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Masticophis taeniatus (HALLOWELL, 1852)

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Higher TaxaColubridae, Colubrinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
SubspeciesMasticophis taeniatus girardi (STEJNEGER & BARBOUR 1917)
Masticophis taeniatus taeniatus (HALLOWELL 1852) 
Common NamesE: Striped Whipsnake
girardi: Central Texas Whipsnake
ornatus: Central Texas Whipsnake
taeniatus: Desert Striped Whipsnake
S: Látigo Rayada 
SynonymLeptophis taeniata HALLOWELL 1852
Masticophis taeniatus — BAIRD & GIRARD 1853: 103
Leptophis taeniata — GARMAN 1884: 46
Zamenis taeniatus — MOCQUARD 1899: 324
Coluber taeniatus taeniatus — VAN DENBURGH & SLEVIN 1921
Coluber taeniatus taeniatus — FITCH 1936
Masticophis taeniatus taeniatus — SMITH 1941: 393
Masticophis taeniatus — STEBBINS 1985: 183
Masticophis taeniatus — LINER 1994
Masticophis taeniatus taeniatus — TENNANT & BARTLETT 2000: 317
Coluber taeniatus — UTIGER et al. 2005 (by implication)
Masticophis taeniatus taeniatus — COLLINS & TAGGART 2009
Coluber taeniatus — CROTHER et al. 2012
Masticophis taeniatus — WALLACH et al. 2014: 419
Masticophis taeniatus — O’CONNELL et al. 2017
Masticophis taeniatus — MYERS et al. 2017

Masticophis taeniatus girardi (STEJNEGER & BARBOUR 1917)
Masticophis ornatus BAIRD & GIRARD 1853: 102
Bascanium taeniatum ornatum — COPE 1875: 40
Bascanium taeniatum laterale — YARROW 1875: 543 (part.)
Coluber ornatus — GARMAN 1887: 126
Bascanium ornatum — COPE 1891: 622
Zamenis ornatus — GÜNTHER 1894: 122
Zamenis taeniatus ornatus — BROWN 1901: 57
Bascanion ornatum — BAILEY 1905: 28
Coluber taeniatus girardi STEJNEGER & BARBOUR 1917 (nom. nov.)
Masticophis taeniatus girardi — GLOYD & CONANT 1934
Masticophis taeniatus girardi — SMITH 1941: 393
Masticophis taeniatus ornatus — SCHMIDT & SMITH 1944
Masticophis taeniatus ornatus — JAMESON & FLURY 1949
Masticophis taeniatus ornatus — SMITH & TAYLOR 1945
Coluber taeniatus ornatus — MILSTEAD 1953
Masticophis taeniatus ornatus — VAN DEVENDER & LOWE 1977
Masticophis taeniatus girardi — TANNER 1985: 637
Masticophis taeniatus ornatus — MEHRTENS 1987: 147
Masticophis taeniatus girardi — CONANT & COLLINS 1991: 188
Masticophis taeniatus girardi — CAMP{ER 1996
Masticophis taeniatus ornatus — CROTHER 2000: 66
Masticophis taeniatus girardi — TENNANT & BARTLETT 2000: 319
Masticophis taeniatus girardi — COLLINS & TAGGART 2009
Coluber taeniatus girardi — CROTHER et al. 2012 
DistributionUSA (Oregon, Washington, E California, Nevada, Utah, W Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, S/W Texas),
Mexico (Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, Nuevo Leon, Tamaulipas, Jalisco, Hidalgo, Aguascalientes, Querétaro)

girardi: USA (C Texas, New Mexico); Mexico (Coahuila, Durango, Chihuahua); Type locality: same as ornatus, see comment.

ornatus (invalid): USA (Texas); Type locality: Texas, between Indianola and El Paso.

taeniatus: USA (Oregon, Washington, E California, Nevada, Utah, W Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico). Type locality: "New Mexico west of the Rio Grande;" restricted to Shiprock, San Juan Co., New Mexico, USA (Smith and Taylor, 1950).  
TypesHolotype: USNM 2110, adult male, 547 mm SVL
Holotype: USNM 1971, skin [girardi]
Syntype: ANSP 5366 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: This species is the only Masticophis with 15 dorsal scale rows lacking light dorsal speckling and red pigment at the angle of the jaw (Camper 1996).

