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New Taxonomy on Ratsnakes

Discussion in 'Ratsnakes' started by mike_thalman, Apr 9, 2008.

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  1. mike_thalman

    mike_thalman Member

    Would you believe that they lumped Pantherophis into Pituophis? So technically a black rat is now called the Western Ratsnake and the genus is Pituophis Obsoletus! SSAR will have the new taxonomy data out by Jan or Feb of 09. As of right now you would be hard pressed to find out any info about it. But keep your eyes open. The info should get out before the list is officially published. I would hope! I'm thinking that this current classification will get over-turned. Because personally I just don't see how they can lump Rats in with Pits.

    -Mike Thalman
  2. Brewster320

    Brewster320 Elite Member

    Thats really intresting and shocking but at the same time not so shocking because everyones starting to figure out a lot of the new world colubrids (pine/bull/gopher, ratsnakes, and king/milks) are a lot more closely related to each other than perivously thought. between the DNA testing that can be done now and all the fertile hybrids between the 3 "current" (not the new classification your talking about) genus. honestly i think in general many of the old classification of many snakes may have to be updated or atleast looked into. like for example they have fertile ball python x woma hybrids out there and these snakes are on two seperate contients seperated by the entire indian ocean and evn so they must be much more closely related than perivously thought. this is a very interesting subject and i'm gunna try to look more into it.
  3. mike_thalman

    mike_thalman Member

    With new technology making it possible to do DNA sampling relatively cheaply, I think the new taxonomy report will shock a lot of people! Hopefully info will leak out to be online. I don't want to wait for SSAR to publish the new list in 09!
  4. furryscaly

    furryscaly Elite Member

    For those interested, this topic started near the bottom of this thread:
    I swear there used to be a way to merge individual posts from one thread into another thread, but maybe not. So a link will have to do.

    Actually, I was well aware that Elaphe/Pantherophis was very closely related to Pituophis, as well as Lampropeltis, and that a merger may take place between gopher snakes and rat snakes sometime. However, if it's not been approved by the ICZN then the change is not valid until they've done so, and I won't accept the change until I hear that they have approved it.

    I also didn't see anything in the Wiki article that stated that the ICZN had approved the switch from Elaphe to Pantherophis. Keep in mind that unless the ICZN says it's ok, then it's just a suggestion and it's not official. Also keep in mind that at the bottom of the same Wiki page (Rat snake - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) it reads:

    ..."Rat Snakes that reside on North Captiva Island have been known to be extremely venomous. Ancient Incan Warriors fought this snake to gain status in their society. You are a man if you can beat it out of your house with a broom and a pole. Thanks for your time!"

    So the validity of information in that article could be disputed. Also keep in mind that the Wiki article on corn snakes mentions:

    "In 2002, all North American rat snakes of the genus Elaphe were suggested for reclassification into the genus Pantherophis. However, in 2003 the Herpetological Review rejected the change on the basis that further research was needed. Furthermore, the International Committee for Zoological Nomenclature has not ruled on the change. Taxonomic changes do not become official until they are approved by the ICZN; until such time, any published articles with reclassification of the taxonomic names are regarded as taxonomic suggestions only."

    Now you may be correct that in 2005 they approved the change, but I have yet to see any documentation of it. Not that you're wrong, I'm just saying I have yet to see any proof of it. If both the Elaphe-Pantherophis switch, and the Pantherophis-Pituophis switch were approved and valid, that would be some very recent and very drastic changes that just don't seem likely to be true for such a short period of time.

    If the possibility exists that the switch to Pituophis will be overturned, then wouldn't that mean that it hasn't been approved yet? If the SSAR (Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles) has a research-backed argument that it should be done, I might take their word for it. But it still only means that it should be done, and not that it has been done.

    Personally I don't think the switch would hold either. I'm also curious how Old World rat snakes fit into all this, and New World genera like Bogertrophis. Even if Elaphe was changed to Pantherophis, that only encompasses New World Elaphe, not ALL Elaphe. So would OW Elaphe remain unchanged? And how could NW rat snakes be merged with a different genus like Pituophis without OW rat snakes following suit?

    In any case, I find the topic intriguing and hope you're able to post more on it in the future. But I'd especially like to see something that specifically says the ICZN approved the change. And either way, I like having you around Mike. Nobody else will talk taxonomy with me :p
  5. mike_thalman

    mike_thalman Member

    I'm pretty sure that the ICZN has already did that. If you can find out through them that would be great. I'm supposed to be getting the papers in a week or two regarding that (but I'm not holding my breath). As soon as I do, I will let everyone know. I don't have permission at this time to reveal where I received this info from what I know. Also, if the ICZN has already declared this, I have very good reason to believe and have sources that say it will be overturned, back to Pantherophis. What a mess!
  6. furryscaly

    furryscaly Elite Member

    I think it costs money to use the ICZN's resources. If I wanted to do that every time I had a question pertaining to taxonomy, I'd be a very poor man :p

    So if the ICZN already approved it, then how does it get overturned? I don't understand that process. "Oh, well we changed our minds" just doesn't sound right, lol. Do scientists opposed to the change make an argument on why it shouldn't have happened or something? Then the ICZN reviews their data and says "Ok, you're right. The last guys were wrong."?

    If you're able to with your sources, see if they really approved the change from Elaphe to Pantherophis back in '05 too (or any year really). If the change to Pituophis gets overturned, I'd like to know if I should call them Elaphe or Pantherophis.

    And sorry I keep editing your posts, but when you quote my entire post, your post becomes very unnecessarily large, so I just got rid of the quote.
  7. mike_thalman

    mike_thalman Member

    Here's a link to the proposal part of the Pantherophis to Pituophis and has a whole lot of other info. Alot of info. I don't have the ICZN info.
  8. furryscaly

    furryscaly Elite Member

    :( In the last couple weeks I've noticed I can't get PDF files to work. I don't know how to get them to work, but I'll have to figure it out now. I want to read that!
  9. mike_thalman

    mike_thalman Member

    Still at a loss here if it's official, but here's the link to a little more info re. Burbrink & Lawson
  10. Lou-UK

    Lou-UK Member

    It's a great paper, I don't believe it has yet been accepted by the ICZN yet either, I thought you might like to see this one aswell.

    It's an alternative to the Burbrink and Lawson proposal.
  11. fire2225ems

    fire2225ems Subscribed User Premium Member

    Thread is 7 months old....
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