Overview

Distribution

Masticophis flagellum is found is found in the southern half of the U.S., and the northern 2/3rds of Mexico (King 1979).

Biogeographic Regions: nearctic (Native )

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Range Description

This species' large range extends from the Atlantic coast to the Pacific coast of the United States; northern California, Nevada, southwestern Utah, eastern Colorado, southwestern Nebraska, Missouri, Kentucky (formerly), and North Carolina, south to southern Baja California, Sinaloa, Queretaro in Mexico, and the Gulf Coast of United States, and southern Florida (Wilson 1973).
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

National Distribution

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

National Distribution

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

National Distribution

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) The large range extends from the Atlantic coast to the Pacific coast; northern California, Nevada, southwestern Utah, eastern Colorado, southwestern Nebraska, Missouri, . North to central California and Nevada, southwestern Utah, Nebraska, Missouri, Kentucky (formerly), and North Carolina south to southern Baja California, Sinaloa, Queretaro, Gulf Coast of United States, and southern Florida (Wilson 1973).

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Continent: Middle-America North-America
Distribution: USA (California ?, S Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, SW Utah ?, SE Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Texas, SW Nebraska, Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, SE North Carolina),  Mexico (Baja California, Sonora, Chihuahua, NW Sinaloa, Durango, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, Zacatecas, San Luis Potosi, Tamaulipas)  lineatulus: Chihuahua  testaceus: Tamaulipas, Chihuahua (HR 33: 68)
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Peter Uetz

Source: The Reptile Database

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Physical Description

Morphology

This is a long, slender snake with smooth scales. The dorsal coloration in the adult varies from shades of tan, grey, pink, and red. Thin, white crossbars or blotches are found on the dorsal area behind the black or brown neck. The ventral surface is usually a tan to pinkish. Juveniles have tan, brown, or black transverse bands. In hatchlings the black neck is absent. The adult length ranges from 91.4-259 cm. The large eyes have round pupils, and are protected by supraocular scales. It has 17 dorsal scale rows at midbody, and a divided anal plate.(King 1979)

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Size

Length: 259 cm

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Type Information

Holotype for Masticophis flagellum
Catalog Number: USNM 16340
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1890
Locality: Colorado Desert, Mountain Springs, San Diego, California, United States, North America
  • Holotype: Stejneger, L. 1893. North American Fauna. 7: 208.
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Ecology

Habitat

Open hillsides, dry sand, prairies, oak and pine woodlands, grassy areas, dunes, and scrub. Not found above 2150m altitude (King 1979, Stebbins 1985)

Terrestrial Biomes: desert or dune ; savanna or grassland ; chaparral ; forest

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
This snake occurs in a wide range of habitats: desert, prairie, scrubland, juniper-grassland, woodland, thornforest, farmland, creek valleys, and sometimes swamps; usually in relatively dry open terrain. It is terrestrial but also climbs into vegetation. It seeks cover in burrows, among rocks, or in vegetation.

Its diet includes a variety of prey; small vertebrates, mammals, birds and their eggs, and many different reptiles such as small lizards, snakes and turtles, in addition to carrion and invertebrates (Hammerson 1999, Reams et al. 2000, Reams and Aucone 2001, Stebbins 2003, Pough et al. 2004). It is oviparous and lays a clutch of four to 20 eggs, which hatch after a period of six to 11 weeks (Behler and King 1979, Stebbins 2003).

Systems
  • Terrestrial
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Comments: This snake occurs in a wide range of habitats: desert, prairie, scrubland, juniper-grassland, woodland, thornforest, farmland, creek valleys, and sometimes swamps; usually in relatively dry open terrain. It is terrestrial but also climbs into vegetation. It seeks cover in burrows, among rocks, or in vegetation.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Migration

Non-Migrant: No. All populations of this species make significant seasonal migrations.

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Trophic Strategy

Preys on birds, rodents, lizards, other snakes(including rattlesnakes), small turtles, bird eggs, and insects. It hunts with its head raised above the ground, and will eat several small rodents during one feeding. It feeds approximately every five days. (Barker 1964)

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Comments: Eats lizards, snakes, birds and their eggs, small mammals, insects, and carrion (Stebbins 1985).

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Associations

Known prey organisms

Masticophis flagellum preys on:
Auriparus flaviceps

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© SPIRE project

Source: SPIRE

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Population Biology

Number of Occurrences

Note: For many non-migratory species, occurrences are roughly equivalent to populations.

Estimated Number of Occurrences: > 300

Comments: This species is represented by very many occurrences or subpopulations. Wilson (1973) mapped hundreds of collection sites over a vast area.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Global Abundance

100,000 to >1,000,000 individuals

Comments: Total adult population size is unknown but certainly exceeds 100,000. This species is common in Mexico and in many areas of the southern United States.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

General Ecology

In the eastern Mojave Desert, California, activity range of six individuals averaged 53 ha; individuals moved on 76% on the days monitored; moved an average of 186 m per day (Secor 1995).

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Comments: Active from April to October in north (Hammerson 1982), mid-March to late October in Texas (Tennant 1984).

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Life Expectancy

Average lifespan

Status: captivity:
20.2 years.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Maximum longevity: 20.2 years (captivity)
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Joao Pedro de Magalhaes

Source: AnAge

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Reproduction

In the U.S. M. flagellum reproduces once per year. Mating occurs in the spring, and females lay a clutch of 4-16 eggs in June or July. The young hatch from the granular-surfaced eggs in 6-11 weeks. Hatchlings are 30-40 cm long (King 1979, Stebbins 1985).

