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and Reptiles of California


Mohave Glossy Snake - Arizona elegans candida

Klauber, 1946
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Mohave Glossy Snake Mohave Glossy Snake
Mohave Glossy Snake
Adult, Kern County Adult, Kern County
© John Stephenson
Adult, Los Angeles County
© Jeremiah Easter
Mohave Glossy Snake Mohave Glossy Snake Mohave Glossy Snake
Juvenile, Inyo County. © Chris Morrison Adult, San Bernardino County
© Harold De Lisle
Mohave Glossy Snake Mohave Glossy Snake  
Adult, Inyo County © Rob Schell Adult, San Bernardino County
© Harold De Lisle
 
     
Habitat
Mohave Glossy Snake Habitat Mohave Glossy Snake Habitat Desert Tortoise Habitat
Habitat, Inyo County desert Habitat, Inyo County desert Habitat, desert flats, Kern County
   
Description

Not Dangerous (Non-poisonous)  -  This snake does not have venom that is dangerous to most humans.

Size
Adults 26-70 in. (66-178 cm) Average length is 3 - 4 feet.

Appearance
A medium-sized muscular snake with smooth, glossy scales, a faded or bleached-out appearance, and a short tail.
Color and Pattern
Smooth, glossy scales with a faded or bleached-out appearance - a light brown, gray, cream, or pink ground color with tan brown or gray blotches on back and sides with black edges and a pale, unmarked underside.

An average of 63 narrow blotches on body.
Similar Snakes
Comparison of the 3 subspecies of Arizona elegans in California,
along with sympatric species similar in appearance:
Pituophis catenifer
- Gopher Snake,
Trimorphodon biscutatus
- Lyre Snake,
Hypsiglena
- Night Snakes,
Coluber constrictor mormon
- Western Yellow-Bellied Racer (juvenile).

Life History and Behavior
Activity
Nocturnal.
Burrows, hiding underground in daytime.
Diet and Feeding
Preys mostly on sleeping diurnal lizards, but also eats small snakes, terrestrial birds, and mammals. Kills prey by direct swallowing or constriction.
Breeding
Lays 5 - 12 eggs in June and July.

Geographical Range
This subspecies, Arizona elegans candida - Mohave Glossy Snake, occurs from Inyo County south through most of the Mojave Desert, and east into southwestern Nevada.

The species Arizona elegans - Western Glossy Snake, has a very wide range, occurring through most of the southwest, and the southeastern part of the Midwest, and south into Mexico, including northern Baja California.

Full Species Range Map
Habitat
Inhabits barren open sandy desert, desert scrub, rocky washes, grasslands.

Notes on Taxonomy
'The spelling of the word "Mojave" or "Mohave" has been a subject of debate. Lowe in the preface to his "Venomous Reptiles of Arizona" (1986) argued for "Mohave" as did Campbell and Lamar (2004, "The Venomous Reptiles of the Western Hemisphere"). According to linguistics experts on Native American languages, either spelling is correct, but using either the "j" or "h" is based on whether the word is used in a Spanish or English context. Given that this is an English names list, we use the "h" spelling (P. Munro, Linguistics, UCLA, pers. comm.).'

(Taxon Notes to Crotalus scutulatus, SSAR Herpetological Circular no 39, published August 2012, John J. Moriarty, Editor.)


Collins elevated the western Glossy Snakes - A. e. occidentalis, A. e. eburnata, and A. e. candida - to specific status (Arizona occidentalis) (1991, Herp. Review 22:42-43) with the eastern Glossy Snakes remaining Arizona elegans, but this change has not been widely accepted.


Alternate and Previous Names (Synonyms)

Arizona elegans candida - Mojave Glossy Snake (Stebbins 1966, 1985, 2003, 2012)
Arizona elegans candida - Western Mojave Glossy Snake (Wright & Wright 1957)
Arizona elegans candida
(SDNHS 1946)
Arizona elegans (Kennicott, 1859)

Conservation Issues  (Conservation Status)
None.
Taxonomy
Family Colubridae Colubrids Oppel, 1811
Genus Arizona Glossy Snakes Kennicott, 1859
Species elegans Western Glossy Snake Kennicott, 1859
Subspecies

candida Mohave Glossy Snake Klauber, 1946
Original Description
Arizona elegans - Kennicott, 1859 - in Baird, U.S. Mex.
Arizona elegans candida - 1946 - Trans. San Diego Soc. Nat. Hist., Vol. 10, p. 364, pl. 8, fig. 2, text fig. 1, map

from Original Description Citations for the Reptiles and Amphibians of North America © Ellin Beltz

Meaning of the Scientific Name
Arizona - 1.) Latin - areo - to be dry and zona - belt of earth - refers to the geographical distribution
                2.) arizonac - place of springs - American Indian word, refers to the Arizona region
elegans
- Latin - fine or elegant- refers to the color pattern
candida - Latin - shining white or bright - "subspecies characterised by its light color..."

Related or Similar California Snakes
A. e. eburnata - Desert Glossy Snake
A. e. occidentalis - California Glossy Snake
P. decurtatus - Spotted Leaf-nosed Snake
P. c. deserticola - Great Basin Gophersnake

More Information and References
California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Stebbins, Robert C., and McGinnis, Samuel M.  Field Guide to Amphibians and Reptiles of California: Revised Edition (California Natural History Guides) University of California Press, 2012.

Stebbins, Robert C. California Amphibians and Reptiles. The University of California Press, 1972.

Stebbins, Robert C. A Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians. 3rd Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2003.

Behler, John L., and F. Wayne King. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Reptiles and Amphibians. Alfred A. Knopf, 1992.

Powell, Robert., Joseph T. Collins, and Errol D. Hooper Jr. A Key to Amphibians and Reptiles of the Continental United States and Canada. The University Press of Kansas, 1998.

Bartlett, R. D. & Patricia P. Bartlett. Guide and Reference to the Snakes of Western North America (North of Mexico) and Hawaii. University Press of Florida, 2009.

Bartlett, R. D. & Alan Tennant. Snakes of North America - Western Region. Gulf Publishing Co., 2000.

Brown, Philip R. A Field Guide to Snakes of California. Gulf Publishing Co., 1997.

Ernst, Carl H., Evelyn M. Ernst, & Robert M. Corker. Snakes of the United States and Canada. Smithsonian Institution Press, 2003.

Wright, Albert Hazen & Anna Allen Wright. Handbook of Snakes of the United States and Canada. Cornell University Press, 1957.



Conservation Status

The following status listings come from the Special Animals List and the Endangered and Threatened Animals List which are published by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.


This snake is not included on the Special Animals List, which indicates that there are no significant conservation concerns for it in California.
Organization
Status Listing
NatureServe Global Ranking
NatureServe State Ranking
U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA) None
California Endangered Species Act (CESA) None
California Department of Fish and Wildlife None
Bureau of Land Management None
USDA Forest Service None
IUCN

 

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