Here we offer a listing of publications (most with links to downloadable PDF files) concerning snakes of the Lampropeltis mexicana complex. The articles here run the gamut from scientific to hobbyist literature—something for everybody. We have provided a brief description of each article to help you select which ones might be of interest. Because many of these were scanned from hard copy, the resulting file sizes tend to be large. Please keep in mind that these publications are made available strictly for scientific, educational, or personal use and may not be sold or otherwise distributed for profit. The authors and/or publishers retain all copyrights. Some of the book-length publications listed below are still in-print and available from publishers or booksellers, and we indicate sources where known. Others are long out-of-print, but can be found through antiquarian book dealers. We provide a link to the book dealers with whom we routinely deal, as they specialize in herpetological material. If you are aware of publications we've missed, please let us know. We've obviously not made much of an effort to locate non-English language publications, but would be pleased to add them to this list.
Ahumada-Carrillo, I. T., O. Vázquez-Huizar, J. Vázquez-Diaz, and U. O. Vázquez-García. 2011. Noteworthy records of amphibians and reptiles from Zacatecas, México. Herpetological Review 43(3):397–398. [Although purported to be a first record of Lampropeltis greeri (as L. mexicana) from the state of Zacatecas, that distinction actually goes to Liner & Dundee (1977), although they allocated their specimen to L. m. mexicana. An examination of a photo of the Liner & Dundee specimen shows it to be L. greeri. Nevertheless, the Ahumada et al. record is important in helping to fill in the range of greeri and adds to other recent reports that extend the range of this species into Jalisco and Nayarit.] PDF available (412 k)
Applegate, R. 1987. Captive breeding of the Durango mountain kingsnake (Lampropeltis mexicana greeri) and the Arizona mountain kingsnake (Lampropeltis pyromelana). In R. Gowen (ed.), Captive Propagation and Husbandry of Reptiles and Amphibians, pp. 87–95. Northern California Herpetological Society Special Publication No. 4. Davis, California. PDF available (2.5 MB); Online version: http://www.applegatereptiles.com/articles/breedgreeripyro.htm
Applegate, R. 1989. Captive breeding of the Durango Mountain Kingsnake (Lampropeltis mexicana greeri) and the Arizona Mountain Kingsnake (L. pyromelana). Herptile 12(4):140–148.
Applegate, R. 1989. Methods for obtaining multiple clutches of eggs in one season from colubrid snakes. In R. Gowen (ed.), Captive Propagation and Husbandry of Reptiles and Amphibians, pp. 95–98. Northern California Herpetological Society Special Publication No. 5. Davis, California. [Double clutching reported for Lampropeltis alterna, L. greeri, L. mexicana, L. leonis (as L. m. thayeri), and L. ruthveni, among other species of Lampropeltis.] PDF available (1.1 MB)
Applegate, R. 1992. The General Care and Maintenance of Milk Snakes. Advanced Vivarium Systems, Lakeside, California. 71 pp. [Includes a photo of an adult Lampropeltis ruthveni, labeled as L. triangulum arcifera (p. 56), a nearly universal misidentification during that time.] Out-of-print, but text (only) is available online here.
Applegate, R. 2006. King of kings. Reptiles Magazine 14(3):60–65. [One of the pioneers of colubrid snake breeding offers general tips for breeding various species of Lampropeltis, including L. alterna and L. greeri.] PDF available (2.5 MB)
Applegate, R. 2007. Kingsnakes and Milksnakes in Captivity. Professional Breeders Series, ECO Herpetological Publishing, Lansing, Michigan. 92 pp. [The pioneer of kingsnake herpetoculture offers up a thorough treatment of husbandry information, mostly targeting the beginner or at least those unfamiliar with Lampropeltis.] In print and available from the author.
Aresté, M. 2000. Lampropeltis alterna Serpiente real de bandas grises (Brown, 1901). Reptilia (E)(26):39–42. [A brief overview of L. alterna, accompanied by color photos. An English-language version was published concurrently—see next entry.]
Aresté, M. 2000. Lampropeltis alterna Gray-banded kingsnake (Brown, 1901). Reptilia (GB) (13):39–42. [A brief overview of L. alterna, accompanied by color photos. Translated from Spanish.] PDF available (3.9 MB)
Armstrong, B. L., and J. B. Murphy. 1979. The Natural History of Mexican Rattlesnakes. University of Kansas Museum of Natural History, Special Publication No. 5. 88 pp. [Under account for Crotalus polystictus from Rancho San Francisco, Jalisco, authors note that Lampropeltis triangulum arcifera (actually these were L. ruthveni) are “common” in the area and “may be an important predator” on C. polystictus. There is a good description of habitat at this site, along with a b/w photo of the collecting area.] PDF available, relevant pages only (516 k)
Assetto, R., Jr. 1978. Reproduction of the gray-banded kingsnake, Lampropeltis mexicana alterna. Herpetological Review 9(2):56–57. [An early report of successful captive breeding.] PDF available (244 k)
Atherton, B. 1998. Tricks of the trade. Reptiles Magazine 6(4):62–67. [Review of various techniques to induce feeding in newly hatched colubrid snakes, with Lampropeltis alterna mentioned briefly.] PDF available (3.8 MB)
Axelsson, J. 2004. Lampropeltis alterna: captive care and reproduction of the grey-banded kingsnake. Reptilia (GB) (36):61–65. [Hobbyist-oriented introduction to the natural history and captive care of L. alterna.] PDF available (2.4 MB)
Axelsson, J. 2005. Natural history and captive management of the grey-banded kingsnake, Lampropeltis alterna (Brown 1901): a review of the literature. Part 1. Litteratura Serpentium 25(3):100–126. [Comprehensive review of the biology, captive husbandry, and literature associated with L. alterna. Bilingual text, in Dutch and English.] PDF available (11.6 MB)
Axelsson, J. 2005. Natural history and captive management of the grey-banded kingsnake, Lampropeltis alterna (Brown 1901): a review of the literature. Part 2. Litteratura Serpentium 25(4):169–189. PDF available (5.7 MB)
Axelsson, J. 2006. Natural history and captive management of the grey-banded kingsnake, Lampropeltis alterna (Brown 1901): a review of the literature. Part 3. Litteratura Serpentium 26(1):8–35. PDF available (7.1 MB)
Axtell, R. W. 1951. An additional specimen of Lampropeltis blairi from Texas. Copeia 1951(4):313 + 1 plate. [Description of an early “blairi” specimen, following closely after the publication of Flury’s description of L. blairi as a new species, which of course was later synonymized with L. alterna.] PDF available (1.1 MB)
Axtell, R. W. 1977 (1978). Ancient playas and their influence on the Recent herpetofauna of the northern Chihuahuan Desert. In R. H. Wauer and D. H. Riskind (eds.), Transactions of the Symposium on the Biological Resources of the Chihuahuan Desert Region, United States and Mexico, pp. 493–512. U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service Transactions and Proceedings Series no. 3. [Lampropeltis alterna is included in a suite of reptiles, together with Trimorphodon vilkonsonii and Bogertophis subocularis, that have their western-range limits influenced by Pleistocene lake basins.] PDF available (3.8 MB)
Baker, R. J., G. A. Mengden, and J. J. Bull. 1972. Karyotypic studies of thirty-eight species of North American snakes. Copeia 1972(2):257–265. [Karyotypes are presented for many North American snakes, including Lampropeltis alterna (as L. mexicana), which is found to have a diploid number of 2n=36 (typical of a number of other species). Further, the chromosomes of L. getula and L. alterna were indistinguishable from those of L. calligaster.] PDF available (4.5 MB)
Bartlett, R. D. 1988. In Search of Reptiles and Amphibians. E. J. Brill, New York. 363 pp. [In one of the 54 chapters in this book, Bartlett recounts his first trip to West Texas to search for Lampropeltis alterna. The narrative is informative and entertaining, and includes background on the discovery and nomenclature of the species.] Out-of-print. PDF available (relevant pages only, 3.8 MB)
Bartlett, R. D., and P. Bartlett. 2000. Reptile Keeper’s Guides: Milksnakes and Tricolored Kingsnakes. Barron’s Educational Series, Inc., Hauppauge, New York. 46 pp. [Herpetocultural/hobbyist-oriented overview of the tricolored Lampropeltis—including triangulum, ruthveni, mexicana, zonata, and pyromelana.] Book in print, available from publisher.
Bartlett, R. D., and P. Bartlett. 2002. Designer Reptiles and Amphibians. Barron’s Educational Series, Inc., Hauppauge, New York. 95 pp. [This book focuses on the various “morphs” developed by captive breeders, as well as some of the more commonly produced interspecific hybrids. A photographic example of a Lampropeltis alterna x pyromelana hybrid is presented. Brief mention is made of L. mexicana and L. ruthveni, with a photograph of an amelanistic individual of the latter provided.] Book in print, available from publisher.
Bartlett, R. D., and R. G. Markel. 2005. Kingsnakes and Milksnakes: A Complete Pet Owner’s Manual. Barron’s Educational Series, Inc., Hauppauge, New York. 95 pp. [A good overview of herpetoculture requirements of the various forms of Lampropeltis. Included are brief species accounts for each of the mexicana-group species, as well as photographs of alterna, leonis, mexicana, and ruthveni. Reproductive data (clutch size, incubation time, etc.) are provided for alterna, greeri, leonis, mexicana, and ruthveni but data sources are not indicated. This is the second edition of the book with the same name, but authorship reversed, originally published in 1995.] Book in print, available from publisher.
Baubel, C. 2009. Breeder’s choice. Reptiles Magazine 17(12):20. [Brief report, with color photo, of first leucistic Lampropeltis alterna.] PDF available (368 k)
Bechtel, H. B. 1995. Reptile and Amphibian Variants: Colors, Patterns, and Scales. Krieger Publishing Co., Malabar, Florida. 206 pp. [Includes photographs of typical and amelanistic Lampropeltis ruthveni.] Book in print, available from publisher.
Begley, S., and M. Hager. 1981. The ‘Snakescam’ Sting. Newsweek, July 27, 1981, p. 64. [Article in news magazine concerning the “sting operation” set up by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which operated a sham business (“Wildlife Exchange") out of Atlanta. Among the various species of wildlife mentioned in the article is the “Texas gray-banded kingsnake,” which during that time was a protected species.] PDF available (1.7 MB)
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. [A brief entry is provided for Lampropeltis alterna.] Book in print, available from various booksellers. PDF available, relevant pages only (1.5 MB)
Blanchard, F. N. 1920. A synopsis of the king snakes: genus Lampropeltis Fitzinger. Occasional Papers of the Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan (87):1–7, + 1 table. [This brief review of the kingsnakes was intended to rapidly make available the results of Blanchard’s systematic revision, which would be published a year later. Included within a dichotomous key are alterna, leonis, ruthveni, and mexicana.] PDF available (236 k)
Blanchard, F. N. 1920. Three new snakes of the genus Lampropeltis. Occasional Papers of the Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan (81):1–10, 1 plate. [Original description of Lampropeltis ruthveni, based on a specimen from Patzcuaro, Michoacan.] PDF available (2.4 MB)
Blanchard, F. N. 1921. A Revision of the King Snakes: Genus Lampropeltis. United States National Museum, Bulletin 114. vi + 260 pp. [Not much new regarding mexicana complex snakes, considering that both Lampropeltis leonis and Blanchard’s own L. ruthveni were still known only from single type specimens.] PDF available, relevant pages only (2.5 MB). A facsimile reprint of the full publication is available from: www.zoobooksales.com.
