Lampropeltis nigra (YARROW, 1882)
Can you confirm these amateur observations of Lampropeltis nigra?
|Higher Taxa||Colubridae, Colubrinae, Lampropeltini, Serpentes (snakes)|
|Common Names||Black Kingsnake|
|Synonym||Ophibolus getulus niger YARROW 1882: 438|
Lampropeltis getulus nigra — BURT 1935
Lampropeltis getula nigra — CONANT 1938
Lampropeltis getulus niger — SEUFER & JAUCH 1980
Lampropeltis getula niger — CROTHER 2000: 64
Lampropeltis nigra — PYRON & BURBRINK 2009
|Distribution||USA (S Ohio and adjacent West Virginia, south to C Alabama, Kentucky)|
Type Locality: Wheatland, Knox Co. Indiana. Map legend:
- 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 this does not always work properly. We are working on it.
|Types||Holotype: USNM12149, collected by Robert Ridgway.|
|Comment||Etymology: Specific epithet refers to the predominantly black dorsal coloration of many specimens.|
Diagnosis: The Black Kingsnake (L. nigra) is a large- to medium-bodied constrictor with an average adult size of 90–122cm, with larger individuals attaining maximum lengths of 147–183cm (Conant & Collins 1998). Scales are smooth, anal plate single, and individuals typically exhibit 19–25 scale rows at midbody. Ventral scale counts range from 197–222 in both sexes (fewer in the north), while subcaudals range from 45– 59 in males and 37–51 in females (Blaney 1977). The Black Kingsnake can be distinguished from other species in the genus based on a combination of geography and color pattern. The Black Kingsnake ranges from southern Illinois to the Gulf coast along the Mississippi River, and east to the Appalachian mountain and the Alabama River drainage in south Alabama (Fig. 2). Black Kingsnakes all exhibit a black ground color, typically with a black-and-white checkered venter, and rarely faint traces of dorsal crossbands (Blanchard 1921; Blaney 1977; Conant & Collins 1998). Each dorsal scale is punctuated by a yellow or white speckle near the center of the scale; this is strongest in the southern portion of their range and fades considerably in the north, where many adults may be almost completely black (Conant & Collins 1998; Fig. 3). The Black Kingsnake can be distinguished from the morphologically similar Central lineage on the basis of geography, as the Black Kingsnake is only found east of the Mississippi River (Fig. 2) [from PYRON & BURBRINK 2009].