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Lampropeltis alterna (BROWN, 1901)

IUCN Red List - Lampropeltis alterna - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaColubridae, Colubrinae, Lampropeltini, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes) 
Common NamesE: Grey-banded Kingsnake
G: Graugebänderte Königsnatter 
SynonymOphibolus alternus BROWN 1901
Lampropeltis alterna — STEJNEGER & BARBOUR 1917
Lampropeltis blairi FLURY 1950: 215
Lampropeltis mexicana blairi — GEHLBACH & BAKER 1962
Lampropeltis mexicana blairi — GEHLBACH 1967
Lampropeltis mexicana alterna — GEHLBACH & BAKER 1962
Lampropeltis alterna — CONANT & COLLINS 1991: 212
Lampropeltis alterna — LINER 1994
Lampropeltis alternata blairi — CROTHER 2000: 63
Lampropeltis alterna — TENNANT & BARTLETT 2000: 444
Lampropeltis alterna — CROTHER et al. 2012
Lampropeltis alterna — WALLACH et al. 2014: 356 
DistributionMexico (Transpecos, Durango, N Zacatecas, Coahuila),
USA (Texas, Trans-Pecos).

alterna: USA (SW Texas), Mexico (Chihuahua, Coahuila, W Nuevo Leon, Durango, N Zacatecas); Type locality: "Davis Mountains, Jeff Davis County, Texas."

blairi: USA (SW Texas), Mexico (N Coahuila); Type locality: “8.8 miles west of Dryden, Terrell County, Texas ... on US highway 90”. 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.
TypesHolotype: ANSP 14977 (female), collected by E. Meyenberg.
Holotype: Univ. Texas Nat. Hist. Coll. T 4772 
CommentSynonymy: after GARSTKA 1982 (who also included blairi in the synonymy of alterna).

Variation: the species is quite variable with blairi sometimes being considered as a variant of alterna (e.g. TANZER 1970, BRYSON et al. 2007, BOUNDY et al. 2012).

Illustrations: See Axelsson (2004) for illustrations of the very distinct subspecies (or “color morphs”) of this species.

