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Sistrurus catenatus (RAFINESQUE, 1818)

IUCN Red List - Sistrurus catenatus - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaViperidae, Crotalinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Massasauga
catenatus: Eastern Massasauga
G: Massasauga, Ketten-Klapperschlange
G: Wüsten-Massasauga [edwardsi] 
SynonymCrotalinus catenatus RAFINESQUE 1818
Crotalus messasaugus KIRTLAND 1838
Crotalophorus consors BAIRD & GIRARD 1853: 12
Sistrurus catenatus — GARMAN 1883
Sistrurus catenatus catenatus — COPE 1900
Sistrurus catenatus catenatus — BURT 1935
Sistrurus catenatus — STEBBINS 1985: 225
Sistrurus catenatus catenatus — CONANT & COLLINS 1991: 231
Sistrurus catenatus — LINER 1994
Sistrurus catenatus — MCDIARMID, CAMPBELL & TOURÉ 1999: 325
Sistrurus catenatus catenatus — CROTHER 2000
Sistrurus catenatus catenatus — TENNANT & BARTLETT 2000: 505
Sistrurus catenatus — HOSER 2009
Sistrurus catenatus — KUBATKO et al. 2011
Sistrurus catenatus catenatus — CROTHER et al. 2012
Sistrurus catenatus — CROTHER et al. 2012
Sistrurus catenatus — WALLACH et al. 2014: 679
Sistrurus messasaugus — WALLACH et al. 2014: 680 
DistributionUSA (NW New York, W Pennsylvania, Ohio, N Indiana, Illinois, E Iowa, S Wisconsin, NE Missouri, Colorado), Canada (S Ontario), Mexico (Nuevo León)

Type locality: “the prairies of the Upper Missouri”. Restricted to “the floodplain of the Missouri River, between the mouth of the Platte River and Nebraska City, Nebraska”. This is considerably further downstream than the previous (unexplained) restriction of the type locality to ‘‘Gross, Boyd County, Nebraska’’ (Smith and Taylor, 1950: 358).  
TypesNeotype: USNM 526, designated by ICZN OPINION 2328 (Crother et al. 2011, 2012). Original type lost (fide HOLYCROSS et al. 2008).
Holotype: lost, originally USNM 512 [Crotalophorus consors] 

The type locality of S. catenatus places it within the range of S. c. tergeminus Say, 1823. Thus, the name S. c. catenatus incontrovertibly applies to the form currently recognized as S. c. tergeminus, which in turn renders the latter as a subjective junior synonym of the former, leaving the eastern form with an unfamiliar name (Crotalus messasaugus Kirtland, 1838). To conserve prevailing usage, HOLYCROSS et al. (2008) are preparing an appeal to the International Commission of Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN) to allow a neotype of Sistrurus catenatus to be designated from the type locality of Crotalus massassaugus (from HOLYCROSS et al. 2008). The ICZN has ruled that tergeminus and catenatus be conserved.

Synonymy: Kubatko et al. 2011 suggested to elevate S. c. catenatus to full species status with another clade formed by edwardsii and tergeminus. However, they do not explicitly propose a name for this clade although tergeminus would have priority.

Illustration: The animal shown in Roggenkamp (2013) is not a Sistrurus catenatus edwardsi but Sistrurus catenatus tergeminus. Juvenile tergeminus have a yellow tail tip. See Niehoff 2013, Terraria Elaphe 2014: (1): 12.

Distribution: Maps: see Kubatko et al. 2011: 395, Powell et al. 2016: 443 
EtymologyProbably named after Latin “catena”, meaning chain (catenatus = chained), after the chain-segment-shaped pattern on the back of the species. 
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