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Pantherophis vulpinus (BAIRD & GIRARD, 1853)

IUCN Red List - Pantherophis vulpinus - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaColubridae, Colubrinae, Lampropeltini, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes) 
Subspecies 
Common NamesE: Eastern Fox Snake
G: Östliche Fuchsnatter 
SynonymScotophis vulpinus BAIRD & GIRARD 1853: 75
Elaphis rubriceps — DUMÉRIL, BIBRON & DUMÉRIL 1854: 270
Elaphis obsoletus var. vulpinus — GARMAN 1884: 56
Coluber vulpinus — BOULENGER 1894: 4
Elaphe vulpina — CONANT 1938
Elaphe gloydi CONANT 1940
Elaphe vulpina gloydi — MUELLER 1980
Elaphe vulpina gloydi — CONANT & STEBBINS 1991: 197
Elaphe gloydi — COLLINS 1991
Elaphe vulpina — CONANT & COLLINS 1991: 196
Elaphe vulpina — SCHULZ 1996: 325
Elaphe gloydi — CROTHER 2000: 61
Elaphe gloydi — TENNANT & BARTLETT 2000: 397
Elaphe vulpina — TENNANT & BARTLETT 2000: 399
Pantherophis vulpinus — UTIGER et al. 2002
Elaphe vulpina — TENNANT 2003: 408
Pantherophis gloydi — SCHMIDT & KUNZ 2005: 85
Pituophis vulpinus — BURBRINK 2007
Mintonius vulpinus — COLLINS & TAGGART 2008
Mintonius vulpinus — COLLINS & TAGGART 2008
Pantherophis vulpinus — PYRON & BURBRINK 2009
Pantherophis gloydi — DEGREGORIO et al. 2011
Mintonius vulpina — SAVIOLA et al. 2012
Pantherophis vulpinus — CROTHER et al. 2012
Pantherophis vulpinus — WALLACH et al. 2014: 530 
DistributionUSA (east of the Mississippi River: Wisconsin, Illinois, E Missouri, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio),
SW Canada (S Ontario)

Type locality: USA: Wisconsin, Racine County, Racine (Baird & Girard, 1853)

Type locality [gloydi]: Little Cedar Point, Jerusalem Township, Lucas County, Ohio.  
Reproductionoviparous 
TypesNeotype: USNM 9969, designated by Conant, from Racine, Wisconsin
Types: Acad. Nat. Sc. Philad. (ANSP) 21650 [gloydi] 
CommentElaphe vulpina gloydi has been synonymized with P. vulpinus by CROTHER et al. 2011.

Hybridization: Pituophis catenifer sayi × Pantherophis vulpinus hybridize in nature.

Type species: Scotophis vulpinus BAIRD & GIRARD 1853 is the type species of the genus Mintonius COLLINS & TAGGART 2008. PYRON & BURBRINK (2009) consider Mintonius as a synonym of Pantherophis.

Diagnosis (Mintonius) = Description: As given for the type species in Baird and Girard (1853: 75-76), but also defined phylogenetically by Burbrink and Lawson (2007). Additionally, Mintonius differs from its most closely related genera (Pantherophis, Pituophis, and Scotophis) by aspects of its scutellation (smooth laterally and keeled on the back [juveniles smooth throughout], 2 postoculars, 1 preocular, 8 supralabials [rarely 7 or 9, and with the 4th and 5th touching the eye], 10-12 infralabials, 23-25 dorsal scale rows at mid body [rarely 27]), and color pattern (reddish-brown to dark brown blotches over a yellowish-grey to yellowish-brown ground color along the body. The head is conspicuously off-colored from the body, ranging from copper-red to light brown. The belly is yellowish overall with well-defined dark (black to brown) rectangular blotches. Mintonius differs further by morphology in having a large stout body, a short tail (15% of total length), a head slightly set off from the body, and a snout that is rounded [from COLLINS & TAGGART 2008].