Hybridization: L. alterna hybridizes with L. ruthveni (Hornig 2014). 
  • Axelsson 2005. Natural history and captive management of the Grey-banded kingsnake, Lampropeltis alterna (Brown 1901): A review of the literature. Part 2. Litteratura Serpentium 25 (4): 169-189 - get paper here
  • Axelsson, J. 2004. Lampropeltis alterna. Captive care and reproduction of the Grey-banded Kingsnake. Reptilia (GB) (36): 61-65 - get paper here
  • Axelsson, Jakob 2005. Natural history and captive management of the Grey-banded kingsnake, Lampropeltis alterna (Brown 1901): A review of the literature. Part 1. Litteratura Serpentium 25 (3): 100-126 - get paper here
  • Axelsson, Jakob 2006. Natural history and captive management of the Grey-banded kingsnake, Lampropeltis alterna (Brown 1901): A review of the literature. Part 3. Litteratura Serpentium 26 (1): 8-35 - get paper here
  • Axtell, Ralph W. 1951. An additional specimen of Lampropeltis blairi from Texas. Copeia 1951 (4): 313 + 1 plate - get paper here
  • Blanchard, Frank N. 1920. A synopsis of the king snakes: Genus Lampropeltis Fitzinger. Occasional Papers of the Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan (87): 1-7 - get paper here
  • Brown, A.E. 1901. A new species of Ophiobolus from Western Texas. Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philad. 53 (3): 612-613 - get paper here
  • Bryson Jr., Robert W.; Jennifer Pastorini, Frank T. Burbrink and Michael R.J. Forstner 2007. A phylogeny of the Lampropeltis mexicana complex (Serpentes: Colubridae) based on mitochondrial DNA sequences suggests evidence for species-level polyphyly within Lampropeltis. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 43 (2): 674-684 - get paper here
  • 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
  • Davis DR, LaDuc TJ 2018. Amphibians and reptiles of C. E. Miller Ranch and the Sierra Vieja, Chihuahuan Desert, Texas, USA ZooKeys 735: 97-130 - 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.
  • Flury,A. 1950. A new kingsnake from Trans-Pecos Texas. Copeia 1950 (3): 215-217 - get paper here
  • Garstka,W.R. 1982. Systematics of the mexicana species group of the colubrid genus Lampropeltis, with an hypothesis [of] mimicry. Breviora (466): 1-35 - get paper here
  • Gehlbach, Frederick R. 1967. Lampropeltis mexicana. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles (55): 1-2 - get paper here
  • Heimes, P. 2016. Snakes of Mexico. Chimaira, Frankfurt, 572 pp
  • Hibbits, T.D.; Salmon, G.T. & Bryson Jr., R.W. 2003. New distributional records for the Gray-banded Kingsnake (Lampropeltis alterna) in Texas. Herpetological Review 34 (4): 393 - get paper here
  • Hilken,G. & Schlepper,R. 1998. Der Lampropeltis mexicana-Komplex (Serpentes: Colubridae): Naturgeschichte und Terrarienhaltung. Salamandra 34 (2): 97-124 - get paper here
  • Hornig, M. 2012. Lampropeltis alterna – Die Graugebänderte Königsnatter. Ophidia 6 (2): 19-24 - get paper here
  • Hornig, Malte 2014. Neugestaltung eines Terrariums für Lampropeltis alterna. Draco 16 (56): 52-56 - get paper here
  • Hornig, Malte 2014. Echte Raritäten: Farbvarianten der Graugebänderten Königsnatter. Draco 16 (57): 74-79 - get paper here
  • Latella, I. M., T. L. Kennedy and M. J. Ryan 2016. Geographic Distribution: Lampropeltis alterna (Gray-banded Kingsnake). Herpetological Review 47(3): 426-427.
  • Merker, G. & Merker, W. 2005. Alterna: The Gray-Banded Kingsnake. LM digital, 80 pp.
  • Nevárez de los Reyes, M., D. Lazcano, J. Forks, C. A. Alejo Luna and B. Navarro-Velazquez 2017. Notes on the Herpetofauna of Mexico 30: A New Food Item for the Gray-banded Kingsnake, Lampropeltis alterna (A. E. Brown, 1901). Bull. Chicago Herp. Soc. 52: 61 - get paper here
  • Ruane, Sara; Robert W. Bryson, Jr., R. Alexander Pyron, and Frank T. Burbrink 2014. Coalescent Species Delimitation in Milksnakes (genus Lampropeltis) and Impacts on Phylogenetic Comparative Analyses. Systematic Biology 63 (2): 231-250, doi:10.1093/sysbio/syt099 - get paper here
  • Tanzer, E. C. 1970. Polymorphism in the mexicana complex of kingsnakes, with notes on their natural history. Herpetologica 26 (4): 419-428 - get paper here
  • Tennant, A. 2003. Snakes of North America - Eastern and Central Regions, revised edition. Lone Star Books, 605 pp.
  • Tennant, A. & Bartlett, R.D. 2000. Snakes of North America - Eastern and Central Regions. Gulf Publishing, Houston, TX, 588 pp.
  • Thissen, R. & Hansen, H. 2001. Königsnattern - Lampropeltis. Natur und Tier Verlag (Münster), 172 pp. - get paper here
  • Valdez-Lares, R.; R. Muñiz-Martínez; E.Gadsden; G. Aguirre-León; G. Castañeda-Gaytán; R. Gonzalez-Trápaga 2013. Checklist of amphibians and reptiles of the state of Durango, México. Check List 9 (4):714-724 - get paper here
  • 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.
  • Werler, John E. & James R. Dixon 2000. Texas Snakes. University of Texas Press, 544 pages
  • Worthington, Richard D.;Arvizo, Edward R. 1974. Western records of the Davis Mountains kingsnake, Lampropeltis mexicana alterna. Southwestern Naturalist 19 (3): 329-340 - get paper here
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