You are here » home advanced search Sonora semiannulata

Sonora semiannulata BAIRD & GIRARD, 1853

IUCN Red List - Sonora semiannulata - Least Concern, LC

Can you confirm these amateur observations of Sonora semiannulata?

Add your own observation of
Sonora semiannulata »

Find more photos by Google images search: Google images

Higher TaxaColubridae, Colubrinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Ground Snake
S: Culebrilla de Tierra 
SynonymSonora semiannulata BAIRD & GIRARD 1853: 117
Lamprosoma episcopum KENNICOTT in BAIRD 1859
Homalosoma episcopum — JAN 1865
Contia isozona COPE 1866: 304
Contia episcopa torquata COPE 1880: 21
Contia semiannulata — GARMAN 1884: 90
Contia isozona — GARMAN 1884: 92
Contia episcopa — GARMAN 1884: 94
Contia torquatus — BOULENGER 1894: 265
Contia episcopa — MOCQUARD 1899: 319
Contia nuchalis SCHENKEL 1901
Sonora episcopa — STICKEL 1938: 184
Sonora episcopa — FORCE 1928
Sonora semiannulata blanchardi STICKEL 1938: 185
Sonora semiannulata gloydi STICKEL 1938: 186
Sonora miniata miniata STICKEL 1938: 187
Sonora miniata linearis STICKEL 1938: 189 (fide SMITH 1945: 130)
Sonora semiannulata linearis — SMITH 1945: 130
Sonora bancroftae KLAUBER 1943
Sonora bancroftae — SMITH & TAYLOR 1945
Sonora episcopa — SMITH & TAYLOR 1945
Sonora semiannulata blanchardi — SMITH & TAYLOR 1945
Sonora episcopa — WEBB & ORTENBURGER 1953
Sonora episcopa — DOWLING 1959
Sonora semiannulata isozona COPE — BRADLEY & DEACON 1966 ?
Sonora semiannulata — STEBBINS 1985: 212
Sonora semiannulata — CONANT & COLLINS 1991: 214
Sonora semiannulata — LINER 1994
Sonora episcopa —SHINE 1994
Sonora semiannulata — CROTHER 2000
Sonora semiannulata semiannulata — DIXON 2000
Sonora semiannulata — CROTHER et al. 2012
Sonora semiannulata — WALLACH et al. 2014: 681
Sonora (Sonora) semiannulata — COX et al. 2018 
DistributionUSA (W Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Oklahoma, S Colorado, S Kansas, SW Missouri, SE Utah [HR 30: 55], California, Arkansas),
Mexico (Baja California, N Sonora, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Tamaulipas, NW Nuevo Leon, NE Durango)

Type locality: Restricted to the Santa Rita Mountains, Arizona (originally stated "Sonora").

invalid taxa:

bancroftae: Type-locality, "San Jorge, Lower California [Baja California Norte], Mexico."

blanchardi: Texas; Type locality: "northeastern slopes of the Chisos Mountains, Brewster County, Texas."

gloydi: Arizona; Type locality: Grand Canyon, Bright Angel Trail.

isozona: Nevada; Type locality not stated in original description.

mineata: Type locality, "2 miles northwest of Mesa [Maricopa County], Arizona."

linearis: Type locality, "Seeley, Imperial County, California."

