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Lampropeltis alterna (BROWN, 1901)

IUCN Red List - Lampropeltis alterna - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaColubridae, Colubrinae, Lampropeltini, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Grey-banded Kingsnake
G: Graugebänderte Königsnatter
S: Culebra Real Gris 
SynonymOphibolus alternus BROWN 1901
Lampropeltis alterna — STEJNEGER & BARBOUR 1917
Lampropeltis blairi FLURY 1950: 215
Lampropeltis mexicana blairi — GEHLBACH & BAKER 1962
Lampropeltis mexicana blairi — GEHLBACH 1967
Lampropeltis mexicana alterna — GEHLBACH & BAKER 1962
Lampropeltis alterna — CONANT & COLLINS 1991: 212
Lampropeltis alterna — LINER 1994
Lampropeltis alterna alterna — HILKEN & SCHLEPPER 1998: 100
Lampropeltis alterna blairi — HILKEN & SCHLEPPER 1998: 101
Lampropeltis alternata blairi — CROTHER 2000: 63
Lampropeltis alterna — TENNANT & BARTLETT 2000: 444
Lampropeltis alterna — CROTHER et al. 2012
Lampropeltis alterna — WALLACH et al. 2014: 356
Lampropeltis alterna — HANSEN & SALMON 2017: 727 
DistributionMexico (Transpecos, Durango, N Zacatecas, Coahuila, Chihuahua),
USA (Texas, Trans-Pecos).

alterna: USA (SW Texas), Mexico (Chihuahua, Coahuila, W Nuevo Leon, Durango, N Zacatecas); Type locality: "Davis Mountains, Jeff Davis County, Texas."

blairi: USA (SW Texas), Mexico (N Coahuila); Type locality: “8.8 miles west of Dryden, Terrell County, Texas ... on US highway 90”.  
TypesHolotype: ANSP 14977 (female), collected by E. Meyenberg.
Holotype: TNHC 4772 (adult male) [blairi] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: A moderate-sized (maximum TL = 1,467 mm) species of kingsnake most similar to L. greeri and L. leonis, differing from those species by the presence of a silver-gray iris (golden-brown to dark brown in L. greeri, golden-brown in L. leonis), the head noticeably distinct from neck (only slightly so in L. greeri and L. leonis), the eyes prominently protruberant (vs. only slightly so in L. greeri and L. leonis), and by higher ventral scale counts (211–230 vs. 197–204 in L. greeri and 194–212 in L. leonis) (Fig. 18). Additionally, black head cap markings are lacking or indistinct in L. alterna populations from near the range of L. greeri; conversely, such markings are pres- ent in nearly all individuals of L. greeri (Figs. 19–22). [from Hansen & Salmon 2017: 727] 
CommentSynonymy: after GARSTKA 1982 (who also included blairi in the synonymy of alterna).

Variation: the species is quite variable with blairi sometimes being considered as a variant of alterna (e.g. TANZER 1970, BRYSON et al. 2007, Crother et al. 2012).

Illustrations: See Axelsson (2004) for illustrations of the very distinct subspecies (or “color morphs”) of this species.

Hybridization: L. alterna hybridizes with L. ruthveni (Hornig 2014).