Diagnosis: Pantherophis vulpinus is diagnosed by the number and size of its dorsal body blotches (33 to 51; mean = 40.9) and smaller sized blotches (3-4 scales in length) while specimens of P. gloydi possess a lower count (28–39; mean = 34.5) and larger blotch size (4–6 scales in length). The number of tail blotches, maximum length, and scale counts have also been noted as minor, yet distinctive characteristics distinguishing the two lineages [CONANT 1940]. 
References
  • Baird, S. F. and C. Girard. 1853. Catalogue of North American Reptiles in the Museum of the Smithsonian Institution. Part 1.-Serpents. Smithsonian Inst., Washington, xvi + 172 pp. - get paper here
  • Boulenger, George A. 1894. Catalogue of the Snakes in the British Museum (Natural History). Volume II., Containing the Conclusion of the Colubridæ Aglyphæ. British Mus. (Nat. Hist.), London, xi, 382 pp. - get paper here
  • Burbrink, Frank T. and Robin Lawson 2007. How and when did Old World ratsnakes disperse into the New World?. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 43 (1): 173-189 - get paper here
  • Collins J T 1991. Viewpoint: a new taxonomic arrangement for some North American amphibians and reptiles. Herpetological Review 22 (2): 42-43 - get paper here
  • Collins, Joseph T. & Travis W. Taggart 2008. An alternative classification of the New World Rat Snakes (genus Pantherophis [Reptilia: Squamata: Colubridae]). Journal of Kansas Herpetology 26: 16-18 - get paper here
  • Conant, R. 1940. A new subspecies of the Fox snake, Elaphe vulpina BAIRD AND GIRARD. Herpetologica 2: 1-14 - get paper here
  • Conant, Roger 1938. The Reptiles of Ohio. American Midland Naturalist 20 (1): 1-200 - 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.
  • Cox, Christian L.; Eugenia S. Farrar, Jane D. Hey, and Matthew C. Morrill 2009. Cover Object Usage Among an Assemblage of Iowa Snakes. Herp. Cons. Biol. 4: 80-84 - get paper here
  • Crother, B. I. 2000. Scientific and standard English names of amphibians and reptiles of North America north of Mexico, with comments regarding confidence in our understanding. Herpetological Circular 29: 1-82
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  • Crother, Brian I.; Mary E. White, Jay M. Savage, Mallory E. Eckstut, Matthew R. Graham and David W. Gardner 2011. A REEVALUATION OF THE STATUS OF THE FOX SNAKES PANTHEROPHIS GLOYDI CONANT AND P. VULPINUS BAIRD AND GIRARD (LEPIDOSAURIA). International Scholarly Research Network Zoology 2011(436049): 1-15
  • Davis, Jackie L. and Darrin M. Welchert. 2013. Pantherophis vulpinus (western fox snake) predation. Herpetological Review 44 (3): 525-526
  • DeGregorio, Brett A.; Brian J. Putman, and Bruce A. Kingsbury 2011. Which Habitat Selection Method is Most Applicable to Snakes? Case Studies of the Eastern Massasauga (Sistrurus catenatus) and Eastern Fox Snake (Pantherophis gloydi). Herp. Cons. Biol. 6 (3) - get paper here
  • Duméril, A.M.C., G. BIBRON & A.H.A. DUMÉRIL 1854. Erpétologie générale ou Histoire Naturelle complète des Reptiles. Vol. 7 (partie 1). Paris, xvi + 780 S. - get paper here
  • Elmberg, J. 1980. Herpetological observations 77-78 [in Vernon county, Wisconsin]. Fältbiologerna Umea.
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  • 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
  • Keogh, J. Scott 1992. The fox snake (Elaphe vulpina): the "other" ratsnake. Vivarium 4 (2): 23-24
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  • Leach, Kayla and Andrew Hoffman. 2015. Geographic Distribution: Pantherophis vulpinus (eastern foxsnake). Herpetological Review 46 (3): 386
  • LeClere, Jeff 1995. Snakes of Minnesota: Western fox snake (Elaphe vulpina vulpina). Newsletter of the Minnesota Herpetological Society 15 (4): 6-7
  • LeClere, Jeffrey B.; Erica P. Hoaglund, Jim Scharosch, Christopher E. Smith, and Tony Gamble 2012. Two Naturally Occurring Intergeneric Hybrid Snakes (Pituophis catenifer sayi × Pantherophis vulpinus; Lampropeltini, Squamata) from the Midwestern United States. Journal of Herpetology 46 (2): 257-262. - get paper here
  • Mueller, B.W. 1980. Die östliche Fuchsnatter (Elaphe vulpina gloydi). Herpetofauna 2 (9): 22-23 - get paper here
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  • Pyron, R.Alexander; Frank T. Burbrink 2009. Neogene diversification and taxonomic stability in the snake tribe Lampropeltini (Serpentes: Colubridae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 52 (2): 524-529 - get paper here
  • Row, Jeffrey R.; Gabriel Blouin-Demers, and Stephen C. Lougheed 2012. Movements and Habitat Use of Eastern Foxsnakes (Pantherophis gloydi) in Two Areas Varying in Size and Fragmentation. Journal of Herpetology 46 (1): 94-99. - get paper here
  • ROW, JEFFREY R.; ZHENGXIN SUN, CHRISTINA CLIFFE and STEPHEN C. LOUGHEED 2008. Isolation and characterization of microsatellite loci for eastern foxsnakes (Elaphe gloydi). Molecular Ecology Resources 8: 965–967
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  • Schmidt, D. & Kunz, K. 2005. Ernährung von Schlangen. Natur und Tier Verlag, Münster, 159 pp. - get paper here
  • Schulz, K. D. 1996. Eine Monographie der Schlangengattung Elaphe Fitzinger. Bushmaster, Berg (CH): 1-460
  • Schulz, Klaus-Dieter 1996. A monograph of the colubrid snakes of the genus Elaphe Fitzinger. Koeltz Scientific Books, 439 pp.
  • Shew, Justin J.; Brian D. Greene, and Francis E. Durbian 2012. Spatial Ecology and Habitat Use of the Western Foxsnake (Pantherophis vulpinus) on Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge (Missouri). Journal of Herpetology 46 (4): 539-548. - 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.
  • Utiger, Urs, Notker Helfenberger, Beat Schätti, Catherine Schmidt, Markus Ruf and Vincent Ziswiler 2002. Molecular systematics and phylogeny of Old World and New World ratsnakes, Elaphe Auct., and related genera (Reptilia, Squamata, Colubridae). Russ. J. Herpetol. 9 (2): 105-124. - 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.
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  • Xuereb, Amanda; Jeffrey R. Row, Ronald J. Brooks, Carrie MacKinnon, and Stephen C. Lougheed 2012. Relation between Parasitism, Stress, and Fitness Correlates of the Eastern Foxsnake (Pantherophis gloydi) in Ontario. Journal of Herpetology 46 (4): 555-561. - get paper here
 
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