Sunday, January 24, 2016

Baird's Rat Snake (Pantherophis bairdi)

An Annotated Bibliography of Baird's Rat Snake
(Pantherophis bairdi)

Compiled by Tom Lott [TEL] - Last updated: 24 January 2016

[These bibliographies and their annotations are an on-going project. I have many comments on papers that I have not yet posted but I will attempt to attend to this task as time allows. Comments proffered in the annotations are strictly my own opinions and should be taken as such. If you wish to comment or supply additional references that I have overlooked, you may contact me via E-mail. To correspond with me, Email me at tomlott[at]thornscrub[dot]com.  Thanks for reading, Tom Lott ]

Axtell, R. W. 1959b. Amphibians and reptiles of the Black Gap Wildlife Management Area, Brewster County, Texas. Southwest. Nat. 4(2): 88-109.  [This species was not found by Axtell's group of 14 graduate students in geology and zoology who spent five weeks in the area during June and July of 1951 at the beginning of the notorious 1950-1956 drought.  Doubtless the drought may have had something to do with this as a number of other species with similar requirements were found there - TEL]

Boulenger, E.G. 1894aCatalogue of the snakes in the British Museum, vol. 2.  London: Taylor and Francis. 

Boundy, J.  1997.  Maximum lengths of North American Snakes.  Bull. Chicago Herpetol. Soc. 29(6): 109-122.  [Cites the maximum length for the species as 1575 mm (62.0 in., fide Brecke et al. 1976, from Val Verde Co., Texas) - TEL]

Bowler, J.K. 1977.   Longevity of reptiles and amphibians in North American collections as of 1 November, 1975.  Herp. Circular/Soc. Stud. Amph. Rept., Lawrence: 1-32.

Brecke, B.J., J.B. Murphy, and W. Seifert. 1976.  An inventory of reproduction and social behavior in captive Baird’s ratsnakes Elaphe obsoleta bairdi (Yarrow).  Herpetologica 32(4):389-95.

Brown, A.E. 1903. Texas reptiles and their faunal relations.  Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia 53: 543-558.  

Brown, B. C. 1950. An annotated check list of the reptiles and amphibians of Texas. Waco: Baylor University Studies.  [Lists only 9 localities in four counties: Bandera (2), Brewster (3), Jeff Davis (3), and Kerr (1).  "The rarest Texan Elaphe has a much broader distribution than has been supposed, but enough specimens are not extant at this time to provide a clear definition of its range.  The relationship of Elaphe bairdi with the other members of the genus and its natural history needs examination."  - TEL]

Burbrink, F. T. 2001.  Systematics of the eastern ratsnake complex (Elaphe obsoleta).   Herpetological Monographs 15: 1-53.  [Regardless of one's opinion of the taxonomic conclusions of this paper and its predecessor (Burbrink, et al. 2000), it is a treasure trove of morphological data that has been run through univariate and multivariate analyses.   In fact, this work, examining 67 morphological characters in 1006 specimens, does a much better job of reinforcing the distinctions between Burbrink's purported western clade (E. obsoleta) and E. bairdi than it does in differentiating between his proposed three new species carved out of the complex. - TEL]

____________, Lawson, R., and J.B. Slowinski. 2000.  Mitochondrial DNA phylogeography of the North American rat snake (Elaphe obsoleta): a critique of the subspecies concept.  Evolution 54: 2107-2114. 

Cochran, D.M. 1961.  Type specimens of reptiles and amphibians in the United States National MuseumBull. U.S. Natl. Mus. 220: 1-291.

Cochran, D.M. and C.J. Goin. 1970The new field book of reptiles and amphibians.  New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons.  Pp. 1-359. 

Conant, R. 1958. A field guide to reptiles and amphibians of the United States and Canada east of the 100th meridian. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co.

________. 1975. A field guide to the reptiles and amphibians: Eastern and central North America. 2nd edition. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co.

________. and J. T. Collins. 1991. A field guide to the reptiles and amphibians: Eastern and central North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co.

