida: Sarasota County, S Alabama, SE Mississippi); Type locality: Mill Terrace and Riverwood Avenue, Sarasota, Sarasota County, Florida, USA (27.29291° N, 82.52453° W, datum WGS84).  
TypesHolotype: ANSP 3937
Holotype: UF Herpetology 52751 (Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida); collected by Dennis M. Sargent in August 1981 on. Attacked by domestic dog and brought to Sarasota Jungle Gardens where it died. Paratypes. UF Herpetology 55248, collected by T. Rooks on 6 June 1982 on State Road 24, 1.62 km SW State Road 345, Levy County, Florida (29.225295 N, 82.953708 W); UF-Herpetology 78797, collected by Paul Elliot on 15 November 1988 at the entrance of Upper Hillsborough Wildlife Management Area, Pasco County, Florida (28.35634 N, 82.12638 W); and UF-Herpetology 157096, collected by Joseph A. Wasilewski on 26 October 2006 at SW 204 Street and SW 134 Avenue, Miami, Miami-Dade County, Florida (25.57706 N, 80.40912 W) [kolpobasileus] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Drymarchon couperi is distinguished by a suite of molecular and morphological features, including relatively longer and deeper head dimensions, longer and shallower th infralabials, and longer temporal scales. Overall, the presence of a longer and shallow th infralabial scale provides the best univariate predictor for this species (Table 3; Fig. 5). Based on both DNA (Krysko et al. 2016) and morphology (specimens examined in this study) this species includes populations from southeastern Georgia southward along the Atlantic coast to central peninsular Florida (Krysko et al. 2016).

Diagnosis (kolpobasileus): Drymarchon kolpobasileus sp. nov. is distinguished by a suite of morphological features including relatively shorter and shallower head dimensions, relatively deeper and shorter 7th infralabial scales, and shorter temporal scales (Fig. 5). Overall, the presence of a deep 7th infralabial scale provides the best univariate predictor of D. kolpobasileus sp. nov. (Table 3). Based on both DNA (Krysko et al. 2016) and morphology (specimens examined in this study) this species includes populations from the panhandle of Florida southeastward along the Gulf coast to southern peninsular Florida, including the Florida Keys. 
CommentSynonymy: BOULENGER (1894) synonymzied this species with Drymarchon corais. Gulf coast Populations were described as a new species, D. kolpobasileus, as they are genetically (and slightly morphologically) different from D. couperi. However, D. kolpobasileus was synonymized with D. couperi again by Folt et al. 2019 and Guyer et al. 2019.

Distribution: populations on the gulf coast of Florida and west to Mississippi have been assigned to D. kolpobasileus (Krysko et al. 2016). See map in Krysko et al. 2016: 561 (Fig. 7). Presence in South Carolina based on neighboring states; no vouchered specimens are known (Camper 2019). 
EtymologyNamed after James Hamilton Couper who collected (or provided) the type specimen to Holbrook.

D. kolpobasileus was named after the Greek kolpo (meaning Gulf, referring to the Gulf of Mexico) and Greek basileus (meaning King), used to form the composite noun kolpobasileus (Gulf King), which is applied as a noun in apposition to the generic name Drymarchon. When sea levels were lower during the Pleistocene, D. kolpobasileus sp. nov. was the largest known snake inhabiting the subaerially exposed Florida Platform that extended much further westward than today. This species is still the largest native snake and king of the remaining exposed Florida Platform in the western peninsula and panhandle of Florida. 
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