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Lampropeltis pyromelana (COPE, 1866)

IUCN Red List - Lampropeltis pyromelana - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaColubridae, Colubrinae, Lampropeltini, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
SubspeciesLampropeltis pyromelana infralabialis TANNER 1953
Lampropeltis pyromelana pyromelana (COPE 1866) 
Common NamesE: Arizona Mountain Kingsnake, Sonoran Mountain Kingsnake
pyromelana: Arizona Mountain Kingsnake, Huachuca Mountain Kingsnake
infralabialis: Utah Mountain Kingsnake
G: Arizona-Bergkönigsnatter [pyromelana]
G: Chihuahua-Bergkönigsnatter [knoblochi]
G: Utah-Bergkönigsnatter [infralabialis]
G: Huachua-Bergkönigsnatter [woodini] 
SynonymOphibolus pyromelanus COPE 1866: 305
Ophibolus getulus var. pyromelanus — GARMAN 1884: 67
Lampropeltis pyrrhomelaena [sic] — STEJNEGER 1902: 152
Lampropeltis pyrrhomelaena [sic] — BLANCHARD 1920
Lampropeltis pyromelana — STEBBINS 1985: 193
Lampropeltis pyromelana — LINER 1994
Lampropeltis pyromelana — MATTISON 2007: 133
Lampropeltis pyromelana — CROTHER et al. 2012
Lampropeltis pyromelana — WALLACH et al. 2014: 358

Lampropeltis pyromelana pyromelana (COPE 1866)
Ophibolus pyromelanus COPE 1866: 305
Lampropeltis pyromelana pyromelana — CROTHER 2000: 64
Lampropeltis pyromelana pyromelana — CROTHER et al. 2012

Lampropeltis pyromelana infralabialis TANNER 1953
Lampropeltis pyromelana infralabialis — CROTHER 2000: 64
Lampropeltis pyromelana infralabialis — CROTHER et al. 2012
Lampropeltis pyromelana infralabialis — WIRTH 2013 
DistributionUSA (Nevada, Utah, Arizona, SW New Mexico)

infralabialis: USA (Utah); Type locality: Beaver Canyon, "Beaver County, Utah."

woodini: USA (Arizona); Type locality, "Carr Canyon, Huachuca Mountains, Cochise County, Arizona."  
TypesLectotype: USNM 11421, a 632–775 mm male (E. Coues, 1865), designated by Cope (1900: 908). Paralectotype: USNM 7845, a 632-775 mm male (E. Palmer, Aug. 1864), location of other(s) unknown. (see DEGENHARDT et al. 1996: 283)
Holotype: BYU 10340, adult male, collected by R. Liechty in August 1950 [infralabialis] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Snout white, rarely with flecks of black or red; white annuli on body 46 to 85. Distinguished from L. zonata and L. triangulum by its white snout and higher number of white annuli. In zonata and triangulum the snout is black or black with red markings. White annuli are fewer in all triangulum, and only a few zonata attain the minimum number in pyromelana. The distributions of pyromelana and zonata are allopatric (Stebbins, 1966). L. pyromelana and L. triangulum taylori overlap, but are readily distinguished as indicated above, and additionally by the number of ventral scales: 175-198 in triangulum, 213-238 in pyromelana. (Tanner 1983) 
CommentSubspecies: Lampropeltis pyromelana knoblochi TAYLOR 1940 has been elevated to full species status. Crother et al. 2017 listed pyromelana as monotypic, i.e. they consider the subspecies infralabialis as synonym.

Distribution: has been reported from Mexico (NE Sonora, S/W-Chihuahua), but the Mexican populations are probably all knoblochi (Burbrink et al. 2011). L. pyromelana is not included in the Mexican herpetofauna by Heimes 2016.

Similar species: Keogh (1996) could not distinguish among L. pyromelana, L. triangulum, and L. zonata.

Hybridization: KREUTZ (2005) reports hybrids between Elaphe (= Pantherophis) guttata and Lampropeltis getulus californiae, between E. (P.) guttata and L. pyromelana, between E. (P.) guttata and L. triangulum sinaloae/nelsoni, and between E. (P.) guttata and L. zonata! 
EtymologyNamed after the Greek “pyrrh” = flame-colored and “mela” = black.