________. and J. T. Collins. 1998. A field guide to the reptiles and amphibians: Eastern and central North America. 3rd edition (expanded) Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co.

Cope, E.D. 1891.  A critical review of the characters and variations of the snakes of North AmericaProc. U.S. Natl. Mus. 14: 589-694.  

________. 1900. The crocodilians, lizards, and snakes of North America. Annu. Rept. U.S. Natl. Mus. 1898: 155-1294.

Dearth, R.L. 2004.  Natural history notes: Elaphe bairdi (Baird's rat snake).  Predation. Herpetol. Rev. 35:65-66.  [Although Cliff Swallows (Hirundo pyrrhonota) were previously known to be included in the diet of P. bairdi (Olson 1967), this account provides a detailed description of the methods employed by a large specimen to dangle itself from a cliff some 30 meters above the Frio River at midday in May of 2000 in Real County, Texas.  Six nests (out of ~ 36 active) were investigated by the snake, with their contents (presumably young swallows) consumed - TEL]

Dial, B.E. 1965.  Pattern and coloration in juveniles of two west Texas ElapheHerpetologica 21(1): 75-78.  

Dixon, J. R. 1987. Amphibians and reptiles of Texas. W. L. Moody, Jr., Nat. Hist. Ser. 8. College Station: Texas A&M University Press.

_________. 1993. Supplement to the literature for the Amphibians and reptiles of Texas. 1987. Smithson. Herpetol. Info. Serv. 94: 1-43.

_________. 2000. Amphibians and reptiles of Texas. 2nd Ed. W. L. Moody, Jr., Nat. Hist. Ser. 25. College Station: Texas A&M University Press.  [As Elaphe bairdi.  Provides 46 literature citations for this species. Declares a record from Cameron County to be erroneous.  Provides a county-based distribution map. - TEL]

_________. 2013. Amphibians and reptiles of Texas. 3rd Ed. W. L. Moody, Jr., Nat. Hist. Ser. 25. College Station: Texas A&M University Press.  [As Elaphe (Pantherophis) bairdi.  Provides 51 literature citations for the species.  Ward County is added to the county distribution map and a color photo of a young adult specimen from Crockett County is provided.  I have reviewed this book HERE. - TEL]

Dixon, J.R. and J.E. Werler.  2005.   Texas Snakes: A Field Guide.  Austin: University of Texas Press.   [Pages 130-133, including one color photograph, and a shaded range map depicting the Edwards and Stockton plateau populations as disjunct from those of the Trans-Pecos, which are shown as three isolated groups, the largest of which occupies a swath from the Davis Mountains southward through the Chisos range.  The two smaller disjunct Trans-Pecos populations are shown in Presidio and Ward/ Reeves counties.  These apparent gaps in distribution likely result from the highly conservative approach to distributional records displayed in the earlier work (Werler and Dixon, 2000) from which this map was modified.  Also somewhat controversial is the listing of a 63.5 inch (161 cm) specimen from Bandera County as representing the record size-holder for this species.  While it is almost certain that P. bairdi exceeds 60", this particular specimen (which has been pictured on the internet) appears to be either a hybrid (P. bairdi X obsoleta) or an aberrant example of P. o. lindheimeri, rather than a pure P. bairdi. - TEL]

Dowling, H.G. 1952.  A taxonomic study of the ratsnakes, genus Elaphe Fitzinger.   IV. A checklist of the American forms.  Occas. Pap. Mus. Zool. Univ. Mich. 541: 1-12. 