nuchalis: Type locality, "Fort Worth (Tex.)."  
TypesHolotype: USNM 2109
Holotype: SDNHM 3077 (formerly L. M. Klauber), female, collected by Mrs. Griffing Bancroft, 10 April 1942 [bancroftae]
Holotype: UMMZ 83122, female, collected by F. N. Blanchard and J. T. Carney, 28 September 1935 [blanchardi]
Holotype: UMMZ 83754, female, collected by William Holzmark, 1936 [gloydi]
Holotype: SDNHM = SDSNH [bancroftae]
Holotype: SDNHM 2013 (formerly L. M. Klauber), female, collected by Chas. McHone, 15 July 1929 [linearis]
Holotype: Chicago Acad. Sci. 5139, female, collected by Earl Sanders, date unknown [miniata]
Holotype: MVZ 13772 (male) [mosaueri]
Holotype: USNM 11417 [Contia isozona] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: This species is distinct from S. cincta, S. fasciata, S. straminea, S. aemula, S. annulata, S. occipitalis and S. palarostris by the lack of rostral or caudal adaptations. Sonora episcopa can be potentially confused with S. semiannulata, S. mosaeri, S. mutabilis and S. michoacanensis. The S. semiannulata species group has been historically difficult to define using morphological characteristics, and in fact it was this lack of clear colour pattern or meristic characters delimiting species that led Frost and VanDevender (1979) and Frost (1983a, 1983b) to synonymize many different species and subspecies into S. semiannulata. However, our genetic data show clear reciprocal monophyly of S. episcopa, S. taylori, S. mosaueri and S. semiannulata. Perhaps the best way to distinguish S. semiannulata from S. episcopa, S. mosaeri, S. mutabilis or S. michoacanensis is by geographic range (see below). Beyond geographic range, the expression of colour pattern in morphs that express black crossbands seems to distinguish S. episcopa and S. semiannulata. Sonora semiannulata generally has rectangular black crossbands, while S. episcopa has ovalshaped saddles. There are no other consistent meristic or qualitative characters that seem to separate these species, despite deep evolutionary divergences (Cox et al. 2018: 969).

Variation: Along with S. episcopa, S. semiannulata is one of the most variable in the genus Sonora. Populations can be polymorphic for the presence or absence of black crossbands, a red, longitudinally oriented dorsal stripe, a single nuchal band, or a black cap on the head. Bands often change in appearance from the head to the tail, becoming broken or absent on the tail and distal surfaces of the body. Ground colour can range from grey, to tan, to brown, to russet or red. Some individuals that are found in west Texas have distinctively grey crossbands, rather than the normal black crossbands (Cox et al. 2018: 969). 
CommentType species: Sonora semiannulata BAIRD & GIRARD 1853 is the type species of the genus Sonora BAIRD & GIRARD 1853.

All species of Sonora possess colour pattern polymorphism, with uniform, striped, banded, bicolour and tricolour morphs known for the different species.

