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Pituophis Catenifer?

Discussion in 'Pituophis (Pines, Bulls, Gophers)' started by Knox, Jun 14, 2007.

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  1. Knox

    Knox Elite Member

    I have seen Pituophis Catenifer to refer to both Gophers and Bulls. Is there really a difference, or are they just called different things in diff. locations?

    Would a Great Basin Gopher be the same as a Great Basin Bull?

    Any help would be great. Google is just making the topic more clouded. :confused:
  2. Knox

    Knox Elite Member

    And now I find Pituophis melanoleucus referring to both Pine Snakes and Bull Snakes.

    What the heck?
  3. JMM

    JMM Elite Member

  4. Knox

    Knox Elite Member

    That helps a LOT! Thanks... I was looking for something like this. Even if they HAVE changed a bit, this is great.
  5. Knox

    Knox Elite Member

    Okay, now some pronunciation help.

    Is it pit-u-O'-fis, with the accent on the "O"?

    Or pi-TU'-ofis, with the accent on the "U"?
  6. JMM

    JMM Elite Member

    This is it (if I remember my latin lessons...long time ago...)
  7. Knox

    Knox Elite Member

    I took the easy way out and took Spanish. I can now ask where the bathroom is - and that's about it.

    Oh, and "Lo siento mucho pero no entiendo" = I am very sorry but I don't understand :)
  8. JMM

    JMM Elite Member


    Spanish is easy for us.
    Most of the Portuguese understand Spanish (but not the other way around...)
  9. furryscaly

    furryscaly Elite Member

    Here's the thread Joao was referring to, where I explain the differences between the Pituophis:

    "The Pituophis Page" would have been a great link for explaining it all...about 10 years ago. It's now outdated information.

    Pituophis catenifer is an invalid species, it no longer exists. It's now reduced to a subspecies, P. melanoleucus catenifer. The Great Basin gopher snake is Pituophis melanoleucus deserticola.

    The bullsnake has always either been its own species or its own subspecies within Pituophis. Though just about any Pituophis species is often regarded as a "bullsnake" in the public eye, this is a false statement. There has always been only one bullsnake. Currently the bullsnake is Pituophis melanoleucus sayi. They're found in the Great Plains of central North America, from Canada to Mexico. Neither the west nor east coasts have bullsnakes.

    The best way to remember the current taxonomy is to just remember P. melanoleucus. Whether or not that covers all the pine/gopher snakes (like P. ruthveni, P. deppei, etc) I don't recall, but it covers the ones you'll want to remember. Anything that was formerly P. catenifer is now P. melanoleucus, you just transfer the subspecies name from one to the other (P. catenifer deserticola becomes P. melanoleucus deserticola, and so on). Basically, if you're looking at the old Pituophis Page, take all the P. catenifer and move them to P. melanoleucus. Whether the other species are also moved there is what I can't remember.
  10. Knox

    Knox Elite Member

    Whew... How confusing.

    Thank you for digging that info up. So, my fave, the Great Basin Gopher, is still a Great Basin Gopher, right? LOL!!!!
  11. furryscaly

    furryscaly Elite Member

    Yeah, common names are all still the same. Those have never changed. It's just now a subspecies of P. melanoleucus instead of P. catenifer.
  12. mike_thalman

    mike_thalman Member

    I thought that currently the Bullsnake is Pituophis Catenifer Sayi, and they relegated the melanoleucus for the Pines?
  13. furryscaly

    furryscaly Elite Member

    I'm glad you resurfaced this, because I hate being wrong...especially when it's recorded in an archival manor viewable by the public :p

    In addition to what I said in this thread, this is what I said in the thread I linked to earlier:

    "Pituophis has gone through so many changes, I have a hard time keeping up, lol. The way I think it goes, is that it used to be gopher snakes were mostly various subspecies of P. catenifer, the bullsnake being one of them (P. catenifer sayi). Pine snakes (the other name Lacey was thinking of) were P. melanoleucus.

    From what I understand, most have now been condensed into P. melanoleucus, with the Pacific gopher snake (the former type species of P. catenifer) becoming P. melanoleucus catenifer and the bullsnake becoming P. melanoleucus sayi.

    Lacey gets great basin gopher snakes in her area, which would have formerly been P. catenifer deserticola and are now P. melanoleucus deserticola. Basically there used to be a difference between pine, gopher, and bullsnakes, and though there still is, it's less defined, with all of them now being subspecies of the pine snake. Lacey's area sees no bullsnakes though.