Ernst, C.H. and E.M. Ernst. 2003Snakes of the United States and Canada.  Washington and London: Smithsonian Books.  Pp. 105-108, includes a John Tashjian color photo and a generalized range map. [A good, thorough summary of the literature on this species that is somewhat marred by the questionable statement, under “Predators and Defense,” that “Pet trade collecting is also a problem, as many individuals fail to adjust to captivity (emphasis mine ) or receive poor care,” which contradicts the experience of most who have actually maintained them.  The range map fails to accurately convey the eastern extent of the range while implying a more contiguous distribution in the Trans-Pecos than is actually the case. – TEL]

Farr, W.L., Lazcano, D., and P.A.L. Murcio. 2009.  New Distributional Records for Amphibians and Reptiles from the State of Tamaulipas, Mexico II.  Herp. Rev. 40(4): 459-467.  - [The authors provide two new localities for P. bairdi (44 km NW Ciudad Victoria, 1200 m elev., and 16.1 km SW Ciudad Victoria, also at 1200 m elev.) in Tamaulipas (the former was collected in 2001, the latter is an AMNH specimen from 1969).  According to the authors, these specimens represent only the second and third confirmed records from Tamaulipas (the previous records were from the Sierra San Carlos [Lawson and Lieb 1990, cited in Schulz 1996]).  Additionally, they mention photographic evidence from Alan Kardon establishing the presence of this species near Las Joyas de Miquihuana at 2900 m in elevation.   Ecological associations recorded were "dry pine-oak and juniper forest" for the localities NW of Cd. Victoria and Miquihuana and "oak forest" for the locality SW of Cd. Victoria.  Morphological characteristics were not noted for these specimens, but presumably they conform to the distinctive color pattern class known amongst hobbyists as "Mexican bairdi," which is probably worthy of subspecific recognition.  The authors conclude their bairdi account with the following: "The localities recorded here, combined with three records from the Sierra San Carlos . . . collectively represent every record of P. bairdi from Tamaulipas known to us.  We suspect that these localities represent the southern limit of the species distribution, but the occurrence of this uncommon and secretive snake cannot be ruled out from high elevation areas supporting pine, oak, and juniper habitats farther south in the municipalities of Bustamante, Palmillas, and Tula." - TEL]

Flores-Villela, O. 1993.  Herpetofauna Mexicana. Annotated list of the species of amphibians and reptiles of Mexico, recent taxonomic changes, and new species.  Carnegie Mus. Nat. Hist. Spec. Publ. 17: 1-73. 

Fraser, J. 1983.   A trip to the "Trans-Pecos."  Kansas Herp. Soc. Newsl. 54: 18-23. 

Garman, S. 1883. The reptiles and batrachians of North America.  Mem. Mus. Comp. Zool. 8(3): 1-185. 

_________. 1884.   The North American reptiles and batrachians.  A list of the species occurring north of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, with references.  Bull. Essex Inst. 16: 3-46. 

Gehlbach, F.R., and J.K. Baker. 1962.  Kingsnakes allied with Lampropeltis mexicana: Taxonomy and natural history.  Copeia 1962(2): 291-300. 

Gloyd, H. K. 1944. Texas snakes. Tex. Geogr. 8: 1-18.

Hawthorne, K. 1972.  Rat Snakes: Genus ElapheHerp (Bull. New York Herp. Soc.), 9(1-2): 11-16.  

Hingley, K.J. 1987.  Snakes of the genus Elaphe, their care and breeding in captivity, part 1.  Snake Keeper 1(1): 4-8. 

__________. 1994.  The keeping of the Baird's Ratsnake.  Reptilian Magazine 2(3): 26-27. 

Jameson, D.L. and A.G. Flury 1949.   The reptiles and amphibians of the Sierra Vieja range of southwestern Texas.  Texas J. Sci. 1(2): 54-79. 

Jester, S.L., C.E. Adams, and J.K. Thomas. 1990.  Commercial trade in Texas nongame wildlife.  College Station: Texas Agricultural Experiment Station.

Lazcano, D., Contreras-Lozano, J.A., Gallardo-Valdez, J., García del Peña, C. and G. Castañeda. 2009.  Notes on Mexican Herpetofauna 11: Herpetological Diversity in Sierra “Cerro de La Silla” (Saddleback Mountain), Nuevo León, Mexico.  Bull. Chicago Herpetol. Soc. 44(2): 21-27.  [Present in the "Cerro de la Silla" natural protected area of Nuevo Leon, Mexico at elevations up to 2300 m. - TEL]

Lawson, R., and C.S. Lieb. 1990.  Variation and hybridization in Elaphe bairdi (Serpemtes: Colubridae).  J. Herpetol. 24(3): 280-292.