Distribution: see map in  HANSEN & SALMON 2017: 722 (Fig. 17). 
  • Axelsson 2005. Natural history and captive management of the Grey-banded kingsnake, Lampropeltis alterna (Brown 1901): A review of the literature. Part 2. Litteratura Serpentium 25 (4): 169-189 - get paper here
  • Axelsson, J. 2004. Lampropeltis alterna. Captive care and reproduction of the Grey-banded Kingsnake. Reptilia (GB) (36): 61-65 - get paper here
  • Axelsson, Jakob 2005. Natural history and captive management of the Grey-banded kingsnake, Lampropeltis alterna (Brown 1901): A review of the literature. Part 1. Litteratura Serpentium 25 (3): 100-126 - get paper here
  • Axelsson, Jakob 2006. Natural history and captive management of the Grey-banded kingsnake, Lampropeltis alterna (Brown 1901): A review of the literature. Part 3. Litteratura Serpentium 26 (1): 8-35 - get paper here
  • Axtell, Ralph W. 1951. An additional specimen of Lampropeltis blairi from Texas. Copeia 1951 (4): 313 + 1 plate - get paper here
  • Blair, R C & Hansen, R W; 2018. Geographic Distribution: Lampropeltis alterna (Gray-banded Kingsnake). Herpetological Review 49 (4): 718 - 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
  • Box, B 2018. Lampropeltis alterna (Gray-banded Kingsnake) Diet. Herpetological Review 49 (2): 343 - get paper here
  • Brown, A.E. 1901. A new species of Ophiobolus from Western Texas. Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philad. 53 (3): 612-613 - 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
  • 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.
  • Crother, B. I. (chair) et al. 2012. Scientific and standard English names of amphibians and reptiles of North America north of Mexico, with comments regarding confidence in our understanding. 7th edition. Herpetological Circular 39: 92 pp.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Flury,A. 1950. A new kingsnake from Trans-Pecos Texas. Copeia 1950 (3): 215-217 - 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
  • Gehlbach, Frederick R. 1967. Lampropeltis mexicana. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles (55): 1-2 - 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
  • Heimes, P. 2016. Snakes of Mexico. Chimaira, Frankfurt, 572 pp
  • Hibbits, T.D.; Salmon, G.T. & Bryson Jr., R.W. 2003. New distributional records for the Gray-banded Kingsnake (Lampropeltis alterna) in Texas. Herpetological Review 34 (4): 393 - get paper here
  • Hilken,G. & Schlepper,R. 1998. Der Lampropeltis mexicana-Komplex (Serpentes: Colubridae): Naturgeschichte und Terrarienhaltung. Salamandra 34 (2): 97-124 - get paper here
  • Hornig, M. 2012. Lampropeltis alterna – Die Graugebänderte Königsnatter. Ophidia 6 (2): 19-24 - get paper here
  • Hornig, Malte 2014. Echte Raritäten: Farbvarianten der Graugebänderten Königsnatter. Draco 16 (57): 74-79 - get paper here
  • Hornig, Malte 2014. Neugestaltung eines Terrariums für Lampropeltis alterna. Draco 16 (56): 52-56 - get paper here
  • Jameson, David H.;Flury, Alvin G. 1949. The reptiles and amphibians of the Sierra Vieja Range of southwestern Texas. Texas Journal of Science 1 (2): 54-77 - get paper here
  • Latella, I. M., T. L. Kennedy and M. J. Ryan 2016. Geographic Distribution: Lampropeltis alterna (Gray-banded Kingsnake). Herpetological Review 47(3): 426-427. - get paper here
  • Lazcano D, Nevárez-de los Reyes M, García-Padilla E, Johnson JD, Mata-Silva V, DeSantis DL, Wilson LD. 2019. The herpetofauna of Coahuila, Mexico: composition, distribution, and conservation status. Amphibian & Reptile Conservation 13(2) [General Section]: 31–94 (e189) - 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
  • Mecham, J.S. & W.W. Milstead 1949. Lampropeltis alterna from Pecos County, Texas Herpetologica 5 (6): 140. - get paper here
  • Mehrtens, J.M. 1987. Living snakes of the world in color. Sterling Publ. Co., hic., New York, NY: 480 pp.
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  • Myers, Edward A.; Robert W. Bryson, Robert W. Hansen, Matthew L. Aardema, David Lazcano, Frank T. Burbrink 2019. Exploring Chihuahuan Desert diversification in the gray-banded kingsnake, Lampropeltis alterna (Serpentes: Colubridae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 131: 211-218 - get paper here
  • Nevárez de los Reyes, M., D. Lazcano, J. Forks, C. A. Alejo Luna and B. Navarro-Velazquez 2017. Notes on the Herpetofauna of Mexico 30: A New Food Item for the Gray-banded Kingsnake, Lampropeltis alterna (A. E. Brown, 1901). Bull. Chicago Herp. Soc. 52: 61 - 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
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