The subspecies infralabialis refers to a diagnostic scale character;  
  • Bezy, Robert L. and Charles J. Cole 2014. Amphibians and Reptiles of the Madrean Archipelago of Arizona and New Mexico. American Museum Novitates (3810): 1-24 - 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
  • Burbrink, Frank T.; Helen Yao, Matthew Ingrasci, Robert Bryson, Timothy J. Guiher & Sara Ruane 2011. SPECIATION AT THE MOGOLLON RIM IN THE ARIZONA MOUNTAIN KINGSNAKE (LAMPROPELTIS PYROMELANA). Molecular Phylogenetics & Evolution 60: 445-454 - get paper here
  • Cole, Charles J.; Hardy, Laurence M. 2019. Karyotypes of six species of colubrid snakes from the Western Hemisphere, and the 140-million-year-old ancestral karyotype of Serpentes. American Museum novitates, no. 3926 - get paper here
  • Cope, E.D. 1867. On the REPTILIA and BATRACHIA of the Sonoran Province of the Nearctic Region. Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia 18 [1866]: 300-314 - get paper here
  • 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
  • Degenhardt, William G.; C. W. Painter, and A. H. Price 1996. Amphibians and reptiles of New Mexico. Univ. New Mexico Press, 431 pp.
  • Devender, Robert Wayne Van et al. 1992. Reconsider suggested systematic arrangements for some North American amphibians and reptiles. Herpetological Review 23: 10-13 - get paper here
  • Enderson, Erik F.; Thomas R. Van Devender, Robert L. Bezy 2014. Amphibians and reptiles of Yécora, Sonora and the Madrean Tropical Zone of the Sierra Madre Occidental in northwestern Mexico. Check List 10 (4): 913-926 - get paper here
  • Even, Eddy 1995. The 'multi-mammate mouse' as an ideal prey for Lampropeltis pyromelana. Litteratura Serpentium 15 (1): 21-22 - get paper here
  • FLESCH, AARON D.; DON E. SWANN, DALE S. TURNER, AND BRIAN F. POWELL 2010. HERPETOFAUNA OF THE RINCON MOUNTAINS, ARIZONA. Southwestern Naturalist 55(2):240–253 - get paper here
  • Garman, Samuel 1884. The reptiles and batrachians of North America. Mem. Mus. comp. Zool, Cambridge (Massachusetts), 8 (3): xxxiv + 185 pp. [1883] [CNAH reprint 10] - get paper here
  • Goldberg, S.R., C.R. Bursey, A.T. Holycross & C.R. Painter 2007. Physaloptera sp. (Nematoda: Physalopteridae) in the Arizona Mountain Kingsnake, Lampropeltis pyromelana (Serpentes: Colubridae) Bull. Maryland Herpetol. Soc., 43(3): 127-128. - get paper here
  • Goode, M.J. 1995. Microhabitat destruction caused by unethical collectors: effects on reptile abundance in Arizona. Sonoran Herpetologist 8 (4):32-36. - get paper here
  • Hornig, Malte 2013. Haltung und Zucht der Sonora-Bergkönigsnatter Teil 1: Lampropeltis pyromelana (Cope, 1866). Ophidia 7 (2): 12-21 - get paper here
  • Keogh, J. Scott 1996. Evolution of the colubrid snake tribe Lampropeltini: a morphological perspective. Herpetologica 52 (3): 406-416 - get paper here
  • Koenig, H.F. 2004. The Utah Mountain Kingsnake (Lampropeltis pyromelana infralabialis) in Arizona (Tanner, 1953). Sonoran Herpetologist 17 (3):29-30. - get paper here
  • Kreutz, R. 2005. Farb- und Zeichnungsstandard der Kornnatter (Panterhophis guttatus). Kirschner und Seufer Verlag, Keltern-Weiler, 158 pp.
  • Lemos-Espinal, Julio A., David Chiszar, and Hobart M. Smith 2003. Knobloch’s king snake (Lampropeltis pyromelana knoblochi) of Mexico a species. Bull. Maryland Herp. Soc. 39(3):53-58 - get paper here
  • Love, B. 2012. Den Blick fangen. Reptilia (Münster) 17 (97): 20-21 - get paper here
  • Martin, B.E. 1976. Notes on Breeding Behavior in a Captive Pair of Sonora Mountain kingsnakes, (Lampropeltis pyromelana) Bull. Maryland Herpetol. Soc., 12(1): 23-24. - get paper here
  • Mattison, Chris 2007. The New Encyclopedia of Snakes. Princeton University Press
  • O’Shea, M. 2018. The Book of Snakes. Ivy Press / Quarto Publishing, London, - get paper here
  • Price, Andrew H.;Johnson, Dane G. 1978. Lampropeltis pyromelana pyromelana (Arizona Mountain Kingsnake). USA: New Mexico. Herpetological Review 9 (3): 108 - get paper here
  • Schnitzler, R. 1992. Lampropeltis pyromelana (COPE, 1866). Sauria 14 Suppl.: 251–254 - get paper here
  • Stebbins,R.C. 1985. A Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians, 2nd ed. Houghton Mifflin, Boston
  • Tanner, Vasco M. 1929. A distributional list of the amphibians and reptiles of Utah. Copeia 1929 (171): 46-52 - get paper here
  • Tanner, W W 1983. Lampropeltis pyromelana (Cope). Sonoran mountain kingsnake. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles ( 342: 1-2 - get paper here
  • Tanner, W.W. 1953. A study of the taxonomy and phylogeny of Lampropeltis pyromelana (Cope). Great Basin Naturalist. 13 (1-2): 47-66 - get paper here
  • Tanner, Wilmer W. 1985. Snakes of Western Chihuahua. Great Basin Naturalist 45 (4): 615-676 - get paper here
  • Taylor,E.H. 1940. A new Lampropeltis from Western Mexico. Copeia 1940 (4): 253-255 - get paper here
  • Thissen, R. & Hansen, H. 2001. Königsnattern - Lampropeltis. Natur und Tier Verlag (Münster), 172 pp. - get paper here
  • Trutnau, L. 1984. Die Arizona-Königsnatter Lampropeltis pyromelana (COPE) 1866 - ein Schlangenjuwel aus dem westlichen Nordamerika. Herpetofauna 6 (33): 12-19 - get paper here
  • Trutnau, L. 1987. Die Arizona Konigsnatter Lampropeltis pyromelana (Cope) 1866 - ein Schlangenjuwel aus dem westlichen Nordamerika. Litteratura Serpentium 7 (3): 142 - get paper here
  • Wallach, Van; Kenneth L. Williams , Jeff Boundy 2014. Snakes of the World: A Catalogue of Living and Extinct Species. [type catalogue] Taylor and Francis, CRC Press, 1237 pp.
  • Werning, Heiko 2012. Die Reptilien und Amphibien des Südwestens. Draco 13 (50): 18-60 - get paper here
  • Wirth, Michael W 2013. Alle Jahre wieder – Ökologie der Überwinterung von Amphibien und Reptilien. Draco 14 (55): 6-25 - get paper here
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