Lieb, C.S. 1971.  A study of the variation in Elaphe obsoleta of TexasTASCA 26(1): 3-6.

McCoy, C.J. 1984.  Ecological and zoogeographic relationships of amphibians and reptiles of the Cuatro Cienegas Basin.   J. Arizona-Nevada Acad. Sci. 19(1): 49-59. 

Maxwell, T.C. 2013. Wildlife of the Concho Valley.  College Station: Texas A&M Univ. Press. 292 pp.  [Considered a "marginal" inhabitant of the Concho Basin, mainly from Crockett County, but listed no museum specimens. - TEL]

Mehrtens, J.M. 1987.  Living snakes of the world.  New York: Sterling Publishing Co, Inc. Pp. 1-480. 

Milstead, W.W. 1960a.  Supplementary notes on the herpetofauna of the Stockton Plateau.  Tex. J. Sci.  12(3-4): 228-31.

____________, J.S. Meacham, and H. McClintock. 1950. The amphibians and reptiles of the Stockton Plateau in northern Terrell County, Texas. Tex. J. Sci. 2(4): 543-562. [Reported that two specimens, one active shortly after dawn and another active at about noon, were collected in the live-oak association of Hicks Ranch, which is described as being "along the lower reaches of Independence Creek. . . . where springs provide a constant source of water." The authors further speculated, based on the scalation of these "typically colored" specimens, that bairdi might prove to be a western subspecies of the Elaphe obsoleta complex - TEL]

Minton, S.A. 1959.  Observations on amphibians and reptiles of the Big Bend region of Texas.   Southwest. Nat. 3: 28-54.  [Minton failed to find this species during his almost six month stay there in the first half of 1955, at the tail end of the famous 1950-1956 drought - TEL]

Mulaik, S., and D. Mulaik. 1941bElaphe bairdi from Kerr County, TexasCopeia 1942(1): 263-264.

Olson, R.E. 1967.  Peripheral range extensions and some new records of Texas amphibians and reptiles.  Tex J. Sci. 19(1): 99-106.  Errata: 329.   

_________. 1977.  Evidence for the species status of Baird’s ratsnake.  Tex. J. Sci. 29(1): 79-84. 

Owen, J.G. 1989.  Patterns of herpetofaunal species richness: Relation to temperature, precipitation, and variance in elevation.  J. Biogeogr. 16: 141-150. 

_________ and J.R. Dixon. 1989. An ecogeographic analysis of the herpetofauna of Texas. Southwest Nat. 34(2): 165-180.

Parmley, D. 1986a.  An annotated key to isolated trunk vertebrae of Elaphe (Colubridae) species occurring in Texas.  Tex. J. Sci. 38(1): 41-44.  

Raun, G. G. 1965b. A guide to Texas snakes. Tex. Mem. Mus. Notes 9.  [Treats all "rat snakes" as a group, providing a key only to the species level.  Bairdi is lumped into Elaphe obsoleta, with only the following indication of recognition: "On the Edwards Plateau a variant is found which has a general grayish brown ground color, but lacks dorsal blotches. Each scale is edged with yellow, orange-yellow, or orange."  Not a useful reference. - TEL]

Rhoads, D. 2008The Complete Suboc: A comprehensive guide to the natural history, care, and breeding of the Trans-Pecos Ratsnake.  Lansing, MI: ECO Herpetological Publishing and Distribution.  Pp. x + 291, with many color illustrations.  [A “bonus chapter” (pp. 228-240) covering the other western ratsnakes of North America devotes thirteen pages to P. bairdi, including nineteen color plates and a generalized range map apparently based upon that of Schultz (1996).  Natural history, care, breeding, color and pattern morphs of both Texas and Mexican populations are covered.  Habitat photos are provided for Texas and Mexican populations and local variants are well-illustrated.  The account is slightly skewed toward the Mexican form, which is currently considered more desirable in herpetoculture. – TEL]