    I could possibly have my research backward too, in which case they all USED to be pine snakes, but are now divided. I think at one point in time the bullsnake was even it's own species, P. sayi, but don't quote me on that. I haven't done any research on the genus since Lacey first took that picture and haven't done any extensive reading on it in years."

    Although the taxonomy was supposed to be the most important part of my post, now that it's been brought back to my attention I think the last paragraph is the most correct information in that whole conversation, lol. I wish I had cited my sources, I'd like to know where I read that they had been condensed back to P. melanoleucus. Odds are it was something that was proposed that was never accepted by the ICZN, or perhaps I was reading papers that were transferred from outdated sources, but given more current dates, leading me to believe it was more recent.

    In any case, you are correct. According to the ICZN, bullsnakes are P. catenifer sayi and my argument that all P. catenifer had been transferred to P. melanoleucus is in fact backward. P. catenifer was actually formed from P. melanoleucus, probably a long time ago too.

    I do know that Pituophis is still likely due for taxonomic changes in the future, but who knows if/when that will actually happen. I know it's also been suggested that sayi be granted species status, but I have no idea if it's warranted.

    And for anyone else reading this that's curious, the ICZN stands for International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature. They're the people that decide what the official scientific name of a species is, essentially. So you can have a large collection of people, including scientists, that believe a taxonomic change should be made (such as switching North American rat snakes from Elaphe to Pantherophis), but if the ICZN reviews the data and decides not to change the name, then officially it's still not changed. Any names used in publication other than the officially recognized one are regarded as "taxonomic suggestions" and not the officially recognized name for the species. This is why finding the correct name can be difficult sometimes, depending on the source of your information and the date it was originally published.

    And on a side note, that whole Pantherophis debate....they're officially still Elaphe (to anyone else reading this that was still confused about that). The ICZN has yet to make a ruling on changing the genus.

    But back on topic, P. catenifer is gopher snakes, P. catenifer sayi is the bullsnake (a type of gopher snake), and P. melanoleucus encompasses the very closely related pine snakes. Whew! I find taxonomy interesting and necessary.....but it's also very confusing sometimes, especially when you can't find reliable sources.
  14. mike_thalman

    mike_thalman Member

    It's is very confusing, with the changes from the ICZN. It is hard to keep up! For example my understanding on Pantherophis, is now that it is used for "new world" Rat Snakes and Elaphe is used for all the others. And to make it worse for example the Black Rat, Patherophis Obsoletus Obsoletus and the other Rats in the U.S. now may be just color variants and now they may change all U.S. Ratsnakes (except the Corn), to just Pantherophis Obsoletus for all of them. I think with all of the new DNA samples coming in, is that they are finding out genetically they are the same (U.S. Rats). I'm not 100% on this, but that is my current understanding at least.
  15. furryscaly

    furryscaly Elite Member

    I don't know about that. I know for a while there was a lot of confusion as to whether the genus was really changed to Pantherophis or not. I found some stuff that basically said that it was proposed to the ICZN, but they never actually decided it should be done, so they're still officially Elaphe. I know a lot of people decided cornsnakes and great plains ratsnakes should be split and given species status, but I'm not sure if the ICZN ever ruled on that either or if it's another popular "taxonomic suggestion". If you an find some sources that claim the ICZN made a decision though, I'd be interested in reading it. For me it doesn't matter if a name should be changed, all that matters is if it ever actually is/was changed.
  16. mike_thalman

    mike_thalman Member

    Check out this site, I'm pretty sure in 05 Pantherophis was recognized as new world: Rat snake - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    But here's a new twist they will be lumping Pantherophis in with Pituophis! Which to me just doesn't make sense. How a Ratsnake can be lumped in with the Gopher/pine/bulls, I don't know. I will pass that info around when I can dig up that crazy tidbit.
  17. mike_thalman

    mike_thalman Member

    It just gets better and better! As we speak the Black Ratsnake is now the Western Ratsnake and it's Genus is Pituophis Obsoletus!, yes they lumped the rats in with the pits as of the present. SSAR will come out with the new list next Jan or Feb of the new taxonomy. However I feel that most people won't go for the new classification. And keep that will be overturned back to the Rats being Pantherophis! Don't you love Herpetology? You most likely won't find this info online yet. But keep your eyes open. I should be getting some additional info in a few weeks.
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