Synonymy: Mostly after Frost 1983. Sonora mosaueri has been considered a synonym of Sonora semiannulata until Cox et al. 2018 revalidated it. 
EtymologyThe name semiannulata is from the Latin meaning "half-ringed," in reference to body cross-bands that fail to cross the venter. 
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Bradley, W. Glen and James E. Deacon 1966. Amphibian and Reptile Records for Southern Nevada. Southwestern Naturalist 11 (1): 132-134 - get paper here
  • Burt, Charles E. 1935. Further records of the ecology and distribution of amphibians and reptiles in the middle west. American Midland Naturalist 16 (3): 311-336 - get paper here
  • Collins, J.T. & Collins, S.L. 2009. A pocket guide to Kansas snakes, 2nd ed. Great Plains Nature Center, Wichita, 69 pp.
  • Collins, J.T. & Collins, S.L. 2010. A pocket guide to Kansas snakes, 3rd ed. Great Plains Nature Center, Wichita, 69 pp.
  • 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.; Alison R. Davis Rabosky, Iris A. Holmes, Jacobo Reyes-Velasco, Corey E. Roelke, Eric N. Smith, Oscar Flores-Villela, Jimmy A. McGuire & Jonathan A. Campbell 2018. Synopsis and taxonomic revision of three genera in the snake tribe Sonorini. Journal of Natural History 52: 945-988 - get paper here
  • Cox, Christian L.; Alison R. Davis Rabosky, Jacobo Reyes-Velasco, Paulino Ponce-Campos, Eric N. Smith, Oscar Flores-Villela & Jonathan A. Campbell 2012. Molecular systematics of the genus Sonora (Squamata: Colubridae) in central and western Mexico. Systematics and Biodiversity 10: 93-108 - 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
  • Curlis, John D. Jr 2017. Evolutionary Linkage of Mimetic and Non-Mimetic Color Traits in a Coral Snake Mimicry Complex. Thesis, Georgia Southern University 1678 - get paper here
  • Davis DR, LaDuc TJ 2018. Amphibians and reptiles of C. E. Miller Ranch and the Sierra Vieja, Chihuahuan Desert, Texas, USA. ZooKeys 735: 97-130 - get paper here
  • Degenhardt, William G.; C. W. Painter, and A. H. Price 1996. Amphibians and reptiles of New Mexico. Univ. New Mexico Press, 431 pp.
  • Dixon, James R. 2000. Amphibians and reptiles of Texas, second edition. Texas A&M University Press, 421 pp.
  • Dowling, Herndon G. 1959. The groundsnake, Sonora episcopa, in Arkansas. Southwestern Naturalist 3: 231-232 - get paper here
  • Force, Edith R. 1928. A Preliminary Checklist of Amphibians and Reptiles of Tulsa County. Proceedings of the Oklahoma Academy of Science 8: - get paper here
  • Frost D R 1983. Sonora semiannulata Baird and Girard. Ground snake. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles ( 333: 1-4 - get paper here
  • Frost, D. R. 1983. The relationships of the ground snakes (genus Sonora) in Baja California, Mexico. Trans. Kansas Acad. Sci. 86: 31-37. - get paper here
  • Frost, D. R., and T. R. Van Devender 1979. The relationship of the groundsnakes Sonora semiannulata and S. episcopa (Serpentes: Colubridae). Occas. Pap. Mus. Zool. Louisiana State Univ. 52: 1-9. - 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
  • Graham, Sean P. and Crystal Kelehear. 2015. Sonora semiannulata (western groundsnake) predation. Herpetological Review 46 (4): 650 - get paper here
  • Heimes, P. 2016. Snakes of Mexico. Chimaira, Frankfurt, 572 pp
  • Heitz, Brendan B., Elyse D. Ellsworth, Nicholas A. Huron, Aaron D. Geheber and Cameron D. Siler. 2015. Geographic Distribution: Sonora semiannulata (western groundsnake). Herpetological Review 46 (4): 577 - get paper here
  • Hibbitts, Toby J. and Connor S. Adams. 2015. Geographic Distribution: Sonora semiannulata (western groundsnake). Herpetological Review 46 (2): 221 - get paper here
  • Hillis, D.M. 1977. An Incident of Death-Feigning in Sonora semiannulata blanchardi Bull. Maryland Herpetol. Soc., 13(2): 116-117. - get paper here
  • HUGHES, BRYAN D. 2022. Geographic distribution: SONORA SEMIANNULATA (Western Groundsnake). USA: ARIZONA: Greenlee Co. Herpetological Review 53(2): 264–265.