Blaney, R. M. 1973. Lampropeltis Fitzinger. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles (150):1–2. [Offers support for Tanzer’s (1970) assessment that Lampropeltis leonis (Günther) is a synonym of L. mexicana.] PDF available (712 k)
Boundy, J. 1995. Maximum lengths of North American snakes. Bulletin of the Chicago Herpetological Society 30(6):109–122. [Cites Tennant (1984) for record-size Lampropeltis alterna, at 57.8 inches (1467 mm) total length.] PDF available (2.4 MB)
Brown, A. E. 1901 . A new species of Ophibolus from western Texas. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia 53:612–613, pl. 34. [Description of Lampropeltis alterna (as Ophibolus alternus) from the Davis Mountains of west Texas.] PDF available (520 k)
Bryson, R. W., Jr. 2002. Phylogenetic relationships of the Lampropeltis mexicana complex (Serpentes: Colubridae) as inferred from mitochondrial DNA sequences. Master's thesis, Sul Ross State University, Alpine, Texas. 53 pp. [Bryson offers several phylogenetic scenarios for L. alterna, mexicana, ruthveni, triangulum, and the undescribed (at that time) webbi, based on mtDNA sequence data. A favored tree is discussed in a biogeographic context.] PDF available (2.6 MB)
Bryson, R. W., Jr., J. R. Dixon, and D. Lazcano. 2005. New species of Lampropeltis (Serpentes: Colubridae) from the Sierra Madre Occidental, México. Journal of Herpetology 39(2):207–214. [Original description of Lampropeltis webbi from the Pacific versant of the Sierra Madre Occidental near the Sinaloa/Durango border region. MtDNA sequences and morphological characters are used to distinguish this form from putative nearest relatives L. pyromelana and L. mexicana.] PDF available (284 k)
Bryson, R. W., Jr., J. Pastorini, F. T. Burbrink, and M. R. J. Forstner. 2007. A phylogeny of the Lampropeltis mexicana complex (Serpentes: Colubridae) based on mitochondrial DNA sequences suggests evidence for species-level polyphyly within Lampropeltis. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 43:674-684. [This re-analysis of the mtDNA sequences presented in Bryson (2002) confirms that both L. mexicana and L. triangulum, as presently constituted, are not monophyletic lineages. Further, geography (northern vs. southern) might be a better predictor of relationships than traditional groupings of taxa in L. mexicana or L. triangulum. They point out that additional molecular evidence (e.g., nuclear gene sequences) is needed to corroborate these findings.] PDF available (1.2 M)
Bryson, R. W., Jr., G. T. Salmon, and D. Lazcano. 2001. Geographic distribution: Lampropeltis mexicana. Herpetological Review 32(2):123. [Although presented as a first report for L. mexicana from the state of Sinaloa, this was actually the first published record for L. webbi, which would later (2005) be described as a new species based on this specimen.] PDF available (212 k; bundled with Salmon et al. 2001)
Burbrink, F. T., and R. A. Pyron. 2010. How does ecological opportunity influence rates of speciation, extinction, and morphological diversification in New World ratsnakes (tribe Lampropeltini)? Evolution 64(4):934–943. [Lampropeltis alterna, L. mexicana, and L. ruthveni, as well as L. pyromelana and L. zonata, are included in an examination of speciation rate models for the Lampropeltini. The authors conclude that an Ecological Opportunity Hypothesis best fits the pattern observed in the New World ratsnakes (= Lampropeltini). This scenario posits that dispersal of the ancestors of this group into the New World—into largely unoccupied ecological niches—was accompanied by rapid clade formation.] PDF available (504 k)
Burchfield, P. M. 1976. Rare kingsnakes hatch. Zoo News 5(5): 1 page, unnumbered. Gladys Porter Zoo, Brownsville, Texas. [Early report of captive breeding of L. alterna.] PDF available (832 k)
Campbell, J. A., and W. W. Lamar. 1989. The Venomous Reptiles of Latin America. Comstock Publishing Associates, Ithaca, New York. xii + 425 pp. [Plate 489 depicts a field-collected Lampropeltis greeri from near Coyotes, Durango. Plate 491 illustrates a “Lampropeltis triangulum arcifera” from NW of Tapalpa, Jalisco, and therefore represents L. ruthveni (and indeed, this example is typical of specimens of ruthveni from that region.)] Out-of-print. PDF available, relevant pages only (1.1 MB)
Campbell, J. A., and W. W. Lamar. 2004. The Venomous Reptiles of the Western Hemisphere. Comstock Publishing Associates, Ithaca, New York. xviii + 870 pp. + 28 pp. index. [Plate 1143 depicts a snake labeled as Lampropeltis mexicana, from “Mexican Highway 120, 9.6km west-northwest of Jalpan, Querétaro, Mexico, elevation 1,981 m”. This specimen was apparently one of three collected from the mountains near Jalpan; based on mtDNA sequence data for one individual, this population is referable to L. ruthveni. Plate 1144 depicts a leonis-phase L. leonis (as “Lampropeltis mexicana”) based on a specimen of unknown provenance at the Houston Zoo.] Book in print, available from publisher.
Carabias Lillo, J., G. Quadri de la Torre, and J. de la Maza Elvira 1997. Programa de Manejo del Área de Protección de Flora y Fauna Cañón de Santa Elena, Mexico. Instituto Nacional de Ecología, México, D.F. 134 pp. [This report describes the biotic resources of the Cañón de Santa Elena (a UNESCO biosphere reserve), located just south of U.S./Mexico border along the Rio Grande in Chihuahua. Lampropeltis alterna is included in a list of species occurring within the "Bosque de Sierra Rica," a modestly forested upland area surrounded by desert. In Spanish.] PDF available (1.0 MB)
Carbajal-Márquez, R. A., G. E. Quintero-Díaz, Z. Y. González-Saucedo, and J. J. Sigala-Rodríguez. 2012. Crotalus lepidus: diet. Herpetological Review 43(4):658. [A banded rock rattlesnake collected in Aguascalientes regurgitated a small Lampropeltis greeri. This is the first report of predation on this species.] PDF available (283 k)
Coburn, J. 1991. The Atlas of Snakes of the World. TFH Publications, Neptune, New Jersey. 591 pp. [Overview of basic biology and husbandry of snakes, together with a listing of various Lampropeltis. Color photos are included for L. alterna, greeri, and leonis.] Out-of-print.
Conant, R. 1975. A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America, 2nd ed. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, Massachusetts. 429 pp. Out-of-print. PDF available, relevant pages only (1.9 MB)
Conant, R., and J. T. Collins. 1991. A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America, 3rd ed., expanded. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, Massachusetts. 450 pp. Out-of-print. PDF available, relevant pages only (2.2 MB)
Conant, R., and J. T. Collins. 1998. A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America, 3rd ed. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, Massachusetts. 616 pp. Book in print, available here. PDF available, relevant pages only (1 MB)
Contreras Arquieta, A., and D. Lazcano Villarreal. 1995. Lista revisada de los reptiles del estado de Nuevo León, México / Revised checklist of the reptiles from the state of Nuevo Leon, Mexico. Chapter 4 in S. Contreras Balderas, F. Gonzalez Saldivar, D. Lazcano Villarreal, and A. Contreras Arquieta (eds.), Listado Preliminar de la Fauna Silvestre del Estado de Nuevo Leon, Mexico, pp. 55–64. Consejo Consultivo Estatal para la Preservacion y Fomento de la Flora y Fauna Silvestre de Nuevo Leon, Monterrey, Nuevo Leon. [Lampropeltis alterna and L. leonis (as L. mexicana) are listed as part of the state's reptile fauna. Text in Spanish and English.] PDF available, relevant pages only (2.4 MB)
Contreras-Lozano, J. A., D. Lazcano, A. J. Contreras-Balderas, and P. A. Lavín-Murcio. 2010. Notes on Mexican herpetofauna 14: An update to the herpetofauna of Cerro El Potosí, Galeana, Nuevo León, México. Bulletin of the Chicago Herpetological Society 45(3):41–46. [Lampropeltis leonis (as L. mexicana thayerii [sic]) is listed as absent from Cerro El Potosí despite a previous generalized species list for the region.] PDF available (492 k)
Coote, J. 2000. Reptile reflections. Reptilia (GB)(13):78. [In an opinion column, Coote suggests the possibility of scenting developing eggs of Lampropeltis alterna to influence hatchling feeding preferences.] PDF available (832 k)
Crabill, T. 2001. Breeding the albino Ruthven’s kingsnake. Reptile & Amphibian Hobbyist 6(6):18–24. [Thorough presentation of information needed to breed Lampropeltis ruthveni in captivity.] PDF available (2.5 MB)
Cranston, T. 1991. Notes on the natural history, husbandry, and breeding of the gray-banded kingsnake (Lampropeltis alterna). The Vivarium 3(2):7–10. [An excellent popular overview of the natural history and captive care of alterna.] PDF available (2.8 MB)
Cranston, T., and E. Cranston. 1996. Feeding the reluctant snake. The Vivarium 8(3):44–47. [Tips for encouraging hatchling colubrids to feed, with an emphasis on Lampropeltis alterna, L. pyromelana, and L. zonata.] PDF available (736 k)
David, P., G. Naulleau, and Y. Vasse. 1994. In: R. Bauchot (ed.), Snakes: A Natural History, pp. 124–143. Sterling Publishing Co., Inc., New York. pp. [Brief mention of Lampropeltis ruthveni, together with Conopsis biserialus and Toluca lineata, as examples of Mexican species associated with “scattered high altitude forests, which are mostly full of fir trees.” This characterization seems to be at variance with on-the-ground observations by many other workers (refer to photo gallery for examples of ruthveni habitat).] Out-of-print.
Dearth, R. 1998. The cult of the gray-band. Reptile & Amphibian Magazine (55):38–40,42–45, 47. [A somewhat tongue-in-cheek look at alterna hunting in West Texas.] PDF available (3.6 MB)
Dearth, R. 2002. Cult of the Gray-band: Ruminations of a Trans-Pecos Snakehunter. Deer Track Enterprises, San Angelo, Texas. 113 pp. [A collection of short, often humorous articles and stories, previously published over a five-year period in the West Texas Herper's Report (newsletter of the West Texas Herpetological Society).] Out of print. PDF available (6.8 MB)
Degenhardt, W. G., C. W. Painter, and A. H. Price. 1996. Amphibians and Reptiles of New Mexico. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque. 431 pp. [The first specimen of Lampropeltis alterna from New Mexico had only been reported a few years earlier (1992). Species account (pp. 278–278) offers a thorough review of the published literature.] Available from the publisher: http://www.unmpress.com/Book.php?id=524
De Lisle, H. 1977. The Mexican kingsnake: a scientific mystery story. Herpetology 9(3):3–7. [Non-technical overview of the discovery and historical taxonomy of mexicana-group kingsnakes.] PDF available (996 k)
De Lisle, H. 1984. Kingsnake species revision. Herpetology 14(2):14. [Review of Garstka’s (1982) revision of the mexicana group of kingsnakes.] PDF available (324 k)
Dixon, J. R. 1987. Amphibians and Reptiles of Texas, with Keys, Taxonomic Synopses, Bibliography, and Distribution Maps. Texas A&M University Press, College Station. xii + 434 pp. [The chief value of this work was that it provided an exhaustive bibliography for Texas herps, including Lampropeltis alterna. This first edition has now been supplanted by the third edition (Dixon 2013).] Out-of-print.
Dixon, J. R. 2000. Amphibians and Reptiles of Texas, with Keys, Taxonomic Synopses, Bibliography, and Distribution Maps, 2nd ed. Texas A&M University Press, College Station. viii + 421 pp. [This volume updated Dixon (1987), and increased the number of references for L. alterna from 56 to 69. It has now been supplanted by the third edition (Dixon 2013).] Out-of-print.
Dixon, J. R. 2013. Amphibians and Reptiles of Texas, with Keys, Taxonomic Synopses, Bibliography, and Distribution Maps, 3rd ed. Texas A&M University Press, College Station. viii + 447 pp. [This volume updates Dixon (2000), and increases the number of references for L. alterna from 69 to 75. A very brief account is provided for each species, consisting of a county-dot map and at least one color photo (3 for alterna). The map for alterna contains the following errors that were not present in the 2000 edition, apparently introduced as a consequence of a new mapping procedure: 1) Upton Co. should be included in the range, but is not; 2) Reeves and Ward counties were erroneously marked as having alterna, but there are no records from those counties.] In print and available from publisher.
Dixon, J. R., C. A. Ketchersid, and C. S. Lieb. 1972. The herpetofauna of Queretaro, Mexico, with remarks on taxonomic problems. Southwestern Naturalist 16(3/4):225–237. [A three-year study of an ecological transect through the Sierra Madre Oriental of Querétaro did not yield any Mexicana group Lampropeltis. The collecting stations were located largely outside the presumed range of L. ruthveni, although one montane site at Pinol de Amoles is located near an area known to harbor that species. Thus, as of 1972, L. ruthveni was still unreported from the state.] PDF available (1.8 MB)
Dixon, J. R., and J. A. Lemos Espinal. 2010. Anfibios y Reptiles del Estado de Querétaro, México / Amphibians and Reptiles of the State of Querétaro, Mexico. Texas A&M University, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and CONABIO (Comisión Nacional para el Conocimiento y Uso de la Biodiversidad). 428 pp., 238 color photos, plus color maps. In English and Spanish. [This is the first comprehensive treatment of the herpetofauna of Querétaro, a small state located in the southern part of the Mexican Plateau, but with diverse biotic elements including Chihuahuan Desert, thornscrub, and montane pine-oak forests. In the account for Lampropeltis ruthveni, the authors portray this as a small species (to ca. 800 mm maximum size) and one that is "relatively rare." However, a number of field herpetologists have found this species to be common (especially so for a Mexican Lampropeltis) in Querétaro, Michoacan, and Jalisco. Additionally, it seems as though the 800 mm max size figure is much too low, at least based on captive animals. Includes one color photo of a snake in shed cycle, along with a color dot distribution map.] In print and available from Bibliomania!
Dixon, J. R., and J. E. Werler 2005. Texas Snakes: A Field Guide. University of Texas Press, Austin. xviii + 364 pp. [This is a field guide companion to Werler & Dixon (2000). The text is much abbreviated relative to the larger volume, the maps are less detailed, and there is a single color photo of alterna (vs. 10 in Werler & Dixon 2000).] In print and available from publisher.
Dowling, H. G., R. Highton, G. C. Maha, and L. R. Maxson. 1983. Biochemical evaluation of colubrid snake phylogeny. Journal of Zoology, London 201:309–329. [Dowling et al. provide a phylogenetic estimate of various colubrid genera based on immunological distance. A single specimen of L. alterna (referred to as “L. mexicanus” or L. mexicana) from Texas was included. Notably, this work provided molecular evidence to support the placement of Cemophora (scarlet snakes) with Lampropeltis.]