Definition. Masticophis taeniatus is a large (to 1349 mm SVL), long-tailed (to 40% TL) species of whipsnake with 15 anterior and midbody scale rows. Posterior scale rows number 9-13. Males have 183-236 ventrals and 1 17-175 subcaudals; females have 187-232 ventralsand 105-178 subcaudals. Two preoculars and 2 postoculars are present in most specimens. Temporals number 6-9 and increase in size posteriorly. Supralabials number 7-9 (mode 8), with supralabials 4 and 5 entering the orbit. Infralabials number 8-11 (mode 9) and increase in size posteriorly. One loreal scale and two scale pits are usually present. The eyes are large with prominent supraorbital ridges. (Camper 1996).

Teeth: Maxillary teeth number 15-23 and increase in size posteriorly. (Camper 1996).

Hemipenis: The hemipenis extends 4-15 subcaudals posterior to the vent. (Camper 1996).

Coloration: Specimens from the northern portion of the range have four olive to brown stripes against a cream ground color. Stripes are centered on each of the first four dorsal scale rows. In southern specimens, the stripes are black and usually fused except where 0-10 transverse gray bands are present. The dorsal coloration (between scale rows 4 on each side) is the same as that of the stripes. The dorsal head scales are edged with cream or white and a light temporal spot is absent. Southern specimens have a light nuchal collar or a pair of light nape blotches. Dark pigment extends down the sides of the head, covering the upper third of the supralabials. The posterior quarter of the venter and the undersurface of the tail are pink. The remainder of the venter is cream, with a pair of indistinctly edged dark stripes along the lateral margins of the ventrals in northern specimens. Southern animals have an almost entirely black venter (Camper 1996).

Definition (girardi). Masticophis t. girardi is a subspecies with transverse light banding and black dorsal and ventral coloration (Camper 1996). 
CommentSubspecies and synonymy: Masticophis (= Coluber) taeniatus schotti (BAIRD & GIRARD 1853) is treated here as full species and Masticophis (Coluber) taeniatus ruthveni has been moved to M. (Coluber) schotti. The status of australis is unclear since some authors consider it as synonym of M. (schotti) ruthveni. CROTHER (2000) doesn’t list M. t. girardi nor M. t. australis (girardi seems to be synonymous to ornatus in his list). Coluber taeniatus ornatus would have been a homonym of Coluber ornatus SHAW 1802 (= Chrysopelea ornata), hence STEJNEGER 7 BARBOUR suggested the nomen novum C. t. girardi. Coluber taeniatus australis SMITH 1941 is not considered as a synonym of C. schotti ruthveni.

The ‘‘juvenile whipsnake’’ illustrated in Stebbins & McGinnis (2012) in the account of Masticophis taeniatus (p. 370) is an adult M. bilineatus.

Type species: Leptophis taeniata HALLOWELL 1852 is the type species of the genus Masticophis BAIRD & GIRARD 1853 (who originall designated Masticophis ornatus BAIRD & GIRARD 1853 as type species). However, Utiger et al. (2005) synonymized Masticophis with Coluber. Myers et al. 2017 suggest to retain Masticophis as it is monophyletic and separated morphologically from Coluber.

Taxonomic history of Masticophis vs. Coluber. Ortenburger (1928) argued that Masticophis and Coluber should remain as separate genera based largely on maxillary tooth numbers, scale-row formulae and patterns of scale-row reduction, as well as hemipenial morphology. Inger and Clark (1943) supported this division based on scale counts and hemipenial morphology; however, Bogert and Oliver (1945) stated that only the single genus Coluber should be used for the group because ‘‘no satisfactory basis for partitioning Coluber has been offered’’. Auffenberg (1955) suggested that Masticophis be placed in the synonymy of Coluber based on scale row reduction, citing scale row counts of M. taeniatus that are the same as those of C. constrictor. Schätti (1986) argued for uniting Masticophis and Coluber because they cannot be easily differentiated based on dentition, vertebral structure (partic- ularly when attempting to refer fossil taxa; Auffenberg, 1963), and hemipenes. Pyron et al. 2013 and Figueroa et al. 2016 have also inferred the paraphyly of Masticophis with respect to C. constrictor. However, Myers et al. 2017 conclude that Coluber and Masticophis, are monophyletic with respect to one another though not with strong support (Myers et al. 2017).

Distribution: see map in Camper 1996. 
EtymologyThe generic name was derived from the Greek words mastyx, meaning "whip" and ophis, meaning "serpent," in reference to the braided appearance of the tail.

The name taeniatus is from the Greek tainia (= ribbon) and -atus (= having) in reference to the striped pattern of these snakes.

M. t. girardi is a patronym honoring Charles Girard, noted 19th century naturalist. 
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