Rossi, J.V. and R. Rossi. 1995Snakes of the United States and Canada: Keeping them Healthy in Captivity.  Vol. 2 Western Area.  Malabar, Florida: Krieger Publishing Co.  Pp. 109-110, generalized range map, two small color photos (adult #13, juvenile #14) p. 114[Excellent summary of the maintenance of captives.  The authors consider this species to rank among the easier to keep North American species – TEL]

Schmidt, K.P. 1953. A checklist of North American amphibians and reptiles. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

___________. and D.D. Davis. 1941.  Field book of snakes of the United States and Canada.  New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons.  

___________. and T.F. Smith. 1944.  Amphibians and reptiles of the Big Bend region of Texas.   Field Mus. Nat. Hist. Zool. Ser. 29: 75-96.  ["Three specimens of Elaphe bairdi are available from the Chisos region, two collected by the junior author and one by A. E. Borell, and a fourth specimen was obtained by the junior author from Limpia Canyon, Jeff Davis County. There is no clue to a difference between the Chisos and Davis Mountain specimens. The ventrals and caudals in the two male specimens are 248 and 252, and 92 and 103; and in the two females 244 and 248, and 95 and 85.
      "The coloration differs radically from that described by Yarrow and from Blanchard's diagnosis (Blanchard, 1924, p. 13). The upper parts are dark brown, the venter lighter, clouded with obscure dark markings. Traces of obsolete crossbars can be distinguished only in the smallest specimen (869 mm.); we suspect therefore that the vividly crossbarred pattern of the type is a juvenile character." - TEL]

Schultz, K.D. and H.D. Philippen. 1991.  The systematic-taxonomic position of Elaphe bairdi (Yarrow, 1880).  Litteratura Serpentium 11(6): 138-142. 

Schultz, K.D. 1996A Monograph of the Colubrid Snakes of the Genus Elaphe.  Havlickruv Brod., Czech Republic: Koeltz Scientific Books.  [Pp. 269-272. Includes dorsal and lateral line drawings of the head, an oddly distorted dot locality range map, discussions of the scutellation, distribution, natural history, husbandry and breeding, as well as taxonomic remarks.  Also includes nine color plates, 5 of typically colored individuals from west Texas and 2 each of distinctly colored specimens from Dr. Arroyo and Galeana, Nuevo Leon - TEL] 

Slavens, F.L. and K. Slavens.  1991.  Reptiles and amphibians in captivity, breeding - longevity and inventory.  Seattle: Slaveware.  Pp. 1-505. 

_______________________.  1992.  Reptiles and amphibians in captivity, breeding - longevity and inventory.  Seattle: Slaveware.  Pp. 1-497. 

_______________________.  1993.  Reptiles and amphibians in captivity, breeding - longevity and inventory.  Seattle: 
Slaveware.  Pp. 1-521. 

Smith, H.M. 1938.  Additions to the herpetofauna of Mexico.  Copeia 1938(3): 149-150. 

_________. 1941.  Notes on Mexican snakes of the genus ElapheCopeia 1941(3): 132-136.

_________ and E.D. Brodie, Jr.  1982.   A guide to field identification of the reptiles of North America.   New York: Golden Press.  Pp. 1-240. 

_________ and H.K. Buechner. 1947. The influence of the Balcones Escarpment on the distribution of amphibians and reptiles in Texas. Bull. Chi. Acad. Sci. 8(1): 1-16.

_________ and E.H. Taylor. 1950a. Type localities of Mexican reptiles and amphibians.  Univ. Kans. Sci. Bull. 33: 313-379.