Dowling, H. G., and L. R. Maxson. 1990. Genetic and taxonomic relations of the short-tailed snakes, genus Stilosoma. Journal of Zoology, London 221:77–85. [Dowling and Maxson include a single specimen of L. alterna (variously referred to as “L. mexicanum” or “L. mexicanus”) from Texas in their assessment of the phylogenetic placement of the short-tailed snake, Stilosoma.] PDF available (4.2 MB)
Duellman, W. E. 1961. The amphibians and reptiles of Michoacán, México. University of Kansas Publications Museum of Natural History 15(1):1–148. [Includes L. ruthveni in a list of species known from the state, but does not offer any new records.] PDF available, relevant pages only (280 k)
Duellman, W. E. 1965. A biogeographic account of the herpetofauna of Michoacán, México. University of Kansas Publications Museum of Natural History 15(14):627–709. [L. ruthveni is listed in Table 2 as occurring (“Rare”) in Mesquite Grassland, noting this as among a group of species whose upper elevational limit is ca. 2200 m. L. ruthveni is included among a small group of species that are “Desert and Plains Herpetofauna,” mostly endemic to the southern part of the Mexican Plateau. States that L. ruthveni and L. triangulum (as “doliata”) are sympatric.] PDF available, relevant pages only (2.4 MB)
Dugès, A. 1897. Description d'un Ophidien nouveau du Mexique (Oreophis boulengeri, g. et. sp. nn.). Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1897:284–285. [Dugès erected a new genus and species for a specimen collected from the Sierra de Santa Rosa, Guanajuato. This was later placed in the synonymy of L. mexicana by Dunn (1922).] PDF available (296 k)
Dunn, E. R. 1922. Note on Lampropeltis mexicana (Garman). Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 35:226. [Dunn places Oreophis boulengeri Duges (1897), based on a specimen from Guanajuato, in the synonymy of L. mexicana.] PDF available (96 k)
Easterla, D. A. 1975. Reproductive and ecological observations on Tantilla rubra cucullata from Big Bend National Park, Texas (Serpentes: Colubridae). Herpetologica 31:234–236. [Brief mention of one specimen of L. alterna found in early August near Panther Pass in Big Bend National Park.] PDF available (1.2 MB)
Eckerman, C. M. 1997. Allopatric mimicry. Unpublished graduate research report prepared for Evolutionary Ecology, Iowa State University. 29 pp. (not numbered). [Review and discussion of the published evidence in support of coral snake mimicry by non-venomous species (e.g., tricolored Lampropeltis) that occur beyond the ranges of their venomous models. A more comprehensive assessment of the phenomenon of allopatric mimicry is presented by Pfennig and Mullen (2010), linked below on this page.] PDF available (972 k)
Ernst, C. H., and E. M. Ernst. 2003. Snakes of the United States and Canada. Smithsonian Books, Washington, DC. 668 pp. [Review of available published information concerning L. alterna based on U.S. populations.] Book in print, available from publisher.
Eidbo, J. 1996. Confessions of an alterna addict: the care and breeding of the gray-banded kingsnake. Part 1. Intermontanus 5(4):25–29. [Thorough introduction to care and breeding.] PDF available (2.3 MB)
Eidbo, J. 1996. Confessions of an alterna addict: the care and breeding of the gray-banded kingsnake. Part 2. Intermontanus 5(5):33–37. [Thorough introduction to care and breeding.] PDF available (2.2 MB)
Fankhauser, G. 1996. Snake hybrids: an interesting way to increase diversity. Reptiles Magazine 4(8):48–50, 52, 54. [Discussion of hybridization among various species of captive colubrids, including L. alterna, L. ruthveni, L. m. mexicana, L. m. greeri, and L. m. thayeri, noting that all inter-species crosses made thus far result in fertile offspring.] PDF available (2.5 MB)
Farr, W. L., D. Lazcano, and P. A. Lavín Murcio. 2009. New distributional records for amphibians and reptiles from the state of Tamaulipas, México II. Herpetological Review 40(4):459–467. [Second record of Lampropeltis leonis (as L. mexicana) for Tamaulipas, not far from the type locality for L. thayeri. Photographs of a different specimen from the same general locality are provided in the Leonis Gallery.] PDF available (228 k)
Fitzgerald, L. A., C. W. Painter, A. Reuter, and C. Hoover. 2004. Collection, trade, and regulation of reptiles and amphibians of the Chihuahuan Desert Ecoregion. TRAFFIC North America, World Wildlife Fund, Washington, D.C. 75 pp. + 28 pp. appendices. [Extensive report detailing the volume of legal and illegal trade of herpetofauna (including L. alterna and L. mexicana) of the Chihuahuan Desert ecoregion of the U.S. and Mexico.] PDF available (1.3 MB)
Flores-Villela, O., L. Canseco-Marquez, and L. M. Ochoa-Ochoa. 2010. Geographic distribution and conservation of the Mexican central highlands herpetofauna. In L. D. Wilson, J. H. Townsend, and J. D. Johnson (eds.), Conservation of Mesoamerican Amphibians and Reptiles, pp. 303–321. Eagle Mountain Publishing, Eagle Mountain, Utah. [In a book chapter focusing on the herpetofauna of Mexico’s central highlands, Lampropeltis mexicana and L. ruthveni are listed as occurring within the Mesa Central, with elevational ranges of 370–2270 m and 2100–2600 m, respectively. Both are accorded a conservation status rank of “threatened.”] In print and available from the publisher.
Flury, A. 1950. A new king snake from Trans-Pecos Texas. Copeia 1950(3):215–217. [Original description of Lampropeltis blairi, based on a DOR adult male from Terrell County, Texas. Flury regarded his new species as belonging to the “mexicana subgroup” of Smith (1942), which included alterna, leonis, and mexicana. Twenty years later, Tanzer (1970) would demonstrate that blairi was a pattern morph of L. alterna.] PDF available (972 k)
Foose, K. 2009. Herpers’ most wanted: gray-banded kingsnake (Lampropeltis alterna). Reptiles Magazine 17(5):60. [Brief profile of alterna as a herpetocultural subject.] PDF available (636 k)
Forstner, M. R., S. Davis, and E. Arévalo. 1995. Support for the hypothesis of anguimorph ancestry for the Suborder Serpentes from phylogenetic analysis of mitochondrial DNA sequences. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 4(1):93–102. [Lampropeltis mexicana (source not stated) was included in this early use of mtDNA to generate a molecular phylogeny of squamates.] PDF available (796 k)
Gadsden, H., J. L. Estrada-Rodríguez, and S. V. Leyva-Pacheco. 2006. Checklist of amphibians and reptiles of the Comarca Lagunera in Durango-Coahuila, Mexico. Bulletin of the Chicago Herpetological Society 41(1):2–9. [This report summarizes collecting activities for an area along the Durango/Coahuila border. A single Lampropeltis alterna, from the Sierra el Sarnoso, Durango, was observed during fieldwork, apparently in a rock crevice. A photograph of this specimen, provided by Sandra Leyva, is included in our Durango alterna gallery.] PDF available (252 k)
Garman, S. 1884. The reptiles and batrachians of North America, Part I, Ophidia. Memoirs of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard 8(3):xxxi–185. [Original description of L. mexicana, based on two females collected near Cd. San Luis Potosí (SLP).] PDF available, relevant pages only (236 k).
Garstka, W. R. 1982. Systematics of the Mexicana species group of the colubrid genus Lampropeltis, with an hypothesis [of] mimicry. Breviora (466):1–35. [Garstka reduces thayeri to the synonomy of L. mexicana, regards L. alterna and L. mexicana as distinct species, and, importantly, resurrects L. ruthveni from the synonomy of L. triangulum arcifera (where it was buried by Williams, 1978) and includes it as a member of this species group. Provides a list of specimens examined, general habitat association information, and discusses the possibility that members of this group are mimics of regionally sympatric rattlesnake species.] PDF available (1.5 MB)
Garstka, W. R., B. Camazine, and E. Jacobson. 1981. Surgical excision of a pericloacal mass from a king snake (Lampropeltis mexicana). Herpetological Review 12(2):55–56. PDF available (736 k)
Gehlbach, F. R. 1967. Lampropeltis mexicana. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles 55:1–2. [Review of the taxonomy, distribution, and relevant literature of L. mexicana. At this time, L. mexicana included the subspecies alterna, blairi, mexicana, and thayeri. This was published just prior to Tanzer's discovery that alterna and blairi phenotypes could be produced in a single clutch, and he thereby reduced the form blairi to a junior synonym of alterna.] PDF available (972 k)
Gehlbach, F. R., and J. K. Baker. 1962. Kingsnakes allied with Lampropeltis mexicana: taxonomy and natural history. Copeia 1962(2):291–300. [An early attempt to make sense of the phylogeny of this complex. L. alterna, L. blairi, L. greeri, L. mexicana, and L. thayeri are regarded as conspecific (under the oldest available name, L. mexicana, with five subspecies). They propose that this “mexicana complex” is distinct relative to L. doliata (= triangulum), L. pyromelana, and L. zonata. The type (and only known) specimen of L. leonis is briefly discussed, and this is regarded as a species distinct from L. mexicana. List of museum material available at the time.] PDF available (1.7 MB)
Gehlbach, F. R., and C. J. McCoy, Jr. 1965. Additional observations on variation and distribution of the gray-banded kingsnake, Lampropeltis mexicana (Garman). Herpetologica 21(1):35–38. [Report on L. alterna from Coahuila. Refer a specimen from 42 mi S Cd Durango (UCM 21061) to mexicana x alterna, and regard the type specimen of L. greeri as a mexicana x alterna intergrade. They thus place greeri in the synonomy of L. m. mexicana.] PDF available (1.5 MB)
Gray, B. S. 2011. A study of apical pits using shed snakeskins revisited. Bulletin of the Chicago Herpetological Society 46(10):125–128. [Survey of apical pits presence/absence in 54 species of N American snakes, including Lampropeltis alterna.] PDF available (224 k)
Greene, H. W. 1979. [Book review] Systematics and Natural History of the American Milk Snake, Lampropeltis triangulum. Copeia 1979(1):180–181. [This is a highly critical review in which Greene rightly points out some of the many shortcomings of Williams' opus.] PDF available (1.2 MB)
Greene, H. W. 1997. Snakes: The Evolution of Mystery in Nature. University of California Press. 351 pp. A beautiful Lampropeltis alterna is figured (p. 300) as an example of a popular pet species in a chapter on conservation.] Book in print, available from publisher.
Günther, A. C. 1893. Biologia Centrali-Americana: Reptilia and Batrachia. 1885–1902: xx + 326 pp. [Original description of Lampropeltis leonis, based on a specimen from Nuevo Leon. The presumed type specimen is illustrated by a line drawing, and clearly represents the leonis-phase morph of “thayeri.” If one is to recognize the snake occurring in Nuevo Leon-Tamaulipas-Coahuila as distinct from L. m. mexicana, the correct name is L. m. leonis (or L. leonis).] PDF available, relevant pages only (820 k). A facsimile reprint of the entire work was published by SSAR in 1987 to commemorate the society’s first annual meeting held outside the USA, in Veracruz, México. This volume may be purchased at: http://herplit.com/SSAR/facsimile/facsimile.html
Hakkila, M. 1994. An assessment of potential habitat and distribution of the gray-banded kingsnake (Lampropeltis alterna) in New Mexico. Unpublished report to New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, Santa Fe, New Mexico. 12 pp. (unnumbered), 3 oversized maps. [Based on oral interviews with amateur and professional herpetologists, as well as canvassing of literature and museum collections, author offers a mix of fact and speculation concerning the known and potential occurrence of L. alterna at the extreme western edge of its range. Three maps (not included with the pdf file) are as follows: 1) museum records of L. alterna and Coleonyx brevis from southern West Texas; 2) museum records of L. alterna from Trans-Pecos Texas and southern New Mexico; and 3) potential habitat of L. alterna in New Mexico.] PDF available (5.8 MB)
Hammock, M. W., and G. M. Burghardt. 1985. Lampropeltis alterna: an unusual slough. Herpetological Review 16(2):56. PDF available (204 k)
Hansen, R. W., and R. W. Bryson, Jr. 2009. Geographic distribution: Lampropeltis mexicana. Herpetological Review 40(1):114.[First report of L. mexicana (= L. greeri, though not stated as such in note) from the state of Jalisco. The reported specimens, along with two others, are depicted in the Greeri Gallery. Habitat photos may be seen in the Sierra de Laurel gallery.] PDF available (151 k; bundled with Savage & Hansen 2009)
Hansen, R. W., C. M. Rodriguez, and C. I. Grünwald. 2011. Geographic distribution: Lampropeltis mexicana. Herpetological Review 42(2):243.[First report of L. mexicana (= L. greeri) from the state of Nayarit. The reported specimens are depicted in the Greeri Gallery.] PDF available (164 k)
Herman, D. W. 1979. Breeding of the Jaliscan milksnake, Lampropeltis triangulum arcifera, at Atlanta Zoo. International Zoo Yearbook 19:96–97. [Although obtained as L. t. arcifera, the pair of adult snakes in this report were collected “on the northern slopes of Nevada de Colima, west of Atenquique, Jalisco” at an elevation of 2255 m, and thus are representative of L. ruthveni. Herman (as did Tryon & Murphy, 1982) followed the treatment by Williams, who reduced L. ruthveni to the synonymy of L. t. arcifera. Subsequently, Garstka (1982) revealed L. ruthveni to be a distinct species.] PDF available (396 k)
Hernández Arciga, R. 2012. Etnoherpetología en la Sierra Gorda de Guanajuato. In Comisión Nacional para el Conocimiento y Uso de la Biodiversidad (CONABIO). La Biodiversidad en Guanajuato: Estudio de Estado, pp. 227–231. Comisión Nacional para el Conocimiento y Uso de la Biodiversidad / Instituto de Ecología del Estado de Guanajuato (IEE), México. [Lampropeltis mexicana receives brief mention as one of several species of ringed or brightly colored snakes that are popularly considered venomous by local people in Guanajuato.] PDF available, 824 k.
