Arizona elegans - Kennicott, 1859
Glossy Snake
Other English Common Names: glossy snake
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Arizona elegans Kennicott in Baird, 1859 (TSN 174202)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.104460
Element Code: ARADB01010
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Reptiles - Snakes
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Reptilia Squamata Colubridae Arizona
Genus Size: A - Monotypic genus
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Collins, J. T. 1990. Standard common and current scientific names for North American amphibians and reptiles. 3rd ed. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles. Herpetological Circular No. 19. 41 pp.
Concept Reference Code: B90COL01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Arizona elegans
Taxonomic Comments: Subspecies occidentalis was proposed as a distinct species by Collins (1991), but no supporting data were presented. Crother et al. (2000, 2003, 2008) and Stebbins (2003) did not adopt this proposed change.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 01Sep2005
Global Status Last Changed: 29Oct1996
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Nation: United States
National Status: N5 (05Oct1996)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States Arizona (S5), California (SNR), Colorado (S3S4), Kansas (S4), Navajo Nation (S4), Nebraska (S1), Nevada (S4), New Mexico (S5), Oklahoma (S3), Texas (S5), Utah (S3)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: 200,000-2,500,000 square km (about 80,000-1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: The range extends from central California, southern Nevada, southern Utah, southwestern and eastern Colorado, and southern Nebraska south through southern California, Arizona, New Mexico, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas to southern Baja California, Sinaloa, and San Luis Potosi, at elevation from below sea level in desert sinks to around 2,200 meters (7,220 feet) (Stebbins 2003).

Number of Occurrences:  
Number of Occurrences Comments: This species is represented by hundreds of occurrences or subpopulations (e.g., see maps in Dixon and Fleet 1976, Degenhardt et al. 1996, Hammerson 1999, Werler and Dixon 2000).

Population Size: 100,000 - 1,000,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: Total adult population size is unknown but undoubtedly exceeds 100,000.

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Many (41-125)

Overall Threat Impact: Medium
Overall Threat Impact Comments: Intensive agricultural development and urbanization probably have eliminated or reduced some populations, but in most areas this species does not appear to be very threatened at the present time.

Short-term Trend: Relatively Stable (<=10% change)
Short-term Trend Comments: Currently, extent of occurrence, area of occupancy, number of subpopulations, and population size probably are relatively stable or slowly declining.

Long-term Trend: Decline of <30% to increase of 25%
Long-term Trend Comments: A perhaps substantial decline may have occurred during historical periods of large expansion of intensive cultivation (Hammerson 1999).

Intrinsic Vulnerability: Moderately vulnerable

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: (200,000-2,500,000 square km (about 80,000-1,000,000 square miles)) The range extends from central California, southern Nevada, southern Utah, southwestern and eastern Colorado, and southern Nebraska south through southern California, Arizona, New Mexico, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas to southern Baja California, Sinaloa, and San Luis Potosi, at elevation from below sea level in desert sinks to around 2,200 meters (7,220 feet) (Stebbins 2003).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AZ, CA, CO, KS, NE, NM, NN, NV, OK, TX, UT

Range Map
Note: Range depicted for New World only. The scale of the maps may cause narrow coastal ranges or ranges on small islands not to appear. Not all vagrant or small disjunct occurrences are depicted. For migratory birds, some individuals occur outside of the passage migrant range depicted.

