Coluber taeniatus - (Hallowell, 1852)
Striped Whipsnake
Other English Common Names: striped whipsnake
Synonym(s): Masticophis taeniatus (Hallowell, 1852)
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Masticophis taeniatus (Hallowell, 1852) (TSN 174240)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.105899
Element Code: ARADB21040
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Reptiles - Snakes
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Reptilia Squamata Colubridae Coluber
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: Masticophis taeniatus
Taxonomic Comments: Camper and Dixon (1994) examined geographic variation in morphological and protein characters and concluded that populations of striped whipsnakes in southern Texas and eastern Mexico allocated to C. t. schotti, C. t. ruthveni, and C. t. australis are not conspecific with those of C. t. taeniatus and C. t. girardi of the western United States and Mexico. The populations in southern Texas and eastern Mexico were elevated to species status as C. schotti, and nominal subspecies australis was synonymized with subspecies ruthveni (hence, C. schotti includes two subspecies, schotti and ruthveni, and C. taeniatus includes two subspecies, taeniatus and girardi).

Crother et al. (in Crother 2008, 2012) cited published studies in transferring all Masticophis species to the genus Coluber, but they also stated that there is unpublished evidence that might reject this.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 06Dec2005
Global Status Last Changed: 30Oct1996
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Nation: United States
National Status: N5 (05Oct1996)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Arizona (S4), California (SNR), Colorado (S4), Idaho (S4), Navajo Nation (S4S5), Nevada (S5), New Mexico (S5), Oregon (S3S4), Texas (S5), Utah (S5), Washington (S1), Wyoming (SNR)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: >2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: The range extends from southeastern Washington and southern Idaho south through Oregon, eastern California, Nevada, Utah, western Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, western and central Texas, Chihuahua, western Coahuila, Durango, and Zacatecas to northeastern Jalisco; the eastern and southern range limits in Mexico are poorly understood (Camper and Dixon 1994). The elevational range extends to 3,077 meters in Inyo County, California (Stumpel 1995, Herpetological Review 26:102).

Number of Occurrences: 81 to >300
Number of Occurrences Comments: This species is represented by a very large number of occurrences or subpopulations. Camper (1996) mapped hundreds of collection sites.

Population Size: 100,000 - 1,000,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: Total adult population size is unknown but likely exceeds 100,000. This snake is relatively common in many areas in the United States. It is apparently uncommon or rare in the southern part of the range in Mexico.

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Many to very many (41 to >125)

Overall Threat Impact: Medium
Overall Threat Impact Comments: No major threats have been identified. Locally, some populations are declining as a result of habitat destruction and road mortality.

Short-term Trend: Relatively Stable (<=10% change)
Short-term Trend Comments: Extent of occurrence, area of occupancy, number of subpopulations, and population size probably are relatively stable or declining at a rate of less than 10 percent over 10 years or three generations.

Long-term Trend: Decline of <30% to increase of 25%

Intrinsic Vulnerability: Moderately vulnerable

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) The range extends from southeastern Washington and southern Idaho south through Oregon, eastern California, Nevada, Utah, western Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, western and central Texas, Chihuahua, western Coahuila, Durango, and Zacatecas to northeastern Jalisco; the eastern and southern range limits in Mexico are poorly understood (Camper and Dixon 1994). The elevational range extends to 3,077 meters in Inyo County, California (Stumpel 1995, Herpetological Review 26:102).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
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, ID, NM, NN, NV, OR, TX, UT, WA, WY

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)
WA Benton (53005), Douglas (53017), Franklin (53021)*, Grant (53025), Kittitas (53037), Lincoln (53043), Walla Walla (53071)*, Yakima (53077)*
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
17 Upper Columbia-Entiat (17020010)+, Moses Coulee (17020012)+, Upper Crab (17020013)+, Banks Lake (17020014)+, Lower Crab (17020015)+, Upper Columbia-Priest Rapids (17020016)+, Lower Yakima, Washington (17030003)+, Walla Walla (17070102)+*
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Diagnostic Characteristics: Differs from M. SCHOTTI in (a) lacking paired light speckling on the dorsal scales and red or pink pigment immediately posterior to the angle of the jaw and (b) having the dorsal head plates edged in cream or white (Camper and Dixon 1994).
Reproduction Comments: Lays clutch of 3-12 eggs, June-July; eggs hatch in 50-57 days, August-September; females are sexually mature in 2-3 years (Stebbins 1985, Nussbaum et al. 1983).
Ecology Comments: In Utah, population density was about 0.11-0.33/ha (excluding snakes less than 1 year old) (Parker and Brown 1980).
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: Y
Long Distance Migrant: N
Mobility and Migration Comments: In Utah, males migrated an average of 992 m, females 1455 m, between winter den and summer range (Parker and Brown 1980).
Palustrine Habitat(s): Riparian
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Bare rock/talus/scree, Desert, Grassland/herbaceous, Shrubland/chaparral, Woodland - Conifer, Woodland - Hardwood, Woodland - Mixed
Special Habitat Factors: Burrowing in or using soil, Fallen log/debris
Habitat Comments: Habitats include shrublands, arid grasslands, sagebrush flats, canyons, pinyon-juniper woodland, pine-oak woodland, and rocky stream courses. Microhabitats are terrestrial and arboreal. This snake retreats underground or into deep crevices in cold weather. Eggs usually are laid in abandoned small mammal burrows (sometimes communal with conspecifics or with other snake species).
Adult Food Habits: Carnivore, Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Carnivore, Invertivore
Food Comments: Young eat mainly lizards; adults eat mainly lizards and small mammals (Parker and Brown 1980). Also eats insects and small birds (Stebbins 1985).
Adult Phenology: Diurnal, Hibernates/aestivates
Immature Phenology: Diurnal, Hibernates/aestivates
Phenology Comments: Active mainly April-October in Colorado and Utah (Hammerson 1982, Nussbaum et al. 1983).
Length: 183 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: 06Dec2005
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Hammerson, G.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 22Mar1995
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
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