Hibbitts, T. D., G. T. Salmon, and R. W. Bryson, Jr. 2003. New distributional records for the gray-banded kingsnake (Lampropeltis alterna) in Texas. Herpetological Review 34(4):393. [First report of this species from Crane and Crockett counties, Texas, as well as records that fill range gaps in Brewster, Culberson, Terrell, and Upton counties.] PDF available (27 k)
Hilken, G., and R. Schlepper. 1998. Der Lampropeltis mexicana-Komplex (Serpentes, Colubridae): naturgeschichte und terrarienhaltung. Salamandra 34(2):97–124. [In German, with English abstract and German/English figure captions/table legends. Without presenting any new data, authors regard this complex as comprised of L. mexicana (with 3 subspecies), L. ruthveni, and L. alterna (with blairi and alterna as separate subspecies—clearly in conflict with other evidence). Include color photographs of all forms, habitat photos, climatic data, and husbandry requirements.] PDF available (5.4 MB)
Holman, J. A. 1995. Pleistocene Amphibians and Reptiles in North America. Oxford University Press, New York. 243 pp. [Holman provides a useful compilation of the literature concerning Pleistocene herpetofauna in N America. He summarizes Parmley’s (1990) work, in which L. alterna was reported from the Fowlkes Cave site in Trans-Pecos Texas, noting that this is the only substantial Pleistocene herpetofauna from this part of Texas. Out-of-print. PDF available, relevant pages only (376 k)
Hoover, C. 1998. The U.S. Role in the International Live Reptile Trade: Amazon Tree Boas to Zululand Dwarf Chameleons. TRAFFIC North America, Washington, DC. 59 pp. [Important early report with statistics detailing legal exports of reptiles from the U.S. and Mexico, among other countries. Lampropeltis alterna is included in a list of species for which data were sought, but from 1983 to 1995, no alterna were exported from the U.S.] PDF available (9 MB)
Hornig, M. 2012. Lampropeltis alterna – Die Graugebänderte Königsnatter. Ophidia 6(2):19–24. [German-language overview of distribution, taxonomy, and husbandry requirements of Lampropeltis alterna.] PDF available (324 k)
Hubbs, B. 2004. Mountain Kings: A Collective Natural History of California, Sonoran, Durango and Queretaro Mountain Kingsnakes. Tricolor Books, Tempe, Arizona. 319 pp. [Distributional and natural history data for L. mexicana greeri and L. ruthveni are culled from published sources and personal communications from field collectors. Color and black/white photos of snakes and field sites are presented, along with range maps.] Available from the author (email@example.com).
Ingrasci, M. J., K. Setser, and J. Reyes Velasco. 2008. Geographic distribution: Lampropeltis alterna. Herpetological Review 39(3):371–372.[First report of alterna from the high-elevation eastern flank of the Sierra Madre Occidental in Durango, just north of the known range of L. greeri. Several specimens from this new locality are depicted in the Durango portion of the Alterna Gallery.] PDF available (288 k)
Kemnitz, H., and S. Kruse. 1986. Herping around the world. Northern California Herpetological Society Newsletter 6:1. [Description of herping at Rancho Santa Barbara, Durango, with specific reference to Lampropeltis greeri.] Copy wanted
Keogh, J. S. 1996. Evolution of the colubrid snake tribe Lampropeltini: a morphological perspective. Herpetologica 52(3):406–416. [Lampropeltis “mexicana” was included in this analysis of morphological characters to infer a phylogeny for New World ratsnakes = Lampropeltini. Based on museum catalogue numbers of specimens used, L. alterna and greeri were examined.] PDF available (4.8 MB)
Köhler, G. 2005. Incubation of Reptile Eggs. Krieger Publishing Co., Malabar, Florida. 214 pp. [Thorough compilation of published information concerning clutch sizes and incubation periods for hundreds of species, including mexicana group Lampropeltis. All of the relevant references are also listed.] Book in print, available from publisher.
Kölpin, T. 2006. Experimental examination of the combat behaviour of the snake Lampropeltis mexicana (Garman, 1884). In M. Vences, J. Köhler, T. Ziegler, and W. Böhme (eds.), Herpetologia Bonnensis II. Proceedings of the 13th Congress of the Societas Europaea Herpetologica, pp. 51–54. [A captive group of 13 males were used to study combat behavior based on 149 staged combat bouts. Although not stated in the paper, the study subjects were L. m. “thayeri” (= L. leonis) (M. Heyduk, pers. comm.)] PDF available (128 k)
Lasky, W. R. 1980. A visit to two western herpetologists. Herpetology 11(2):15–16. [Author reports on his visit to breeders Terry Lilley and Ernie Wagner, in California and Washington, respectively. Both collections contained recently collected examples of mexicana-group kingsnakes.] PDF available (428 k)
Lassiter, J. 2012. The kings of Mexico: care guide for the colorful Mexican kingsnakes. Reptiles Magazine 20(7):46–51. [Overview of species and variation, along with specific information for successful captive maintenance.] PDF available (836 k)
Lavín-Murcio, P. A., and D. Lazcano. 2010. Geographic distribution and conservation of the herpetofauna of northern Mexico. In L. D. Wilson, J. H. Townsend, and J. D. Johnson (eds.), Conservation of Mesoamerican Amphibians and Reptiles, pp. 275–301. Eagle Mountain Publishing, Eagle Mountain, Utah. [In a book chapter focusing on the herpetofauna of northern Mexico, Lampropeltis mexicana (presumably combining leonis and mexicana) is considered part of a group of species endemic to the Sierra Madre Oriental. Lampropeltis webbi, along with L. pyromelana, is included in a list of species inhabiting the Sierra Madre Occidental. Curiously, there is no mention of L. greeri (either as greeri or L. mexicana). Lampropeltis alterna is referenced here as well—as a Chihuahuan Desert-only species—apparently overlooking the recent report [Ingrasci et al. 2008] of this species at high elevation in the Sierra Madre Occidental of Durango.] In print and available from the publisher.
Lazcano Villarreal, D., J. Banda Leal, and R. D. Jacobo Galvan. 2010. Serpientes de Nuevo León. Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León, Monterrey, México. 502 pp., with numerous color photos, plus color range maps. In Spanish. [Both L. alterna and L. mexicana (= leonis) are treated by individual species accounts, with shaded range maps showing predicted distribution within Nuevo León. The images of alterna are of Texas specimens, though without locality specified. Those for the L. mexicana account include a mix of snakes field collected in Nuevo León (and therefore L. leonis) but also animals from San Luis Potosí (L. mexicana or L. m. mexicana from Valle de los Fantasmas, a taxon that is not known to occur in NL.] In print and available from the senior author.
Lazcano, D., J. Armado Contreras-Lozano, J. Gallardo-Valdez, C. García del Peña, and G. Castañeda. 2009. Notes on Mexican herpetofauna 11: Herpetological diversity in Sierra “Cerro de La Silla” (Saddleback Mountain), Nuevo León, Mexico. Bulletin of the Chicago Herpetological Society 44(2):21–27. [Cerro de La Silla is located in the northeastern segment of the Sierra Madre Oriental, and forms one backdrop to the large city of Monterrey. A single Lampropeltis alterna has been recorded from here, a region where the ranges of alterna and leonis converge.] PDF available (616 k)
Lazcano, D., M. A. Salinas-Camarena, and J. A. Contreras-Lozano. 2009. Notes on Mexican herpetofauna 12: Are road in Nuevo León, Mexico, taking their toll on snake populations? Bulletin of the Chicago Herpetological Society 44(5):69–75. [The authors present species lists and numbers of specimens (both AOR and DOR) found on specific roads in Nuevo Leon during the period 1993–2007. They report finding Lampropeltis leonis (as L. mexicana mexicana and L. mexicana thayeri; note that L. mexicana is not known to occur in the state of Nuevo Leon.] PDF available (344 k)
Lazcano, D., A. Sánchez-Almazán, C. García-de la Peña, G. Castañeda, and A. J. Contreras-Balderas. 2007. Notes on Mexican herpetofauna 9: Herpetofauna of a fragmented Juniperus forest in the State Natural Protected Area of San Juan y Puentes, Aramberri, Nuevo León, Mexico. Bulletin of the Chicago Herpetological Society 42(1):1–6. [Lampropeltis leonis (as L mexicana) is listed as potentially occurring within remnant Juniperus forest of southern Nuevo Leon.] PDF available (348 k)
Lemos Espinal, J. A., and H. M. Smith. 2007. Amphibians and Reptiles of the State of Coahuila, Mexico. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and CONABIO (Comisión Nacional para el Conocimiento y Uso de la Biodiversidad). 550 pp., with 285 color photos. In English and Spanish. [A thoroughly modern treatment of the herpetofauna of the northern Mexican state of Coahuila. Dot distribution maps and a list of specimen localities are provided for each species, including Lampropeltis alterna and L. mexicana (referring to the small portion of the range of L. leonis that extends into Coahuila). A number of high quality color photographs are presented for both of these species, although all depict material not from Coahuila.] In print and available from Bibliomania!.
Liner, E. A. 1964. Notes on four small herpetological collections from Mexico. I. Introduction, turtles and snakes. Southwestern Naturalist 8(4):221–227. [Report on the first specimen of Lampropeltis alterna from Nuevo León, later determined to be L. leonis (Salmon et al. 2004).] PDF available (1.1 MB)
Liner, E. A., and H. A. Dundee. 1977. Geographic distribution: Lampropeltis mexicana mexicana. Herpetological Review 8(3):85. [First report of this species from Zacatecas. In examining a photo of the specimen taken by E. A. Liner, it is clearly referrable to L. greeri rather than L. m. mexicana.] PDF available (80 k)
Liner, E. A., R. M. Johnson, and A. H. Chaney. 1976. Amphibian and reptile records and range extensions for Mexico. Herpetological Review 7(4):177. [Report a specimen of L. alterna from Nuevo Leon. However, this was later corrected by Salmon et al. (2004), who noted that this specimen is actually a L. leonis.] PDF available (468 k)
Lohrberg, B. 1991. Lampropeltis ruthveni (Blanchard 1921) — Erfahrungen bei der Haltung und Zucht. Sauria, Berlin 13(4):27–30. [Report of husbandry techniques and reproductive data for captive specimens.] PDF available (1.9 MB)
Lohrberg, B. 1991. Lampropeltis ruthveni (Blanchard 1921) — Experiences in keeping and breeding. Sauria (E), Berlin 1(2):27–29. [This is the English-language version of the previously listed paper.] PDF available (1.1 MB)
Loveridge, A. 1924. A new snake of the genus Lampropeltis. Occasional Papers of the Boston Society of Natural History 5:137–139. [Original description of L. thayeri, based on a specimen collected at Miquihuana, Tamaulipas. Loveridge clearly distinguishes this taxon from L. mexicana. Also reports on four recently-collected specimens of L. mexicana from near Alvarez, San Luis Potosí, which he erroneously (and inexplicably) refers to L. leonis.] PDF available (768 k)
Low, J. 1991. Lampropeltis: Kings of North American snakes. Reptile & Amphibian Magazine Jul./Aug.:26–33. [General overview of U.S. species of Lampropeltis, including alterna.] PDF available (1.5 MB)
Mara, W. P. 1995. Captive care and propagation of Lampropeltis ruthveni: Ruthven's kingsnake. Reptile & Amphibian Magazine, Sept./Oct. 1995:46–51. [Advice on captive care and breeding. Data on captive reproduction provided (from T. Dunham), including clutch sizes, fertility rates, incubation periods, and hatch rates. Color photos of normal and albino snakes.] PDF available (2.6 MB)
Maresova, J., E. Landová, and D. Frynta. 2009. What makes some species of milk snakes more attractive to humans than others? Theory in Biosciences 128:227–235. [The authors used color photographs of 54 taxa of “milk snakes” (actually all forms of Lampropeltis) to assess humans’ aesthetic rankings and evaluated results in the context of aposematic signaling and mimicry.] PDF available (312 k)
Markel, R. G. 1990. Kingsnakes and Milk Snakes. TFH Publications. Neptune City, New Jersey. 144 pp. [Hobbyist-oriented publication with numerous color photographs (nearly all of captive animals), as well as beautifully rendered, colored drawings of head and mid-body of every form of Lampropeltis (including L. alterna, L. mexicana, and L. ruthveni). Includes small, generalized range maps for each species. The account for L. triangulum arcifera includes range and elevational descriptions that obviously include L. ruthveni, repeating the errors in Williams (1988).] Out of Print.
Markel, R. G. 1995. Kingsnakes: Care & Breeding in Captivity. TFH Publications, Neptune, New Jersey. 64 pp. [A hobbyist-oriented introduction to “kingsnakes,” which for this work includes the species alterna, calligaster, getula, mexicana, and ruthveni. Color photos of all are included, many of which were also published in Markel’s more comprehensive treatment (1990). The information is very basic, culled largely from his earlier work. Markel states that “Gray-banded Kings are becoming rarer and rarer due to the droves of collectors who travel to their locality each year and literally grab dozens of them.”] Out-of-print, available from used book sellers.
Markel, R. G., and R. D. Bartlett. 1995. Kingsnakes and Milksnakes: A Complete Owner’s Manual. Barron’s Educational Series, Inc., Hauppauge, New York. 94 pp. [A good overview of herpetoculture requirements of the various forms of Lampropeltis. Included are brief species accounts for each of the mexicana-group species, as well as photographs of alterna, leonis, mexicana, and ruthveni. Reproductive data (clutch size, incubation time, etc.) are provided for alterna, greeri, leonis, mexicana, and ruthveni but data sources are not indicated.] Out-of-print, available from used book sellers.
Martín del Campo, R. 1940. Los vertebrados de Pátzcuaro. Anales del Instituto de Biologia de la Universidad Nacional de Mexico 11(2):417–513. [Lampropeltis ruthveni is listed among vertebrates known to occur in the Pátzcuaro region of northern Michoacan.] Copy wanted
Mattison, C. 1988. Keeping and Breeding Snakes. Blandford Press, London. 184 pp. [Includes information and/or photographs of alterna, greeri, leonis, mexicana, and ruthveni.] Out-of-print, available from used book sellers.