_______________________. 1966.  Herpetology of Mexico.  Annotated checklist and keys to the reptiles and amphibians. 

Somma, L.A. 1989.   Life history notes: Elaphe bairdi (Baird's Rat Snake) - Drinking behavior.  Herp. Review 20(3): 72. 

Stejneger, L. and T. Barbour. 1923. A checklist of North American amphibians and reptiles.  Cambridge: Harvard University Press.  Pp. 1-125. 

________________________. 1943.  A checklist of North American amphibians and reptiles. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. Pp. 1-260. 

Strecker, J.K. 1915.   Reptiles and amphibians of TexasBaylor Univ. Bull. 18(4): 1-82. ["CALLOPELTIS BAIRDI Yarrow.  Baird's Pilot Snake.  The type and only specimen of this species is in the National Museum Collection.  It was collected at Fort Davis, Jeff Davis County." - TEL]

___________. 1928e.  Common English and folk names for Texas amphibians and reptiles.  Contr. Baylor Univ.Mus. 16:1-21.

Tennant, A. 1984. The snakes of Texas. Austin: Texas Monthly Press.

_________. 1985. A field guide to Texas snakes. Austin: Texas Monthly Press

_________. 1998. A field guide to Texas snakes. 2nd edition. Houston: Gulf Publishing.

Utiger, U., N. Helfenberger, B. Schatti, C. Schmidt, M. Ruf, and V. Ziswiler. 2002. Molecular systematics and phylogeny of Old World and New World ratsnakes, Elaphe auct., and related species (Reptilia, Squamata, Colubridae).  Russ. J. Herpetol. 9(2):105-124.

Vandeweege, M.W., Rodriguez, D., Weaver, J.P., Hibbetts, T.D., Forstner, M.R.J., and L.D. Densmore, III. 2012.  Evidence of hybridization between Elaphe bairdi and Elaphe obsoleta lindheimeri including comparative population genetics inferred from microsatellites and mitochondrial DNA.  J. Herpetol. 46(1): 56-63.

Vermersch, T.G. and R.E. Kuntz. 1986. Snakes of South Central Texas. Eakin Press, Austin, Texas.

Ward, R., E.G. Zimmerman, and T.L. King. 1990.  Multivariate analyses of terrestrial reptile distribution in Texas: An alternative view.  Southwest. Nat. 35(4): 441-445.

Wauer, R.H. 1980Naturalist’s Big Bend.  An introduction to the trees and shrubs, wildflowers, cacti, mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians, fish, and insects.  College Station: Texas A&M University Press. 

Webb, R.G. 1960.   Notes on some amphibians and reptiles from northern Mexico.  Trans. Kansas Acad. Sci. 63(4): 289-298. 

Weir, J. 1991.   Baird's Ratsnake, Elaphe bairdiHerptile 16(1): 40-46.  

Werler, J.E. and J.R. Dixon. 2000.  Texas Snakes: Identification, Distribution and Natural History.  Austin: University of Texas Press

Worthington, R.D. 1976.  Herpetofauna of the Franklin Mountains, El Paso County, Texas.  In El Paso Geological Society symposium on the Franklin Mountains, ed. D.V. Lemone and E.M.P. Lovejoy, 205-212.  El Paso: El Paso Geological Society Quinn Memorial Volume.

Wright, A. H. 1935.   Some rare amphibians and reptiles of the United StatesProc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 21(6):  340-345.  

___________ and A. A. Wright. 1952. List of the snakes of the United States and Canada by states and provinces. Am. Midl. Nat. 48(3): 574-603.

__________________________. 1957. Handbook of snakes of the United States and Canada. Ithaca, N. Y.: Comstock Publishing Co.

Yarrow, H.C. 1880.   Coluber bairdi sp. nov.  In: Cope, E.D.: On the zoological position of Texas, No.17.  Washington: U.S. Nat. Mus. Bull. Pp. 41.  

__________. 1882.  Checklist of North American Reptilia and Batrachia with catalogue of specimens in the U.S. National Museum.  Bull. U.S. Natl. Mus. 24: 1-249.  

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