  • Hunt, J.D., Clause, A.G. & Flaxington, W. 2017. Geographic Distribution: Sonora semiannulata (Western Groundsnake). Herpetological Review 48 (4): 815 - get paper here
  • Jan, G. 1865. Iconographie générale des ophidiens. 13. Livraison. [Homalosoma mite]. J.B. Bailière et Fils, Paris - get paper here
  • JANTZI, ADRIAN; CHRISTIAN L. COX, DAVIS RABOSKY & ANDREW T. HOLYCROSS. 2021. SONORA SEMIANNULATA (Western Groundsnake). COMBAT. Herpetological Review 52 (2): 434. - get paper here
  • LaDuc, Travis and Christopher J. Bell. 2010. Educating students on the importance of spatial and temporal bias in museum collections: An example using Sonora semiannulata from Texas. Herpetological Review 41 (3): 292-298 - get paper here
  • LaDuc, Travis J.;Johnson, Jerry D. 1994. Sonora semiannulata (ground snake). USA: Texas. Herpetological Review 25 (4): 168 - get paper here
  • Lemos-Espinal JA, Smith GR, Gadsden-Esparza H, Valdez-Lares R, Woolrich-Piña GA 2018. Amphibians and reptiles of the state of Durango, Mexico, with comparisons with adjoining states. ZooKeys 748: 65-87 - get paper here
  • Lemos-Espinal JA, Smith GR, Rorabaugh JC 2019. A conservation checklist of the amphibians and reptiles of Sonora, Mexico, with updated species lists. ZooKeys 829: 131-160 - get paper here
  • Lemos-Espinal, Julio A. (ed.) 2015. Amphibians and Reptiles of the US - Mexico Border States / Anfibios y Reptiles de los Estados de la Frontera México - Estados Unidos. Texas A&M University Press, College Station, Texas. x + 614 pp.; ISBN 978-1-62349-306-6. - get paper here
  • Mata-Silva, V., Johnson, J. D., Barragan, G., Rocha, A., Lukefahr, W. D. & Couvillon, R. O. 2012. Sonora semiannulata (western groundsnake) predation. Herpetological Review 43: 661-662 - get paper here
  • Mehrtens, J.M. 1987. Living snakes of the world in color. Sterling Publ. Co., hic., New York, NY: 480 pp.
  • Mellink, Eric 1996. Geographic Distribution. Sonora semiannulata. Herpetological Review 27 (2): 89 - get paper here
  • Milstead, William W. 1953. Ecological distribution of the lizards of the La Mota Mountain Region of Trans-Pecos Texas. Texas Journal of Science 5 (4): 403-415 - get paper here
  • Mocquard, M.F. 1899. Contribution a la faune herpétologique de la Basse-Californie. Nouv. Arch. Mus. Hist. Natur.Paris, 4th Series, Vol. 1: 297-343 + plates XI-XIII - get paper here
  • Mosauer, Walter 1938. An addition to the reptile fauna of California: Sonora semiannulata. Copeia 1938 (1): 48 - get paper here
  • Murphy, R. W.; Ottley, J. R. 1984. Distribution of amphibians and reptiles on islands in the Gulf of California. Annals of the Carnegie Museum 53 (8): 207-230 - get paper here
  • Navarro-Tiznado, Edith Andrea; Norma Selene González Gutiérrez, Biologa, Jorge Heriberto Valdez Villavicencio, Biologo 2020. SONORA MOSAUERI (SQUAMATA: COLUBRIDAE). Rev. Latinoamer. Herp. 3 (1): 127 - get paper here
  • Nevárez-de-los-Reyes, Manuel, David Lazcano, Elí García-Padilla, Vicente Mata-Silva, Jerry D. Johnson and Larry David Wilson. 2016. The Herpetofauna of Nuevo León, Mexico: Composition, Distribution, and Conservation. Mesoamerican Herpetology 3 (3): 558–638 - get paper here
  • Nussbaum, R.A., Brodie, E.D., Jr., & Storm, R.M. 1983. Amphibians and reptiles of the Pacific Northwest. Univ. Press of Idaho, Moscow 332 pp.
  • Ortenburger, A.I. 1923. The Status of Sonora semiannulata and Sonora episcopa Copeia 120: 79-81. - get paper here
  • O’Shea, M. 2018. The Book of Snakes. Ivy Press / Quarto Publishing, London, - get paper here
  • Persons, Trevor 1999. Geographic distribution. Sonora semiannulata. Herpetological Review 30 (1): 55 - get paper here
  • Pregill, Gregory K.;Berrian, James E. 1984. Type specimens of amphibians and reptiles in the San Diego Natural History Museum. Transactions of the San Diego Society of Natural History 20 (10): 151-164 - get paper here
  • Rabosky, Alison R. Davis; Christian L. Cox and Daniel L. Rabosky 2016. Unlinked Mendelian inheritance of red and black pigmentation in snakes: implications for Batesian mimicry. Evolution, DOI: 10.1111/evo.12902 - get paper here