Mattison, C. 1990. A–Z of Snake Keeping. Sterling Publishing Co., Inc., New York. 143 pp. [Includes information and/or photographs of alterna, greeri, leonis, mexicana, and ruthveni.] Out-of-print, available from used book sellers.
Mattison, C. 1995. The Encyclopedia of Snakes. Facts on File, Inc., New York. 256 pp. [Brief references to L. alterna, leonis, mexicana, and ruthveni, including a color photo of a L. mexicana.] Available.
Mattison, C. 1998. The Nuevo Leon kingsnake, Lampropeltis mexicana thayeri. Reptilia (GB), No. 2 (March/April):43–46. [Overview of husbandry requirements, along with an explanation of various color/pattern morphs.] PDF available (2 MB)
McCoy, C. J. 1984. Ecological and zoogeographical relationships of amphibians and reptiles of the Cuatro Ciénegas Basin. Journal of the Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science 19:49–59. [Lampropeltis alterna is considered to belong to a group of herpetofaunal species confined to the Chihuahuan Desert.] PDF available (3.2 MB)
McCranie, J. R., and L. D. Wilson. 1987. The biogeography of the herpetofauna of the pine-oak woodlands of the Sierra Madre Occidental of México. Milwaukee Public Museum Contributions in Biology and Geology No. 72, 30 pp. [Authors allocate L. mexicana [= L. greeri] to a Pine-Oak Woodland Assemblage, although of peripheral occurrence. See also p. 24. Mention that L. mexicana [= L. greeri] is part of a small group that is apparently restricted to southern Durango.] PDF available (7.5 MB).
McCranie, J. R., and L. D. Wilson. 2001. The herpetofauna of the Mexican state of Aguascalientes. Courier Forschungsinstitut Senckenberg, CFS 230. [Lampropeltis mexicana [presumably in the form of greeri] is included in a list of species not yet recorded from Aguascalientes but expected to occur there, especially in the numerous rocky canyons of the northwestern portion of the state.] PDF available, relevant pages only (344 k)
McKann, B. 1985. Texas serpents. Part Two: nonvenomous. Texas Parks and Wildlife 43(6):14–19. [Popular introduction of non-venomous snakes of Texas, noting that the state attracts numerous scientists and others each year to observe the diverse snake fauna, including Lampropeltis alterna.] PDF available (2.4 MB)
Mecham, J. S. 1977 (1978). The biogeographical relationships of the amphibians and reptiles of the Guadalupe Mountains. In R. H. Wauer and D. H. Riskind (eds.), Transactions of the Symposium on the Biological Resources of the Chihuahuan Desert Region, United States and Mexico, pp. 169–179. U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service Transactions and Proceedings Series no. 3. [The Guadalupe Mountains of New Mexico and Texas are notable for their high herpetofaunal species diversity. This range includes species groups belonging to four principal biotic provinces. Lampropeltis alterna (considered “rare” here) is part of the Chihuahuan Province, species of which comprise ca. 18% of the herpetofauna of this range.] PDF available (1.2 MB)
Mecham, J. S., and W. W. Milstead. 1949. Lampropeltis alterna from Pecos County, Texas. Herpetologica 5:140. [Report of the first alterna specimen from Pecos County, representing only the fourth known locality for this species in Texas.] PDF available (472 k)
Mehrtens, J. M. 1987. Living Snakes of the World in Color. Sterling Publishing Co., New York. 480 pp. [Author includes two photos of L. m. “thayeri”, although the caption for one—which quite clearly is a classic leonis-phase—erroneously refers to it as “L. m. greeri—collected in the State of Guerrero.” Of course the snake in the photograph is neither greeri nor from Guerrero (as there are no L. mexicana group snakes currently known from that state). Apparently, this figure depicts a wild-caught L. leonis from Chorro Canyon near the Coahuila-Nuevo Leon border. A live alterna is figured, but without any locality information; however, the snake was collected from south of Alpine, Brewster Co., Texas (G. T. Salmon, pers. comm.)] PDF available, relevant pages only (572 k)
Mendoza-Quijano, F., S. A. Mejenes López, V. H. Reynoso-Rosales, M. A. Estrada Hernández, and M. Rodríguez Blanco. 2001. Anfibios y reptiles de la sierra de Santa Rosa, Guanajuato: cien años después. Anales del Instituto de Biología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Serie Zoología 72(2):233–243. [This is a report of field collections made in the Sierra Santa Rosa, roughly 100 years after the work of Alfredo Dugès. Lampropeltis mexicana is included in an annotated list of the herpetofauna.] PDF available (1.6 MB)
Merker, G., and W. Broda, Jr. 1993. Geographic variation in the gray-banded kingsnake, Lampropeltis alterna. Northern California Herpetological Society, Davis, California. [Poster, 18 x 24 inches, with 20 color photos of alterna from various localities in Texas.] Out-of-print
Merker, G., and W. Broda, Jr. 1998. Geographic variation in the gray-banded kingsnake, Lampropeltis alterna. 2nd ed. Northern California Herpetological Society, Davis, California. [Poster, 18 x 24 inches, with 20 color photos of alterna from various localities in Texas. Virtually the same as the first edition, with a single substituted photo and superior print quality.] Available from publisher
Merker, G., and C. Merker. 1994. Bold and beautiful: the kingsnake. Reptiles Magazine 1(5):44–50, 52–61. [Popular overview of Lampropeltis with an emphasis on husbandry.] PDF available (5.9 MB)
Merker, G., and C. Merker. 1996. The mystical gray-banded: gem of North American kingsnakes. Reptiles Magazine 4(7):60–72, 74–85. [An excellent popular overview of the natural history of Lampropeltis alterna, along with more detailed information concerning husbandry and propagation. In an editorial oversight (and unknown to the authors at the time), the magazine’s editors inserted a two-page color photo of a Lampropeltis leonis.] PDF available (10.5 MB)
Merker, G., and C. Merker. 1998. Colubrid breeding in captivity. Reptiles Magazine 6(4):48–61. [Mostly a how-to article for breeding popular North American species, including Lampropeltis alterna and other kingsnakes.] PDF available (6.2 MB)
Merker, G., and C. Merker. 1998. Care of the gray-banded kingsnake in captivity. Kingsnake.com Alterna Page. [Thorough introduction to the captive care of alterna.] Available online
Merker, G., and C. Merker. 2000a. The gray-banded kingsnake: a herpetoculturist’s obsession. Reptile & Amphibian Hobbyist 5(5):34–45. [An excellent popular overview of the natural history of Lampropeltis alterna, along with more detailed information concerning husbandry and propagation.] PDF available (12.2 MB)
Merker, G., and C. Merker. 2000b. Tricks of the trade: getting that difficult feeder to eat. Reptile & Amphibian Hobbyist 5(10):8–12, 14–15. [Just as the title suggests, with Lampropeltis alterna as a prime example of snakes that start out as difficult feeders in captivity.] PDF available (5.4 MB)
Merker, G., and C. Merker. 2003. Strategies for the long-term care of captive snakes. Reptiles Magazine 11(12):42–44, 46, 48–51. [Review of basic requirements to ensure long-lived captive snakes, including Lampropeltis alterna and other kingsnakes.] PDF available (3.5 MB)
Merker, G., and W. Merker. 2005. Alterna: The Gray-Banded Kingsnake. LM Digital. 80 pp. [A visually stunning photographic natural history of Lampropeltis alterna within the U.S. portion of the range. Includes photographs depicting the impressive pattern variation characteristic of this species, as well as images of the places where these snakes live in West Texas. The authors discuss Garstka’s mimicry hypothesis, especially in light of the pattern convergence between the alterna-morph and the broadly sympatric Mottled Rock Rattlesnake (Crotalus l. lepidus).] In print, available from author
Merker, G., and C. Merker. 2008. Royal reptiles: breeding gray-banded kingsnakes. Reptiles Magazine 16(4):30–32. [Overview of techniques for breeding Lampropeltis alterna.] PDF available (1.3 MB)
Miller, D. J. 1979. A Life History Study of the Gray-Banded Kingsnake, Lampropeltis mexicana alterna, in Texas. Chihuahuan Desert Research Institute, Contribution No. 87. 48 pp. [This is a published copy of Miller’s master’s thesis from Sul Ross State University, and was considered a landmark publication at the time as it brought together a scattered literature as well as Miller’s own extensive field experience with this species.] PDF available (9 MB)
Milstead, W. W., J. S. Mecham, and H. McClintock. 1950. The amphibians and reptiles of the Stockton Plateau in northern Terrell County, Texas. Texas Journal of Science 2(4):543–562. [Report of a herpetofaunal survey of the Stockton Plateau, which lies at the northeastern margin of the Chihuahuan biotic province. A single Lampropeltis alterna was obtained from a mesquite-creosote plant community and was reported elsewhere (Mecham and Milstead 1949).] PDF available (8.1 MB)
Minton, S. A., Jr. 1958 (1959). Observations on amphibians and reptiles of the Big Bend Region of Texas. Southwestern Naturalist 3:28–54. [Minton and his family spent six months during 1955 living in the Big Bend region, observing and collecting herpetofaunal specimens. Although no L. alterna were found, Minton discusses this species in terms of its distributional affinities, regarding it as a Big Bend endemic. He also provides a useful discussion of the region’s climate, vegetation, and landforms. On a side note, this paper was originally submitted to the journal Herpetologica, where it was rejected.] PDF available (4.2 MB)
Morafka, D. J. 1977. A Biogeographical Analysis of the Chihuahuan Desert through its Herpetofauna. Dr. W. Junk bv Publishers, The Hague. 313 pp. [Lampropeltis mexicana (in a broad sense, inclusive of L. alterna, greeri, thayeri, mexicana) is regarded as a species peripheral to the Chihuahuan Desert. Morafka places L. mexicana within an ecogeographic group including Eumeces brevirostris, Sceloporus jarrovii, Urosaurus ornatus, Tantilla rubra, T. wilcoxi, Crotalus lepidus, and C. molossus. A point-locality map plots the relatively few records available and offers hypothetical distributional boundaries.] PDF available, relevant pages only (1.2 MB)
Murphy, J. B., B. W. Tryon, and B. J. Brecke. 1978. An inventory of reproduction and social behavior in captive gray-banded kingsnakes, Lampropeltis mexicana alterna (Brown). Herpetologica 34(1):84–93. [Report of reproductive behavior in a captive colony of wild-caught adult alterna. First report of male-male combat. Details of courtship and copulation are provided, along with data for clutch size, egg dimensions, and hatchlings.] PDF available (4.9 MB)
Murphy, M. 2001. Picky eaters. Reptiles Magazine 9(12):62–67. [Detailed tips on feeding hatchling Lampropeltis alterna.] PDF available (2.6 MB)
Olson, R. E. 1973. Variation in the canyon lizard, Sceloporus merriami Stejneger. Herpetologica 29:116–127. [Lampropeltis alterna is briefly noted as belonging to a group of Chihuahuan Province herpetofaunal species whose ranges extend to the western edge of the Edwards Plateau.] PDF available (2.2 MB)
Osborne, S. T. 1983. Lampropeltis mexicana thayeri: coloration. Herpetological Review 14(4):120. [Report on clutch of eggs obtained from locality-matched adults (from near Galeana, NL) suggests that the melanistic morph follows a simple Mendelian ratio for recessive traits.] PDF available (184 k)
Painter, C. W., P. W. Hyder, and G. Swinford. 1992. Three species new to the herpetofauna of New Mexico. Herpetological Review 23(2):62. [First confirmed report of Lampropeltis alterna for New Mexico, based on a snake found in the Guadalupe Mountains.] PDF available (524 k)
Painter, C. W., C. L. Hayes, and J. N. Stuart. 2002. Recovery and conservation of the Gray-Banded Kingsnake. New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, Conservation Services Division, Santa Fe. 22 pp. [Lampropeltis alterna occupies a very limited area in extreme southeastern New Mexico, and the species is known from very few specimens in that state. It is listed by the New Mexico State Game Commission as “Endangered.” Consequently, state conservation biologists drafted this document to review the natural history and status of the species in New Mexico and to develop conservation plans. During 65 person-days of searching for this species in New Mexico, no specimens were located. Curiously, the authors conclude that “Unregulated take … by commercial and private collectors is the most significant threat to the species in New Mexico.”] PDF available (88 k)
Parmley, D. 1990. Late Pleistocene snakes from Fowlkes Cave, Culberson County, Texas. Journal of Herpetology 24(3):266–274. [Numerous snake vertebrae, including those of L. alterna, were recovered from a limestone sinkhole (a natural pitfall) located in the Trans-Pecos region. The site comprises fossils from a largely modern local fauna, but also includes species characteristic of more mesic areas indicating a wetter climate here during the late Pleistocene. Parmley includes Opheodrys aestivus (Rough Green Snake) based on fossil remains, and uses this as an example of a mesic-adapted species that no longer occurs in this region. However, Opheodrys has been found in recent times in the immediate vicinity of the Fowlkes Cave site (J. Forks, pers. comm.)] PDF available (2.8 MB)
Pfennig, D. W., and S. P. Mullen. 2010. Mimics without models: causes and consequences of allopatry in Batesian mimicry complexes. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 277:2577–2585. [Authors present examples of potential allopatric mimicry (venomous models and their harmless mimics occupy different ranges)—a phenomenon that seems to violate classical mimicry theory. They offer explanations to account for the development and persistence of such systems, and include Lampropeltis elapsoides, L. pyromelana, L. triangulum, and L. zonata as herpetological examples of allopatric mimics.] PDF available (516 k)