Range Map Compilers: NatureServe, 2005


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
KS Barber (20007)*, Cheyenne (20023), Comanche (20033), Finney (20055), Ford (20057)*, Gove (20063), Hamilton (20075), Harper (20077), Harvey (20079), Haskell (20081), Kearny (20093)*, Kiowa (20097), Meade (20119), Morton (20129), Pratt (20151)*, Reno (20155)*, Rice (20159)*, Seward (20175), Stafford (20185)*, Stevens (20189), Sumner (20191), Thomas (20193)
NE Dundy (31057), Hitchcock (31087)*, Thomas (31171)
UT Kane (49025), San Juan (49037), Washington (49053)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
10 Dismal (10210002)+, North Fork Republican (10250002)+, South Fork Republican (10250003)+, Upper Republican (10250004)+*, North Fork Smoky Hill (10260002)+, Upper Smoky Hill (10260003)+, Upper Saline (10260009)+
11 Middle Arkansas-Lake Mckinney (11030001)+, Coon-Pickerel (11030004)+*, Rattlesnake (11030009)+*, Gar-Peace (11030010)+*, Cow (11030011)+*, Little Arkansas (11030012)+, Middle Arkansas-Slate (11030013)+, North Fork Ninnescah (11030014)+*, South Fork Ninnescah (11030015)+*, Upper Cimarron (11040002)+, Upper Cimarron-Liberal (11040006)+, Crooked (11040007)+, Upper Cimarron-Bluff (11040008)+*, Upper Salt Fork Arkansas (11060002)+, Medicine Lodge (11060003)+, Lower Salt Fork Arkansas (11060004)+, Chikaskia (11060005)+
14 Upper Lake Powell (14070001)+, Lower Lake Powell (14070006)+, Paria (14070007)+, Lower San Juan-Four Corners (14080201)+, Chinle (14080204)+*, Lower San Juan (14080205)+
15 Kanab (15010003)+*, Upper Virgin (15010008)+, Fort Pierce Wash (15010009)+, Lower Virgin (15010010)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Reproduction Comments: Lays clutch of 2-23 (usually 12 or fewer, average around 8) eggs in summer (apparently in June in California and New Mexico) (Fitch 1970, Goldberg 2000). Eggs hatch in late summer or early fall. Not all adult females are reproductive every year; perhaps female reproduction is biennial at most.
Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Palustrine Habitat(s): Riparian
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Desert, Grassland/herbaceous, Savanna, Shrubland/chaparral, Woodland - Hardwood
Special Habitat Factors: Burrowing in or using soil
Habitat Comments: The varied habitats include barren to sparse shrubby desert, sagebrush flats, grassland, sandhills, coastal scrub, chaparral slopes, and sometimes oak-hickory woodland, generally in open areas with sandy or loamy soil, though rocks may be present (Degenhardt et al. 1996, Hammerson 1999, Grismer 2002, Stebbins 2003). This snake takes shelter and lays its eggs underground.
Adult Food Habits: Carnivore
Immature Food Habits: Carnivore
Food Comments: Eats mainly lizards, also small mammals and snakes (Stebbins 1985).
Adult Phenology: Crepuscular, Hibernates/aestivates, Nocturnal
Immature Phenology: Crepuscular, Hibernates/aestivates, Nocturnal
Phenology Comments: Active April-October in north (Collins 1982), March-October in Texas (Tennant 1984). Primarily nocturnal but sometimes active during day (Stebbins 1985).
Length: 178 centimeters
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Group Name: Medium And Large Colubrid Snakes

Use Class: Not applicable
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Occurrences are based on evidence of historical presence, or current and likely recurring presence, at a given location. Such evidence minimally includes collection or reliable observation and documentation of one or more individuals (including eggs) in or near appropriate habitat where the species is presumed to be established and breeding.
Separation Barriers: Busy highway or highway with obstructions such that snakes rarely if ever cross successfully; major river, lake, pond, or deep marsh (this barrier pertains only to upland species and does not apply to aquatic or wetland snakes); densely urbanized area dominated by buildings and pavement.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 1 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Justification: Available information on movements of colubrid snakes is limited to a small minority of species. These data indicate that nearly all species have home ranges smaller or much smaller than 25 ha (e.g., less than 3 ha, Pituophis catenifer in California, Rodriguez-Robles 2003), with some up to about 75 ha (Heterodon platirhinos, average 50 ha, Plummer and Mills 2000), and the largest up to 225 ha in the biggest colubrids (Drymarchon, summer mean 50-100 ha, USFWS 1998).

Radiotelemetry data for Pantherophis indicate that residents of hibernacula that are 1-2 km apart (with suitable intervening habitat) probably interbreed (Prior et al. 1997, Blouin-Demers and Weatherhead 2002). However, "evidence of genetic structure even over short distances (e.g., 2-20 km) implies that gene flow among rat snake populations can be easily disrupted" (Prior et al. 1997). Loughheed et al. (1999) found evidence of substantial genetic exchange among local hibernacula (< 6 km apart), but gene flow over distances of 10s of km appears to be substantially less. Based on extensive radio-tracking data, Blouin-Demers and Weatherhead (2002) found that home range size of Pantherophis averaged 18.5 ha and ranged up to 93 ha; based on the most mobile individuals, Pantherophis from hibernacula up to 8 km apart can come together for mating. Pantherophis and probably other colubrids exhibit high fidelity to hibernacula and shift even to nearby sites only rarely (Prior et al. 2001).

Many of the several studies that report small home ranges for colubrids did not employ methods (e.g., radio telemetry) suitable for detecting full annual or multi-annual home range size, dispersal, or other long-distance movements, so these may have yielded underestimates of home ranges or activity areas.

At least some colubrids, including medium-sized species such as garter snakes, not uncommonly move between areas up to a few kilometers apart, and several species make extensive movements of up to several kilometers, so separation distances of 1-2 km for suitable habitat are too small for medium-sized and large colubrids.

A separation distance of 10 km for suitable habitat was selected as most appropriate for snakes assigned to this Specs Group because it seems generally unlikely that two locations separated by less than 10 km of suitable habitat would represent distinct occurrences.