  • Raslton, G. L., and W. H. Clark 1978. Additional records of the western ground snake Sonora semiannulata, for Idaho. Journal of the Idaho Academy<br />of Science 14(2):35-39
  • Rodríguez-Robles, Javier A., Good, David A., Wake, David B. 2003. Brief History of Herpetology in the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, University of California, Berkeley, with a List of Type Specimens of Recent Amphibians and Reptiles. UC Publications in Zoology, 119 pp. - get paper here
  • Schenkel, E. 1901. Achter Nachtrag zum Katalog der herpetologischen Sammlung des Basler Museums. Verh. naturf. Ges. Basel, 13:142-199. - get paper here
  • Schmidt, D. & Kunz, K. 2005. Ernährung von Schlangen. Natur und Tier Verlag, Münster, 159 pp. - get paper here
  • Smith, Hobart M.;Leonard, Arthur B. 1934. Distributional records of reptiles and amphibians in Oklahoma. American Midland Naturalist 15: 190-196 - get paper here
  • Staedeli, J.H. 1964. Eggs and Young of the Vermillion-Lined Ground Snake Sonora semiannulata linearis Copeia 1964 (3): 581-582. - get paper here
  • Stebbins,R.C. 1985. A Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians, 2nd ed. Houghton Mifflin, Boston
  • Stickel, William H. 1938. The snakes of the genus Sonora in the United States and Lower California. Copeia 1938 (4): 182-190 - get paper here
  • Storm, R.M. 1947. Sonora semiannulata semiannulata in Oregon Copeia 1947 (1): 68. - get paper here
  • Strecker, J. 1934. Notes on Sonora semiannulata Baird and Girard. Copeia, 1934(4), 186-187 - get paper here
  • SULLIVAN, BRIAN K. 2022. SONORA SEMIANNULATA (Western Groundsnake). PREDATION. Herpetological Review 53(3): 520–521.
  • SULLIVAN, BRIAN K. & EVAN S. WAITE. 2021. SONORA SEMIANNULATA (Variable Ground Snake). PREDATION. Herpetological Review 52 (1): 170–171. - get paper here
  • Tanner, Wilmer W. 1985. Snakes of Western Chihuahua. Great Basin Naturalist 45 (4): 615-676 - get paper here
  • Taylor-Young, M. 2011. The Guide to Colorado Reptiles and Amphibians. Fulcrum Publishing, Golden, Colorado, 169 pp.
  • 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.
  • Terán-Juárez, Sergio A., Elí García Padilla, Vicente Mata-Silva, Jerry D. Johnson and Larry David Wilson. 2016. The herpetofauna of Tamaulipas, Mexico: composition, distribution, and conservation status. Mesoamerican Herpetology 3 (1): 43–113 - get paper here
  • Thornton, Okla W., Jr.;Smith, Jerry R. 1993. New county records of amphibians and reptiles from West-Central Texas. Herpetological Review 24 (1): 35-36 - get paper here
  • Turner, D. S., Van Devender, T. R., Hale, S. F., Zach, R., Martínez, R., Van Devender, R. W., ... & Paholski, C. 2022. Amphibians and reptiles of Rancho Las Playitas area, Sonora, Mexico. Sonoran Herpetologist, 35, 50-59 - get paper here
  • Valdez-Lares, R.; R. Muñiz-Martínez; E.Gadsden; G. Aguirre-León; G. Castañeda-Gaytán; R. Gonzalez-Trápaga 2013. Checklist of amphibians and reptiles of the state of Durango, México. Check List 9 (4):714-724 - get paper here
  • Van Denburgh,J. and Slevin,J.R. 1921. A list of the amphibians and reptiles of Nevada, with notes on the species in the collection of the academy. Proc. Cal. Acad. Sci. (4) 11 (2): 27-38 - 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.
  • Webb, Robert G.;Ortenburger, A. I. 1953. Reptiles of the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, Comanche County, Oklahoma. Proceedings of the OKlahoma Academy of Science 34: 87-92 - get paper here
  • Werler, John E. & James R. Dixon 2000. Texas Snakes. University of Texas Press, 544 pages
  • Werning, Heiko 2012. Die Reptilien und Amphibien des Südwestens. Draco 13 (50): 18-60 - get paper here
  • Woodbury, Angus Munn 1928. The reptiles of Zion National Park. Copeia 1928 (166): 14-21 - get paper here
External links  
Is it interesting? Share with others:

Please submit feedback about this entry to the curator