Porras, L. 1992. Gray-banded kingsnake, Lampropeltis alterna, predation. Intermontanus 1(4):3. [Report of attempted predation on an alterna by a coyote in the Christmas Mountains of west Texas.] PDF available (2 MB)
Prestridge, H. L. L. A. Fitzgerald, and T. J. Hibbitts. 2011. Trade in non-native amphibians and reptiles in Texas: lessons for better monitoring and implications for species introductions. Herpetological Conservation and Biology 6(3):324–339. [Based on surveys from 2002–2008, authors tabulated commercial activity associated with species of amphibians and reptiles not native to Texas. Lampropeltis leonis (as L. mexicana thayeri) is included in the list of species imported.] PDF available (680 k)
Price, M. S., C. R. Harrison, and D. Lazcano. 2012. Geographic distribution: Lampropeltis alterna. Herpetological Review 43(1):106. [Report of L. alterna from the Sierra Pedernales, located between Monclova and Monterrey, adding an important record for a part of the range where very few alterna have been found.] PDF available (176 k)
Pyron, R. A., and F. T. Burbrink. 2009a. Neogene diversification and taxonomic stability in the snake tribe Lampropeltini (Serpentes: Colubridae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 52:524–529. [Lampropeltis alterna, L. mexicana, and L. ruthveni, as well as L. pyromelana and L. zonata, are included in this assessment of the timing of species formation within the Lampropeltini (Lampropeltis, Pantherophis, Pituophis, et al.). The authors conclude that most species in this group predate the Pleistocene, negating the role of Pleistocene glacial cycles as a driving force in lineage formation.] PDF available (300 k)
Pyron, R. A., and F. T. Burbrink. 2009b. Can the Tropical Conservatism Hypothesis explain temperate species richness patterns? An inverse latitudinal biodiversity gradient in the New World snake tribe Lampropeltini. Global Ecology and Biogeography DOI: 10.1111/j.1466-8238.2009.00462.x. [Lampropeltis alterna, L. mexicana, and L. ruthveni, as well as L. pyromelana and L. zonata, are included in an analysis of species richness patterns over the geographic extent of the Lampropeltini (Lampropeltis, Pantherophis, Pituophis, et al.)] PDF available (364 k)
Pyron, R. A., and F. T. Burbrink. 2009c. Body size as a primary determinant of ecomorphological diversification and the evolution of mimicry in the lampropeltinine snakes (Serpentes: Colubridae). Journal of Evolutionary Biology 22:2057–2067. [Lampropeltis alterna, L. mexicana, and L. ruthveni, as well as L. pyromelana and L. zonata, are included in an examination of trends in body size and mimetic color patterns in Lampropeltini. For purposes of this analysis, the authors accept the premise of Gartska (1982) that color pattern in mexicana-group species reflects mimicry of coralsnakes and rattlesnakes.] PDF available (364 k)
Pyron, R. A., and F. T. Burbrink. 2010. How does ecological opportunity influence rates of speciation, extinction, and morphological diversification in New World ratsnakes (tribe Lampropeltini)? Evolution doi: 10.1111/j.1558-5646.2009.00888.x. [Lampropeltis alterna, L. mexicana, and L. ruthveni, as well as L. pyromelana and L. zonata, are included in an examination of speciation rate models for the Lampropeltini. The authors conclude that an Ecological Opportunity Hypothesis best fits the pattern observed in the New World ratsnakes (= Lampropeltini). This scenario posits that dispersal of the ancestors of this group into the New World—into largely unoccupied ecological niches—was accompanied by rapid clade formation.] PDF available (364 k)
Pyron, R. A., F. T. Burbrink. G. R. Colli, A. Nieto Montes de Oca, L. J. Vitt, C. A. Kuczynski, and J. J. Wiens. 2011. The phylogeny of advanced snakes (Colubroidea), with discovery of a new subfamily and comparison of support methods for likelihood trees. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 58:329–342. [Lampropeltis alterna, L. mexicana, and L. ruthveni, as well as L. pyromelana and L. zonata, are included in a large-scale phylogenetic study based on previously published mtDNA sequence data in Bryson et al. 2007.] PDF available (1 MB)
Quintero-Díaz, González Adame, J. Vásquez-Díaz, J. J. Sigala Rodríguez, R. W. Bryson, Jr., and G. T. Salmon 2001. Geographic distribution: Lampropeltis mexicana. Herpetological Review 32(4):278. [First report of L. mexicana greeri from the state of Aguascalientes.] PDF available (416 k)
Raun, G. G. 1965. A Guide to Texas Snakes. Museum Notes No. 9, Texas Memorial Museum, Austin. 85 pp. [An early and modest introduction to Texas snakes, including a single paragraph for Lampropeltis alterna (as L. mexicana).] PDF available, relevant pages only (344 k)
Raun, G. G., and F. R. Gehlbach. 1972. Amphibians and Reptiles in Texas: Taxonomic Synopsis, Bibliography, County Distribution Maps. Dallas Museum of Natural History Bulletin No. 2. ii + 61 pp. + 71 map pages. [The first comprehensive treatment of the Texas herpetofauna since Brown (1950). Lampropeltis alterna (as L. mexicana) is included, but its limited range did not merit a range map.] Out-of-print. PDF available, relevant pages only (2.2 MB)
Rentfro, G. 1996. Race relations. Notes from NOAH 23(11):9–11. [Critical look at the focus among breeders on “locality” animals, with L. alterna used to illustrate the author’s points.] PDF available (364 k)
Retes, D. F. 1989. A non-scientific (behavioral) approach to reptile reproduction. Tucson Herpetological Society Newsletter 2(6):47–50. [Transcript of a talk given at a meeting of the Tucson Herpetological Society on 18 April 1989. One of the pioneers of successful breeding of Lampropeltis and other colubrid snakes offers up his accumulated wisdom. Minor reference to “thayeri” in noting the absence of communal egg-laying in captivity, in contrast to L. pyromelana.] PDF available (508 k)
Rhoads, D. D., and G. T. Salmon. 2012. A much-belated obituary of an important American zoo collector, with discussion of the type locality for Bogertophis subocularis and Lampropeltis alterna. Herpetological Review 43(2):270–273. [New information about Edmund Meyenburg, the collector of the type specimens of Bogertophis subocularis and Lampropeltis alterna, is presented. Based on Meyenburg’s collecting activities together with information concerning geographical variation in color patterns of these snakes, the authors restrict the type locality to a specific area of the Davis Mountains.] PDF available (2.2 MB).
Rodríguez-Robles, J. A., D. F. Denardo, and R. E. Staub. 1999. Phylogeography of the California mountain kingsnake, Lampropeltis zonata (Colubridae). Molecular Ecology 8:1923–1934. [A single specimen of L. mexicana, locality unknown, was used as an outgroup taxon in this survey of mtDNA variation in zonata.] PDF available (712 k)
Rossi, J. V., and R. Rossi. 1995. Snakes of the United States and Canada: Keeping Them Healthy in Captivity. Volume 2 Western Area. Krieger Publishing Co., Malabar, Florida. 325 pp. [This work was novel in that it included many native species seldom maintained in captivity. The original two-volume set has been updated into a single volume, available from the publisher. PDF of the 1995, out-of-print edition, is available, relevant pages only (1.4 MB)
Roth-Monzón, A. J., A. A. Mendoza-Hernández, and O. A. Flores-Villela. 2011. Lampropeltis ruthveni (Serpentes: Colubridae) from the state of Hidalgo, Mexico. Southwestern Naturalist 56(3):431–431. [First report of L. ruthveni from the state of Hidalgo in eastern-central Mexico.] PDF available (40 k)
Salmon, G. T., R. W. Bryson, Jr., and D. Lazcano. 2001. Geographic distribution: Lampropeltis mexicana. Herpetological Review 32(2):123. [Report range extension onto the eastern versant of the Sierra Madre Oriental, and new low elevation record of 1036 m. Although not mentioned in text, this specimen was a tricolor phase thayeri (= leonis).] PDF available (212 k)
Salmon, G. T., E. A. Liner, J. E. Forks, and D. Lazcano. 2004. Geographic distribution: Lampropeltis alterna. Herpetological Review 35(3):292. [First report of L. alterna for Nuevo Leon, correcting previous reports (Liner 1964, 1976) which actually referred to L. mexicana.] PDF available (20 k)
Salmon, G. T., W. F. Holmstrom, Jr., B. W. Tryon, and G. P. Merker. 1997. Longevity records for the gray-banded kingsnake, Lampropeltis alterna. Bulletin of the Chicago Herpetological Society 32(7):152–153. [Report of captive longevity records for L. alterna in U.S. collections.] PDF available (308 k)
Samuelson, P. 2000. Louie Porras: reflections of a herpetologist (Part I). Reptiles Magazine 8(12):10–12, 14, 16, 18, 20–22, 24–25. [In this transcribed interview, Porras notes that in 1974 his field crew collected the first Lampropeltis greeri since the type specimen, and that this group became the captive founder stock through the San Diego Zoo.] PDF available (4.1 MB)
Savage, R., and R. W. Hansen. 2009. Geographic distribution: Lampropeltis mexicana. Herpetological Review 40(1):114–115. [Northward range extension of greeri on the eastern slope of the Sierra Madre Occidental, bringing this species tantalizing close to populations of L. alterna from similar habitat reported by Ingrasci et al. (2008). Photos of this specimen and habitat are available in the Greeri Gallery.] PDF available (151 k; bundled with Hansen & Bryson 2009)
Schmidt, K. P., and D. D. Davis. 1941. Field Book of Snakes of the United States and Canada. G. P. Putnam’s Sons, New York. 365 pp. [An early and very popular field guide that remained useful for many years following its publication. At the time, Lampropeltis alterna was known from only five specimens, and L. “blairi” had not been described.] PDF available, relevant pages only (328 k)
Schmidt, K. P., and D. W. Owens. 1944. Amphibians and reptiles of northern Coahuila, Mexico. Zoological Series of Field Museum of Natural History 29(6):97–115. [Report of material obtained by Ernest G. Marsh, Jr. during 1938– 39 in northern Mexico, including a single specimen of Lampropeltis alterna from Cuatro Cienegas, Coahuila. Although Marsh was the first to collect alterna in Mexico, Hobart Smith's subsequent discovery made it into print (1941) several years before the Schmidt and Owens report).] PDF available (5 MB)
Scudday, J. F. 1965. Another Lampropeltis alterna in Brewster County, Texas. Southwestern Naturalist 10(1):69. [Report of a gravid female collected in 1964 from south of Alpine, bridging a gap in the known distribution between the Davis Mountains and Chisos Mountains.] PDF available (188 k)
Secor, S. M. 1990. Reproductive and combat behavior of the Mexican Kingsnake, Lampropeltis mexicana. Journal of Herpetology 24(2):217–221. [Description of courtship/mating behavior in captive L. mexicana. First report of male-male combat in this species as well. Based on the figures used (line drawings), the specimens appeared to be representatives of leonis.] PDF available (2 MB)
Seigel, R. A., and H. S. Fitch. 1984. Ecological patterns of relative clutch mass in snakes. Oecologia (Berlin) 61:293–301. [Authors examined potential relationships between relative clutch mass and ecologically-important traits such as foraging mode and escape strategies. Data from a single clutch of L. alterna (based on Assetto 1978) was included in the analysis.] PDF available (1.1 MB)
Seigel, R. A., H. S. Fitch, and N. B. Ford. 1986. Variation in relative clutch mass in snakes among and within species. Herpetologica 42(2):179–185. [Authors examined relationships between relative clutch mass and female body size, including previously published data (from Assetto 1978) for a single clutch of L. alterna.] PDF available (368 k)
Slavens, F. L., and K. Slavens. 2000. Reptiles and Amphibians in Captivity – Breeding – Longevity and Inventory Current January 1, 1999. Slaveware, Seattle, Washington. 400 pp. [This series began in 1976, and was updated annually from 1980 through 2000. The last printed edition appeared in 2000, but longevity records continued to be gathered until 2002. Although new information was not incorporated after 2002, all of the accumulated information continues to be made available online by Slavens as a service to the herpetological community. The online version provides longevity data for captive alterna, greeri, leonis (as thayeri), mexicana, and ruthveni.] Link
Smith, H. M. 1941. Lampropeltis alterna from Mexico. Copeia 1941(2):112. [First report of L. alterna from Mexico, and only the third known specimen of this species. Notably, the snake was found in mid-October in the crack of a boulder on a hillside west of Saltillo, Coahuila.] PDF available (136 k)
Smith, H. M. 1942. Remarks on the Mexican kingsnakes of the triangulum group. Proceedings of the Rochester Academy of Sciences 8:197–207. [Smith includes two figures—dorsal and ventral views—of the type specimen of Oreophis boulengeri Dugès (= L. mexicana); these are the same figures as printed in Smith and Necker 1943. Smith examined the series of 12 known specimens of L. mexicana from San Luis Potosí, comparing these to the single Dugès specimen from Guanajuato, finding general pattern similarities. He suggests that hemipenial characters place L. mexicana within the triangulum group. Smith elaborates on the specimen of L. alterna he obtained from just west of Saltillo, Coahuila (see Smith 1941 for details), and on the basis of hemipenial morphology and color pattern, acknowledges the relationship with L. mexicana, and further suggests that L. leonis (at this time known from but a single specimen) belongs with these two in a “mexicana subgroup.” Meanwhile, L. ruthveni and thayeri are placed in a “pyromelana subgroup” with knoblochi (then considered a full species), pyromelana, and zonata.] PDF available (4.3 MB).
