Spring Break 2023: Pantherophis alleghaniensis (ii)

Pantherophis alleghaniensis, the Eastern rat snake;
Everglades rat snake species variant
Collier county, Florida (12 March 2023).
Spring Break 2023

The second of two posts featuring this fantastic Everglades rat snake. There’s been a lot of debate about New World rat snakes in the past few decades or so, and that’s a debate I largely avoid participating in. I’m not well enough versed in genetics to really have much of an opinion myself. That being said, I’m usually very skeptical of subspecies distinctions, and that’s precisely what some people believe the Everglades rat snakes are — subspecies somewhat distinct from “Yellow rat snakes,” “Gray rat snakes,” and “Black rat snakes.” Personally, I tend to think of these color variations of the Eastern rat snake as just that — phenotypic variations across space. I should probably check in with the research soon. Who knows what data has worked its way into the debate over the past few years!

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