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Lampropeltis ruthveni BLANCHARD, 1920

IUCN Red List - Lampropeltis ruthveni - Near Threatened, NT

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Higher TaxaColubridae, Colubrinae, Lampropeltini, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Ruthvens Kingsnake
G: Ruthvens Königsnatter
S: Culebra Real de Ruthven 
SynonymLampropeltis ruthveni BLANCHARD 1920
Lampropeltis triangulum ruthveni
Lampropeltis ruthveni — LINER 1994
Lampropeltis ruthveni — MATTISON 2007: 30
Lampropeltis ruthveni — WALLACH et al. 2014: 359
Lampropeltis ruthveni — HANSEN & SALMON 2017: 739 
DistributionMexico (Michoacan, Querétaro, Jalisco, Hidalgo, Guanajuato)

Type locality: Poirenaro (= Patzcuaro), Michoacan, Mexico  
TypesHolotype: USNM 46558 (said to be L. t. arcifera by Williams 1978: 187) 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: A moderate-sized (maximum TL = 1,295 mm) species of kingsnake most similar to nearby populations of L. polyzona (formerly L. triangulum arcifera; see Ruane et al., 2014) (Fig. 28). A tricolor pattern, a black head, and often lighter markings on the snout, are present in both species; however, in L. ruthveni the head is broader and distinct from the neck, whereas in L. polyzona the head is only slightly distinct from the neck (Fig. 29). The body of L. ruthveni is relatively more robust compared to the more slender habitus of L. polyzona, and it also differs by a lower number of ventral scales (182–195 vs. 204–222 in nearby L. polyzona). Although these two species have not been found in sympatry, apparently reflecting different habitat and elevation preferences, the range of L. ruthveni largely is circumscribed by that of L. polyzona. [ HANSEN & SALMON 2017: 739] 
CommentHybridization: L. alterna hybridizes with L. ruthveni in captivity (Hornig 2014). However, their ranges do not even closely approach one another in nature.

Distribution: see map in HANSEN & SALMON 2017: 722 (Fig. 17).

Synonymy: Previous authors, e.g. Williams (1978), placed ruthveni in the synonymy of L. triangulum arcifera (Jalisco Milksnake). However, Garstka 1982 and others identified diagnostic morphological characters and demonstrated that ruthveni was indeed a distinct species. 
EtymologyNamed after Alexander Grant Ruthven (1882-1971), American herpetologist. 
  • Augstenová, Barbora; Sofia Mazzoleni, Lukáš Kratochvíl Orcid and Michail Rovatsos 2017. Evolutionary Dynamics of the W Chromosome in Caenophidian Snakes. Genes 2018, 9(1), 5; doi:10.3390/genes9010005 - get paper here
  • Beolens, Bo; Michael Watkins, and Michael Grayson 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA - get paper here
  • Blanchard, Frank N. 1920. Three new snakes of the genus Lampropeltis. Occasional Papers of the Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan (81): 1-10 - 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
  • 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
  • Cruz-Elizalde R, Ramírez-Bautista A, Pineda-López R, Mata-Silva V, DeSantis DL, García-Padilla E, Johnson JD, Rocha A, Fucsko LA, Wilson LD. 2022. The herpetofauna of Querétaro, Mexico: composition, distribution, and conservation status. Amphibian & Reptile Conservation 16(1) [General Section]: 148–192 (e308) - get paper here
  • Dixon, James R. and Julio A. Lemos-Espinal 2010. Amphibians and reptiles of the state of Queretaro, Mexico. Tlalnepantla UNAM, 428 pp.
  • Fernández-Badillo, Leonardo; Norma Leticia Manríquez-Morán; Jesús Martín Castillo-Cerón & Irene Goyenechea 2016. Análisis herpetofaunístico de la zona árida del estado de Hidalgo. Revista Mexicana de Biodiversidad 87: 156–170 - 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
  • Grünwald, Christoph Imre, Nadia Pérez-Rivera, Iván Trinidad Ahumada-Carrillo, Héctor Franz-Chávez and Brandon Thomas La Forest. 2016. New distributional records for the herpetofauna of Mexico. Herpetological Review 47 (1): 85-90 - get paper here
  • Hansen, R. W., and G. T. Salmon. 2017. Distribution analysis, taxonomic updates, and conservation status for the Lampropeltis mexicana group (Serpentes: Colubridae). Mesoamerican Herpetology 4(4): 700–758 - get paper here
  • Hansen, Robert W., Raúl Hernández Arciga and Ronald F. Savage. 2015. Geographic Distribution: Lampropeltis ruthveni (Ruthven's kingsnake). Herpetological Review 46 (4): 574 - get paper here
  • Heimes, P. 2016. Snakes of Mexico. Chimaira, Frankfurt, 572 pp
  • Hilken,G. & Schlepper,R. 1998. Der Lampropeltis mexicana-Komplex (Serpentes: Colubridae): Naturgeschichte und Terrarienhaltung. Salamandra 34 (2): 97-124 - get paper here
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  • Lohrberg, B. 1991. Lampropeltis ruthveni (Blanchard, 1921) - Erfahrungen bei Haltung und Zucht. Sauria 13 (4): 27-30 - get paper here
  • Mattison, Chris 2007. The New Encyclopedia of Snakes. Princeton University Press
  • Roth-Monzón AJ, Mendoza-Hernández AA, Flores-Villela O. 2018. Amphibian and reptile biodiversity in the semi-arid region of the municipality of Nopala de Villagrán, Hidalgo, Mexico. PeerJ 6: e4202 - get paper here
  • Roth-Monzón, Andrea J.; Andrés Alberto Mendoza-Hernández, and Oscar A. Flores-Villela 2011. Lampropeltis ruthveni (Serpentes: Colubridae) from the State of Hidalgo, Mexico. Southwestern Naturalist 56 (3): 430-431. - get paper here
  • Taylor, Edward H. 1939. Some Mexican serpents. Univ. Kansas Sci. Bull. 26 (13): 445-487 - get paper here
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  • 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.
  • Williams, K. L. 1978. Systematics and natural history of the American milk snake Lampropeltis triangulum. Milwaukee Publ. Mus. Contrib. Biol. Geol. No. 2, 258 pp. - get paper here
  • Williams, K. L. 1988. Systematics and natural history of the American milk snake Lampropeltis triangulum. 2nd ed. Milwaukee Publ. Mus. Contrib. Biol. Geol. - get paper here
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