Smith, H. M. 1943. Summary of the collections of snakes and crocodilians made in Mexico under the Walter Rathbone Bacon Traveling Scholarship. Proceedings of the United States National Museum 93(3169):393–504. [Smith prepared this report following a lengthy collecting trip (1938–1940) undertaken in Mexico. The report cover the specimens he obtained during this time, as well as noting others already in the National Museum of Natural History collection. Lampropeltis alterna is listed (but reported earlier, see Smith 1941), as is the type specimen of L. ruthveni (see Blanchard 1920).] PDF available, relevant pages only (1.5 MB)
Smith, H. M. 1944. Snakes of the Hoogstraal Expeditions to northern Mexico. Zool. Ser. Field Mus. Nat. Hist. 29(8):135–152. [An early attempt to make sense of the phylogeny of the mexicana group of snakes. Reports the collection of 3 specimens of L. leonis (leonis morphs), under the name L. thayeri, from near Galeana, which until this time was represented only by the type specimen. Examination of this new material caused Smith to modify composition of his “mexicana subgroup” to include thayeri, leonis, alterna, and mexicana.] PDF available, relevant pages only (1.2 MB)
Smith, H. M., and E. D. Brodie, Jr. 1982. Reptiles of North America: A Guide to Field Identification. Golden Press, New York. 240 pp. [Brief field-guide treatment of L. alterna (as L. m. alterna), includes two color illustrations and a tiny range map. This introductory pocket-sized guide was first issued in 1982 and continues to be reprinted, but with new covers, and is now published by St. Martin’s Press.] PDF available, relevant pages only (1.5 MB)
Smith, H. M., and H. K. Buechner. 1947. The influence of the Balcones Escarpment on the distribution of amphibians and reptiles in Texas. Bulletin of the Chicago Academy of Sciences 8(1):1–16. [Discussion of the role of the Balcones Escarpment (marking the eastern boundary of the Edwards Plateau) in influencing distribution of herpetofauna in Texas. Lampropeltis alterna is part of a group of snakes (others include Bogertophis subocularis, Trimorphodon vilkonsonii, Crotalus lepidus, C. scutulatus) whose ranges lie to the west on the Edwards Plateau but which do not reach the Escarpment.] PDF available (572 k)
Smith, H. M., and W. L. Necker. 1943 (1944). Alfredo Duges’ types of Mexican reptiles and amphibians. Anales de la Escuela Nacional de Ciencias Biologicas 3(1–2):179–233. [Of note is Smith’s reexamination of the type specimen of Duges’ Oreophis boulengeri (= Lampropeltis mexicana Garman, fide Dunn 1922), including a b/w photo, revealing this specimen to be rather boldly marked (more so than specimens of mexicana from the Valle de los Fantasmas in San Luis Potosí), although this might be an artifact of preservation.] PDF available, relevant pages only (2.5 MB)
Smith, H. M., and R. B. Smith. 1969. Early Foundations of Mexican Herpetology: An Annotated and Indexed Bibliography of the Herpetological Publications of Alfredo Dugès, 1826–1910. University of Illinois Press, Urbana. 85 pp. [Dugès, a native Frenchman who moved to México in 1853, was the father of Mexican herpetology. In this work, the Smiths add to an earlier herpetological bibliography of Dugès prepared by Martín del Campo (1937). For students of Mexican Lampropeltis, Dugès is notable for his description of Oreophis boulengeri from Guanajuato (see Dugès  reference above for details and a pdf), later synonymized with Lampropeltis mexicana by Dunn (1922).] Out-of-print.
Smith, H. M., and E. H. Taylor. 1945. An Annotated Checklist and Key to the Snakes of Mexico. United States National Museum, Bulletin 187, iv + 239 pp. [This is the first of Smith & Taylor’s classic three-volume series on the herpetofauna of Mexico, often simply referred to as the “Smith-Taylor checklists.” At the time of their publication, these volumes represented the state of our knowledge, and set the stage for the resurgence of interest by researchers that ensued in the following decades. Although the checklists have been supplanted by more modern works, they remain historically important and are essential references for students of Mexican herpetofauna. The original volumes have long been out-of-print, and these were re-issued in 1966 by Eric Lundberg, accompanied by a 29-page preface to the reprint. However, even the reprinted edition is out-of-print. Both the original and reprint are readily available through used booksellers.] PDF available, relevant pages only (2.5 MB)
Smith, H. M., and E. H. Taylor. 1950. Type localities of Mexican reptiles and amphibians. University of Kansas Science Bulletin 33(8):313–380. [This compilation of type localities followed the publication of the Smith & Taylor checklists (1945–1950). Four species of mexicana-group snakes were recognized: leonis, mexicana, ruthveni, thayeri.] PDF available, relevant pages only (745 k)
Snider, A. T., and J. K. Bowler. 1992. Longevity of Reptiles and Amphibians in North American Collections. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, Lawrence, Kansas. 40 pp. [In a survey of zoo and other institutional live collections, the longevity record for Lampropeltis alterna was reported to be 15 years, 2 months for a specimen in the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle. The first edition of this work (Bowler 1977) did not include any species belong to the mexicana complex. PDF available, relevant pages only (696 k)
Stebbins, R. C. 2003. A Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians, 3rd ed. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, Massachusetts. 533 pp. Book in print, available from publisher. PDF available, relevant pages only (3.1 MB)
Stoops, E. D., and A. Wright. 1992. Snakes and Other Reptiles of the Southwest: A User-Friendly Guide to Snakes, Lizards and Turtles. Golden West Publishers, Phoenix, Arizona. 115 pp. [A very basic guide to reptiles of the southwestern U.S. The only two photographs labeled as Gray-banded Kingsnakes are both in error; these appear instead to be a California Mountain Kingsnake (L. zonata) and a hybrid mexicana-complex snake (looking to be L. greeri crossed either with alterna or perhaps leonis).] Out-of-print. PDF available, relevant pages only (1.1 MB)
Switak, K. H. 1984. The Life of Desert Reptiles and Amphibians. Published by the author, San Francisco, California. 32 pp. [Brief account of basic requirements for captive care of Lampropeltis alterna.] Out-of-print. PDF available, relevant pages only (584 k)
Tanner, W. W. 1953. A study of taxonomy and phylogeny of Lampropeltis pyromelana Cope. The Great Basin Naturalist 13(1–2):47–66. [Within a rather speculative discussion of the phylogeny of L. pyromelana, Tanner suggests that L. mexicana originated in the eastern part of the Central Plateau of Mexico. He briefly reiterates Smith’s (1942) hypothetical grouping of ruthveni and thayeri in a “pyromelana” subgroup.] PDF available (6 MB)
Tanzer, E. C. 1970. Polymorphism in the mexicana complex of kingsnakes, with notes on their natural history. Herpetologica 26(4):419–428. [Tanzer followed Gehlbach’s construction of L. mexicana as a broadly defined taxon, inclusive of alterna, mexicana (+greeri), and thayeri. Importantly, Tanzer demonstrated that L. mexicana alterna and L. mexicana blairi were pattern morphs of the same species, and that the name alterna had priority. He also reported on the first specimen of alterna from Durango, suggesting that pattern element similarities between this specimen and the single known example of L. leonis “suggests that leonis might be part of the mexicana complex.” Tanzer’s discovery of extensive pattern variation across Texas populations of alterna led him to speculate about the potential for such phenomena elsewhere in the range of L. mexicana, and that L. thayeri might be a blairi phase of alterna. Although this suggestion might seem farfetched to modern students of the group, Tanzer and his contemporaries were severely hampered by the scarcity of specimens available for study. Interestingly, given what we now know of pattern diversity in L. leonis, his comment about the potential for polymorphism in other mexicana seems wonderfully insightful.] PDF available (1.5 MB )
Taylor, E. H. 1940. Some Mexican serpents. University of Kansas Science Bulletin 26(14):445–487. [Taylor reports on the second known specimen of L. ruthveni, which he collected from near Morelia, Michoacán. Notably, he also reports on a third ruthveni specimen from El Sabino, Michoacán, in sympatry with L. triangulum nelsoni.] PDF available (1 MB)
Telles, A. 1987. Herp of the month: the gray-banded kingsnake (Lampropeltis mexicana alterna). San Diego Herpetological Society Newsletter 9(8):1–2. [General overview of natural history, distribution, and care in captivity.] PDF available (636 k)
Tennant, A. 1982. Herpin'. Audubon Magazine, July 1982, pp. 22, 24, 25. [Popular magazine article in which the author tries to explain the attraction of searching for reptiles in southwestern Texas. Gray-banded Kingsnakes are mentioned briefly.] PDF available, relevant pages only (3.1 MB)
Tennant, A. 1984. The Snakes of Texas. Texas Monthly Press, Austin, Texas. 561 pp. [In-depth account of Lampropeltis alterna in Texas; includes a number of anecdotal and otherwise unpublished field observations.] Out-of-print, but readily available through used booksellers. PDF available, relevant pages only (3.1 MB)
Tennant, A., J. E. Werler, J. E. Forks, G. T. Salmon, A. Sansom, and L. D. Sinclair. 1998. A Field Guide to Texas Snakes (2nd ed.). Gulf Publishing Co., Houston, Texas. 291 pp. [A nice summary of geographic pattern variation in L. alterna across its range in Texas is presented, clearly reflecting the contributions of Forks and Salmon. This second edition is no longer in print; however, the third edition (2002) does not contain the detailed treatment of alterna present in the 1998 version.] PDF available, relevant pages only (4.5 MB)
Thissen, R., and H. Hansen. 1996. Königsnattern Lampropeltis. Terraristik Aktuell, Hesselhaus and Senkowski, Hamburg. 172 pp. [A German-language herpetoculture-oriented overview of snakes of the genus Lampropeltis, together with color photographs and generalized range maps. One photo (p. 86) of a “Lampropeltis triangulum smithi” (by S. Hammack) appears to represent a specimen from the mountain region NW of Jalpan, Queretaro, and thus L. ruthveni. Another photo (p. 103) purportedly of L. triangulum arcifera, is also a ruthveni instead.] Available from Chimaira Books (Frankfurt).
Thompson, H. 1993. Snakes alive! Texas Monthly, July 1993:60, 62–63. [Popular magazine article covering the interest in observing and collecting L. alterna in West Texas.] PDF available (2.5 MB)
Tinoco Navarro, C. M. 2005. Serpientes del Estado de Querétaro. Thesis, Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro. [The snake fauna of the central Mexico state of Querétaro is summarized, but most of the information appears to have been gathered from other sources. Lampropeltis ruthveni is included, with information concerning elevational range, vegetation associations, and occurrence within certain physiographic provinces presented. In Spanish.] PDF available (3.9 MB)
Trumbower, C. 2012. More than Snake Hunting. ECO Herpetological Publishing & Distribution, Rodeo, New Mexico. 278 pp. [Humorous collection of stories about snake hunting and those who do the hunting. A full chapter is devoted to searching for Lampropeltis alterna in West Texas.] In print and available from publisher.
Trutnau, L. 1986. Nonvenomous Snakes: A Comprehensive Guide to Care & Breeding of Over 100 Species. Barron’s Educational Series, Inc., Hauppauge, New York. 191 pp. Original German edition (“Schlangen 1”) published in 1979. [General and specific herpetocultural information is provided for various species of Lampropeltis, including “mexicana” in the broadest sense, and it is not clear which species (alterna, leonis, mexicana) the author is discussing.] Out-of-print.
