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Tantilla nigriceps KENNICOTT, 1860

IUCN Red List - Tantilla nigriceps - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaColubridae, Colubrinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Plains Blackhead Snake
G: Flachland-Schwarzkopfschlange
S: Culebra Cabeza Negra de los Llanos 
SynonymTantilla nigriceps KENNICOTT 1860: 328
Scolecophis fumiceps COPE 1860: 371
Homalocranion praeoculum BOCOURT 1883: 582
Tantilla nigriceps — GARMAN 1884: 88
Tantilla kirnia BLANCHARD 1938 (fide MARX 1958)
Tantilla nigriceps fumiceps — SMITH 1942: 475
Tantilla nigriceps — STEBBINS 1985: 219
Tantilla nigriceps — CONANT & COLLINS 1991: 221
Tantilla nigriceps — LINER 1994
Tantilla nigriceps — LINER 2007
Tantilla nigriceps — WILSON & MATA-SILVA 2014: 42
Tantilla nigriceps — WALLACH et al. 2014: 703 
DistributionUSA (W Colorado, SW Nebraska, Kansas, W Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Wyoming ?),
Mexico (Chihuahua, Durango, Nuevo Leon [HR 30: 114], Tamaulipas, Coahuila)

Elevation: 0-2130 m (WILSON & MATA-SILVA 2014)

fumiceps: USA (Texas); Type locality: 9 miles east of Pleasauton, Atascosa County, Texas.

nigriceps: Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma; adjacent Mexico; Type locality: Indianola to Nueces, Texas, and Fort Bliss, EI Paso Co., Texas, restricted to the latter locality by Smith and Taylor (1950), which restriction, however, is invalid, as no
lectotype has ever been designated (fide Wilson 1999).  
TypesSyntypes: USNM 2046, not USNM 2040, as indicated by Smith and Taylor (1945: 140), collected by Captain Page, and USNM 4491, collected by Dr. S. W. Crawford. These specimens are not currently in the USNM collection (Steve W. Gotte, cited in Wilson 1999).
Holotype: MCZ 46249 [fumiceps] 
CommentDiet: small frogs, very small dead fish, and the occasional centipede.

Synonymy: Wilson 1999 listed T. n. fumiceps as synonym of T. nigriceps.

Distribution: not in Sonora fide Lemos-Espinal et al. 2019. 
EtymologyThe name nigriceps is derived from the Latin words niger, meaning “black, dark, or dusky” and caput, meaning “head,” in reference to the black head cap. 
  • Bateman, Heather L.; Alice Chung-MacCoubrey, Howard L. Snell, and Deborah M. Finch 2009. Abundance and Species Richness of Snakes along the Middle Rio Grande Riparian Forest in New Mexico. Herp. Cons. Biol. 4: 1 - get paper here
  • Blanchard, Frank N. 1938. Snakes of the genus Tantilla in the United States. Zoological Series of Field Museum of Natural History 20 (28): 369-376 - get paper here
  • Chiszar, David; Smith, Hobart M. 1994. Tantilla nigriceps (Plains blackhead snake). USA: Colorado. Herpetological Review 25 (4): 168 - 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.
  • 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.
  • Enderson, Erik F.; Adrian Quijada-Mascareñas; Dale S. Turner; Philip C. Rosen & Robert L. Bezy 2009. The herpetofauna of Sonora, Mexico, with comparisons to adjoining states. Check List 5 (3): 632–672 - 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
  • Giermakowski, J. T. and S. Bauernfeind 2016. Geographic Distribution: Tantilla nigriceps (Plains Black-headed Snake). Herpetological Review 47(3): 429. - get paper here
  • Goldberg, S.R. 2016. Reproduction in the Plains Black-headed Snake, Tantilla nigriceps (Serpentes, Colubridae) from New Mexico. Sonoran Herpetologist 29 (4):49-50. - get paper here
  • Guthrie, J.E. 1926. Food of Tantilla nigriceps Kennicott Copeia 154: 133. - get paper here
  • Heimes, P. 2016. Snakes of Mexico. Chimaira, Frankfurt, 572 pp
  • Hofmann, Erich P.; Rautsaw, Rhett M.; Mason, Andrew J.; Strickland, Jason L.; Parkinson, Christopher L. 2021. Duvernoy’s Gland Transcriptomics of the Plains Black-Headed Snake, Tantilla nigriceps (Squamata, Colubridae): Unearthing the Venom of Small Rear-Fanged Snakes. Toxins 13, no. 5: 336 - get paper here
  • Holman, J.A. 1962. Tantilla nigriceps from Kinney County, Texas Herpetologica 17 (4): 274. - get paper here
  • JOHNSON, HUNTER D.; TIMOTHY WARFEL & JOSHUA WARFEL. 2021. Geographic distribution: TANTILLA NIGRICEPS (Plains Black-headed Snake). USA: COLORADO: Huerfano Co. Herpetological Review 52 (1): 89. - get paper here
  • Kennicott, R. 1860. Descriptions of new species of North American serpents in the museum of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington. Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia 12: 328-338 - get paper here
  • LaDuc, Travis J.;Johnson, Jerry D. 1994. Tantilla nigriceps (Plains blackhead snake). USA: Texas. Herpetological Review 25 (4): 168 - get paper here
  • Lannutti, Dominic I.;LaDuc, Travis; Johnson, Jerry D. 1996. Geographic Distribution. Tantilla nigriceps. Herpetological Review 27 (4): 215 - 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
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  • Smith, Hobart M.;Leonard, Arthur B. 1934. Distributional records of reptiles and amphibians in Oklahoma. American Midland Naturalist 15: 190-196 - get paper here
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