For the purposes of these occurrence specifications, upland habitat is regarded as unsuitable habitat for aquatic and wetland snakes. For upland snakes, shallow or patchy wetlands are treated as unsuitable habitat whereas large deepwater habitats (subjective determination) are barriers.

Inferred Minimum Extent of Habitat Use (when actual extent is unknown): .5 km
Date: 12Feb2013
Author: Hammerson, G.
Notes: Separation distance for suitable habitat was changed from 5 km to 10 km based on comments from Dale Jackson (12 Feb 2013).
Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 01Sep2005
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Hammerson, G.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 01Sep2005
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
Help
  • Bartlett, R. D., and P. P. Bartlett. 1999a. A field guide to Texas reptiles & amphibians. Gulf Publishing Company, Houston, Texas. xviii + 331 pp.

  • Behler, J. L., and F. W. King. 1979. The Audubon Society field guide to North American reptiles and amphibians. Alfred A. Knopf, New York. 719 pp.

  • Collins, J. T. 1982. Amphibians and reptiles in Kansas. Second edition. Univ. Kansas Mus. Nat. Hist., Pub. Ed. Ser. 8. xiii + 356 pp.

  • Collins, J. T. 1990. Standard common and current scientific names for North American amphibians and reptiles. 3rd ed. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles. Herpetological Circular No. 19. 41 pp.

  • Collins, J. T. 1991. Viewpoint: a new taxonomic arrangement for some North American amphibians and reptiles. SSAR Herpetol. Review 22:42-43.

  • Crother, B. I. (editor). 2008. Scientific and standard English names of amphibians and reptiles of North America north of Mexico, with comments regarding confidence in our understanding. Sixth edition. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles Herpetological Circular 37:1-84. Online with updates at: http://www.ssarherps.org/pages/comm_names/Index.php

  • Crother, B. I. (editor). 2012. Scientific and standard English names of amphibians and reptiles of North America north of Mexico, with comments regarding confidence in our understanding. 7th edition. SSAR Herpetological Circular 39:1-92.

  • Crother, B. I., J. Boundy, J. A. Campbell, K. de Queiroz, D. R. Frost, R. Highton, J. B. Iverson, P. A. Meylan, T. W. Reeder, M. E. Seidel, J. W. Sites, Jr., T. W. Taggart, S. G. Tilley, and D. B. Wake. 2000 [2001]. Scientific and standard English names of amphibians and reptiles of North America north of Mexico, with comments regarding confidence in our understanding. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, Herpetological Circular No. 29. 82 pp.

  • Crother, B. I., J. Boundy, J. A. Campbell, K. de Quieroz, D. Frost, D. M. Green, R. Highton, J. B. Iverson, R. W. McDiarmid, P. A. Meylan, T. W. Reeder, M. E. Seidel, J. W. Sites, Jr., S. G. Tilley, and D. B. Wake. 2003. Scientific and standard English names of amphibians and reptiles of North America north of Mexico: update. Herpetological Review 34:198-203.

  • Degenhardt, W. G., C. W. Painter, and A. H. Price. 1996. Amphibians and reptiles of New Mexico. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque. xix + 431 pp.

  • Dixon, J. R., and R. R. Fleet. 1976. Arizona, A. elegans. Cat. Am. Amph. Rep. 179.1-179.4.

  • Dowling, H. G. 1993. Viewpoint: a reply to Collins (1991, 1992). Herpetol. Rev. 24:11-13.

  • Fitch, H. S. 1970. Reproductive cycles of lizards and snakes. Univ. Kansas Museum Natural History Miscellaneous Publication 52:1-247.

  • Goldberg, S. R. 2000. Reproduction in the glossy snake, Arizona elegans (Serpentes: Colubridae) from California. Bulletin of the Southern California Academy of Science 99:105-109.

  • Grismer, L. L. 2002. Amphibians and reptiles of Baja California including its Pacific islands and islands in the Sea of Cortes. University of California Press, Berkeley. xiii + 399 pp.

  • Hammerson, G. A. 1999. Amphibians and reptiles in Colorado. Second edition. University Press of Colorado, Boulder. xxvi + 484 pp.

  • Stebbins, R. C. 1985a. A field guide to western reptiles and amphibians. Second edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts. xiv + 336 pp.

  • Stebbins, R. C. 2003. A field guide to western reptiles and amphibians. Third edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston.

  • Tennant, A. 1984. The Snakes of Texas. Texas Monthly Press, Austin, Texas. 561 pp.

  • Werler, J. E., and J. R. Dixon. 2000. Texas snakes: identification, distribution, and natural history. University of Texas Press, Austin. xv + 437 pp.

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