Tryon, B. W. 1979. An unusually patterned specimen of the gray-banded kingsnake, Lampropeltis mexicana alterna (Brown). Herpetological Review 10(1):4–5. [A single captive-produced hatchling from wild-caught parents [Val Verde Co., Texas] displayed an anomalous pattern. Of 34 offspring from female parent, only this snake exhibited an unusual pattern.] PDF available (1.2 MB)
Tryon, B. W. 1984. Additional instances of multiple egg-clutch production in snakes. Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 87(3–4):98–104. [A pair of L. greeri produced two clutches of fertile eggs in one season.] PDF available (836 k)
Tryon, B. W., and R. K. Guese. 1984. Death-feigning in the gray-banded kingsnake Lampropeltis alterna. Herpetological Review 15(4):108–109. PDF available (372 k)
Tryon, B. W., and J. B. Murphy. 1982. Miscellaneous notes on the reproductive biology of reptiles. 5. Thirteen varieties of the genus Lampropeltis, species mexicana, triangulum and zonata. Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Sciences 85(2):96–119. [First report for captive reproduction in L. mexicana thayeri, based on 1.2 wild-caught specimens from Nuevo Leon collected by W. Garstka. Additionally, under the heading of L. triangulum arcifera, authors provide data for captive reproduction involving wild-caught L. ruthveni from Rancho San Francisco, Jalisco.] PDF available (5.8 MB)
Turner, E. H. 1977. Colorful kingsnake of the Trans-Pecos. Texas Parks and Wildlife 35(1):10–11. [Popular article on Lampropeltis alterna written for the general public, portraying this species as “rare” and whose existence in the Trans-Pecos region is “severely threatened by ruthless collectors.”] PDF available (860 k)
Utiger, U., N. Helfenberger, B. Schätti, C. Schmidt, M. Ruf, and V. Ziswiler. 2002. Molecular systematics and phylogeny of Old and New World ratsnakes, Elaphe auct., and related genera (Reptilia, Squamata, Colubridae). Russian Journal of Herpetology 9(2):105–124. [Using sequences for two mitochondrial genes, L. ruthveni is placed within a monophyletic group of New World ratsnakes (e.g., Arizona, Bogertophis, Pantherophis, Pituophis, Pseudelaphe, Rhinocheilus, and Senticolis). The source of tissue used for the ruthveni sample was unknown.] PDF available (228 k)
Utiger, U., B. Schätti, and N. Helfenberger. 2005. The Oriental colubrine genus Coelognathus Fitzinger, 1843 and classification of Old and New World racers and ratsnakes (Reptilia, Squamata, Colubridae, Colubrinae). Russian Journal of Herpetology 12(1):39–60. [Using sequences for two mitochondrial genes (originally published in the Utiger et al. 2002 paper), L. ruthveni is placed within a New World radiation of ratsnakes (e.g., Senticolis, Pantherophis, Arizona).] PDF available (836 k)
Van Devender, T. R. 1990. Thoughts on the evolution of southwestern desert reptiles. Sonoran Herpetologist 3(6):143–148. [Transcript of a talk given to the Tucson Herpetological Society in 1990, during which Van Devender offers his views on the origin of the southwestern herpetofauna in general, as well as commentary on particular taxa. He advances the argument (detailed in Van Devender and Bradley, 1994) that alterna and mexicana are conspecific and that both alterna and blairi should be recognized as valid subspecies.] PDF available (868 k)
Van Devender, T. R., and G. L. Bradley. 1994. Late Quaternary amphibians and reptiles from Maravillas Canyon Cave, Texas, with discussion of the biogeography and evolution of the Chihuahuan Desert herpetofauna. In P. R. Brown and J. W. Wright (eds.), Herpetology of the North American Deserts: Proceedings of a Symposium, pp. 23–53. Southwestern Herpetologists Society, Special Publication No. 5, Van Nuys, California. [Report fossil vertebrae from alterna, dating from Late Wisconsin (ca. 18,000 yrs ago) at the Maravillas Canyon Cave site, located in Black Gap Wildlife Management Area. Authors dispute Gartska’s separation of alterna from mexicana, suggesting that the characters used to diagnose alterna (iris color, head shape) are insufficient to warrant species-level distinction. Additionally, they consider the Texas populations to comprise two subspecies—alterna and blairi (contra Tanzer and more recent workers)—stating that the pattern differences between eastern and western range snakes warrant subspecies recognition.] Book out-of-print. PDF available (8.6 MB)
Van Devender, T. R., C. H. Lowe, H. K. McCrystal, and H. E. Lawler. 1992. Viewpoint: Reconsider suggested systematic arrangements for some North American amphibians and reptiles. Herpetological Review 23(1):10–14. [In the context of a wide-ranging defense of subspecies in herpetological taxonomy, Van Devender et al. cite similarity of color pattern elements in alterna and thayeri as possible evidence for gene exchange (and by extension, support for continued recognition of these forms as subspecies of L. mexicana). They also cite a personal communication from S. F. Hale for discovery of alterna x thayeri intergrades in southeastern Coahuila; however, it should be noted that such specimens have apparently never made their way into a scientific collection where they could be examined, and both typical alterna and thayeri have been found in this region, although in distinctly different habitats.] PDF available (480 k)
Vasquez Díaz, J., and G. E. Quintero Díaz. 2005. Anfibios y Reptiles de Aguascalientes. CIEMA, CONABIO. Mexico, D.F. 318 pp. [Authors provide a species account for L. mexicana, noting that L. m. greeri occurs in the western part of the state (Sierra Fría and Sierra Laurel), while L. m. mexicana is known from the extreme eastern part of the state in the semiarid zone bordering Zacatecas. Color plate 42 depicts a young specimen of L. m. greeri. Although not stated, this snake was collected from the Mesa Montoro region near the base of the Sierra Fría (G. Quintero Díaz, pers. comm.).] PDF available, relevant pages only (660 k). In print, available from Bibliomania!
Vermilya, D. W., and E. Acuña. 2004. Lampropeltis alterna: Diet. Herpetological Review 35(3):275–276. [Wild-caught adult alterna (Presidio Co., TX) regurgitated quail eggs shortly after capture.] PDF available (24 k)
Wagner, E. 1980. New varieties of kingsnakes from Mexico. Herpetology 11(2):3–5. [Wagner recounts his field collecting experiences with William Garstka, during which they collected the first series of Lampropeltis ruthveni from Queretaro. Included is what was likely the first published color photograph of ruthveni.] PDF available (1 MB)
Walls, J. G. 1996. Gray-banded Kingsnakes: Identification, Care and Breeding. TFH Publications, Neptune, New Jersey. 64 pp. [This photo-rich, hobbyist-focused offering presents a broadly-interpreted L. mexicana (with alterna, greeri, thayeri, and mexicana as either subspecies or synonyms, though each is mapped separately). Collectively, Walls refers to them as “gray-banded kingsnakes.” L. ruthveni is also treated in this book. Walls regards alterna and more southerly forms of “mexicana” as intergrading subspecies. He suggests that Garstka’s (1982) work was hampered by a failure to examine enough living specimens. He provides an historical look at the taxonomy of the group, a potentially useful feature, despite some uninformed editorializing. Unfortunately, the book contains a number of errors, both in text and in misidentification of snakes depicted in photos. A highly critical review has been published elsewhere by Hibbitts (1998).] Book in print, available from publisher.
Webb, R. G. 1961. A new kingsnake from Mexico, with remarks on the Mexicana Group of the genus Lampropeltis. Copeia 1961(3):326–333. [Original description of L. greeri from the Sierra Madre Occidental west of Ciudad Durango. Webb placed greeri with other species of the mexicana group based on color pattern elements. He also provides a B/W figure of the holotype of thayeri.] PDF available (1 MB)
Webb, R. G. 1984. Herpetogeography in the Mazatlán-Durango region of the Sierra Madre Occidental, Mexico. In R. A. Seigel, L. E. Hunt, J. L. Knight, L. Malaret, and N. L. Zuschlag (eds.), Vertebrate Ecology and Systematics: A Tribute to Henry S. Fitch, pp. 217–241. University of Kansas Museum of Natural History, Special Publication No. 10. Lawrence, Kansas. [Webb nicely describes in text and figures the region that is home to Lampropeltis webbi.]
Weinstein, S. A., C. F. DeWitt, and L. A. Smith. 1992. Variability of venom-neutralizing properties of serum from snakes of the colubrid genus Lampropeltis. Journal of Herpetology 26(4):452–461. [This study examined the relative resistance of species of kingsnakes (including L. alterna, greeri, and ruthveni) to the venom of Crotalus and Agkistrodon.] PDF available (1.3 MB)
Werler, J. E., and J. R. Dixon. 2000. Texas Snakes: Identification, Distribution, and Natural History. University of Texas Press, Austin. 437 pp. [Excellent modern summary of natural history and distribution of L. alterna in Texas, along with 10 color figures depicting pattern variation across the Texas portion of the range.] In print, available from publisher.
Wilkinson, T. 1996. Reptile rustlers. National Parks (magazine), Nov.-Dec. 1996:36–39. [Popular article covering “Operation Rockcut,” an undercover investigation conducted by the National Park Service to combat what the NPS believed to be serious wildlife poaching in Big Bend National Park.] PDF available (820 k)
Williams, K. L. 1978. Systematics and Natural History of the American Milk Snake, Lampropeltis triangulum. Milwaukee Public Museum, Publications in Biology and Geology, Number 2. 258 pp. [In this published version of Williams’ Ph.D. dissertation, he relegates L. ruthveni to the synonymy of L. triangulum arcifera. Clearly, he was hampered by the paucity of preserved material from Jalisco, Michoacan, and Querétaro, and by the fact that Blanchard’s type specimen of ruthveni was represented only by a skin. Additionally, Williams seems to have been influenced by H. M. Smith’s 1942 resurrection of L. t. arcifera, to which Smith assigned various specimens from the full west-to-east extent of the Mexican Plateau; some of these have subsequently been assigned to other taxa (e.g., L. t. dixoni for TCWC 29504, from near Jalpan, Querétaro) and others no doubt pertain to L. ruthveni. An accurate assessment of “arcifera” has long been elusive, given the vagueness of the type locality (“Mexique”), as the works of Smith and Williams illustrate. Williams provides line drawings that depict head and midbody patterns of the holotype of ruthveni.] PDF available, relevant pages only (2.4 MB) - See also Greene's (1979) review.
Williams, K. L. 1988. Systematics and Natural History of the American Milk Snake, Lampropeltis triangulum. 2nd edition, revised. Milwaukee Public Museum, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 176 pp. [In this revised edition, Williams acknowledges Garstka’s (1982) confirmation of L. ruthveni as a distinct species belonging to the L. mexicana species group. However, he continues to confound these two taxa, by including data on captive reproduction for “arcifera” based on the report by Tryon and Murphy (1982). As noted in their report, the Dallas Zoo’s breeding pair was collected from Rancho San Francisco, Jalisco, an area that harbors only L. ruthveni. Williams’ statement (p. 126) that “arcifera occurs between 2075 and 2317 m” was taken from Tryon and Murphy, and of course pertains to ruthveni. Moreover, the color figure of "Lampropeltis triangulum arcifera" represents L. ruthveni instead, and reportedly was based on a specimen at the San Antonio Zoo and collected from Amealco, Querétaro (D. Blody, pers. comm.)] Out-of-print, but available from used book sellers. PDF available, relevant pages only (1.7 MB)
Wilson, L. D., and J. R. McCranie. 1979. Notes on the herpetofauna of two mountain ranges in Mexico (Sierra Fría, Aguascalientes, and Sierra Morones, Zacatecas). Journal of Herpetology 13(3):271–278. [Although they did not record any specimens of Lampropeltis in their field work, they include L. mexicana in a Southern Sierra Madre Occidental species assemblage. Habitat photos are presented for both mountain ranges.] PDF available (3.2 MB)
Worthington, R. D. 1976. Herpetofauna of the Franklin Mountains, El Paso County, Texas. In D. V. LeMone and E. M. P. Lovejoy (eds.), El Paso Geological Society Symposium on the Franklin Mountains, pp. 205–212. El Paso Geological Society, Quinn Memorial Volume. [Although present in the Hueco Mountains a short distance to the east, Lampropeltis alterna, along with Coleonyx brevis, Sceloporus poinsetti, Thamnophis cyrtopsis, and Crotalus scutulatus, are apparently absent from the Franklin Mountains.] PDF available (420 k)
Worthington, R. D., and E. R. Arvizo. 1974. Western records of the Davis Mountains kingsnake, Lampropeltis mexicana alterna, in Texas. Southwestern Naturalist 19(3):329–340. [First report of alterna from far western Texas, with single specimens obtained from the Eagle Mountains and Hueco Mountains, both in Hudspeth Co. A third specimen is noted from Guadalupe Peak, Culberson Co., a locality previously documented by Gehlbach and McCoy (1965).] PDF available (404 k)
Wright, A. H. 1935. Some rare amphibians and reptiles of the United States. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 21:340–345. [Wright includes Lampropeltis alterna among the rare U.S. species; at the time of publication, alterna was known from only a single specimen.] PDF available (684 k)
Wright, A. H., and A. A. Wright. 1957. Handbook of Snakes of the United States and Canada. 2 volumes. Comstock Publishing Associates, Ithaca and London. 1105 pp. [A third volume—the 179-page bibliography—was self-published in 1962, and subsequently reprinted by SSAR in 1979. The Wrights provided the most detailed descriptions of Lampropeltis alterna and L. blairi (then considered a distinct species) to date, summarizing the meager literature and adding new information.] PDF available, relevant pages only (4.7 MB); two-volume set reprinted 1994, available from publisher.
Young, G. R., and R. A. Babcock. 1991. The albino Queretaro kingsnake (Lampropeltis ruthveni). Vivarium 3(1):16–17, 26. [The story behind the emergence of the first amelanistic ruthveni.] PDF available (1.2 MB)
Zweifel, R. G. 1952. Pattern variation and evolution of the mountain kingsnake, Lampropeltis zonata. Copeia 1952(3):152–168. [Brief discussion, largely speculative, concerning evolutionary relationships of L. zonata and putative relatives, including L. ruthveni.] PDF available (7.9 MB)
Adler, K., J. S. Applegarth, and R. Altig. 1989. Contributions to the History of Herpetology. SSAR Contributions to Herpetology, Volume 5. Oxford, Ohio. 202 pp. [Herpetological biographies are presented for some of the names associated with Mexicana kingsnakes, either as scientific describers or as persons for whom various taxa were named.] Print addition out-of-print, but is now available from SSAR online.
Conant, R. 1957. Arthur Erwin Brown: “Custodian of the Garden” and Naturalist of Note. America’s First Zoo, Philadelphia Zoological Garden 9(4), 3 pp. (unpaginated). [Conant provides a herpetological biography of Brown, who formerly served as the chief executive of the Philadelphia Zoo (a post that Conant would later hold). Brown was the scientific describer of Lampropeltis alterna.] PDF available (3.4 MB)
Gloyd, H. K. 1940. Frank Nelson Blanchard, Scholar and Teacher. Herpetologica 1(8):197–211. PDF available (1.9 MB)
Phillips, J. C. 1934. John Eliot Thayer, 1862–1933. Auk 51:46–51. PDF available (280 k)
Schmidt, K. P. 1937. Frank Nelson Blanchard, 1888–1937. Copeia 1937(3):149–150. PDF available (568 k)
Summers, A. P., and T. J. Koob. 1997. A biographical sketch of Samuel Walton Garman. In A. P. Summers (ed.), Plagiostomia—the Sharks, Skates and Rays. Benthic Press, Los Angeles, California. PDF available (52 k)
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