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Lays clutch of 4-20 eggs, June-July. Eggs hatch in 6-11 weeks.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Masticophis flagellum

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 5
Species With Barcodes: 1
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Conservation

Conservation Status

One subspecies, the San Joaquin whipsnake (Masticophis flagellum ruddocki) has been listed by the California Department of Fish and Game as a "Species of Special Concern" (California Dept. of Fish and Game 2001)

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2007

Assessor/s
Hammerson, G.A., Frost, D.R., Santos-Barrera, G., Vasquez Díaz, J. & Quintero Díaz, G.E.

Reviewer/s
Cox, N., Chanson, J.S. & Stuart, S.N. (Global Reptile Assessment Coordinating Team)

Contributor/s

Justification
Listed as Least Concern in view of its extremely wide distribution, presumed large population, no major threats, and because its population is not currently in decline.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N2 - Imperiled

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: T5 - Secure

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N3 - Vulnerable

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: T5 - Secure

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

Intrinsic Vulnerability: Moderately vulnerable

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Population

Population
This species is represented by very many occurrences or subpopulations. Wilson (1973) mapped hundreds of collection sites over a vast area. The total adult population size is unknown but certainly exceeds 100,000. It is common in Mexico and in many areas of the southern United States. Its extent of occurrence, area of occupancy, number of subpopulations, and population size are probably relatively stable or declining at a rate of much less than 10% over 10 years or three generations.

Population Trend
Stable
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Global Short Term Trend: Relatively stable (=10% change)

Comments: Extent of occurrence, area of occupancy, number of subpopulations, and population size probably are relatively stable or declining at a rate of much less than 10% over 10 years or three generations.

Global Long Term Trend: Increase of 10-25% to decline of 30%

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Threats

Major Threats
No major threats to this species are known. It occurs in semi-agricultural areas but generally not in areas with extensive, intensive cultivation (Hammerson 1999).
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Degree of Threat: Low

Comments: No major threats are known. This snake occurs in semiagricultural areas but generally not in areas with extensive, intensive cultivation (Hammerson 1999). Plastic netting such as used to exclude birds from fruit trees (and as components of erosion control blankets) is a potentially lethal entanglement hazard to this species and to other wildlife (Stuart et al. 2001).

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
There are many occurrences of this species in protected areas.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Global Protection: Very many (>40) occurrences appropriately protected and managed

Comments: Many occurrences are in protected areas.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

These are active, aggressive snakes, and will bite if handled. They are not venomous.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Coachwhips include pest rodents and venomous snakes in their diet.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Wikipedia

Masticophis flagellum

Masticophis flagellum is a species of nonvenomous colubrid snake, commonly referred to as the coachwhip or the whip snake, which is endemic to the United States and Mexico. Seven subspecies are recognized, including the nominotypical subspecies.

Geographic range[edit]

Coachwhips range throughout the southern United States from coast to coast. They are also found in the northern half of Mexico.

Description[edit]

Masticophis flagellum at Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve

Coachwhips are thin-bodied snakes with small heads and large eyes with round pupils. They vary greatly in color, but most reflect a proper camouflage for their natural habitat. M. f. testaceus is typically a shade of light brown with darker brown flecking, but in the western area of Texas, where the soil color is a shade of pink, the coachwhips are also pink in color. M. f. piceus was given its common name because specimens frequently, but not always, have some red in their coloration. Coachwhip scales are patterned so at first glance, the snake appears braided. Subspecies can be difficult to distinguish in areas where their ranges overlap. Adult sizes of 127–183 cm (50–72 in) are common. The record sized specimen, of the Eastern coachwhip race, was 259 cm (102 in).[2] Young specimens, mostly just over 100 cm (39 in) in length, were found to have weighed 180 to 675 g (6.3 to 23.8 oz), whereas good-sized mature adults measuring 163 to 235 cm (64 to 93 in) weighed in at 1.2 to 1.8 kg (2.6 to 4.0 lb).[3][4]

Habitat[edit]

Coachwhips are commonly found in open areas with sandy soil, open pine forests, old fields, and prairies. They thrive in sandhill scrub and coastal dunes.

Behavior[edit]

Coachwhips are diurnal, and actively hunt and eat lizards, small birds, and rodents. They tend to be sensitive to potential threats, and often bolt at the first sign of one; they are extremely fast-moving snakes. They are curious snakes with good eyesight, and are sometimes seen raising their heads above the level of the grass or rocks to see what is around them.

Subspecies[edit]

Western coachwhip

Myths[edit]

The primary myth concerning coachwhips, that they chase people, likely arises from the snake and the person both being frightened, and both just happening to be going the same way to escape. Coachwhips are fast snakes, often moving faster than a human, and thus give an impression of aggression should they move toward the person.

The legend of the hoop snake may refer to the coachwhip snakes.

Another myth of the rural southeastern United States is of a snake that, when disturbed, would chase a person down, wrap him up in its coils, whip him to death with its tail, and then make sure he is dead by sticking its tail up the victim's nose to see if he is still breathing. In actuality, coachwhips are neither constrictors (snakes that dispatch their prey by suffocating with their coils) nor strong enough to overpower a person. Also, they do not whip with their tails, even though their tails are long and look very much like a whips.

Their bites can be painful, but generally are harmless unless they become infected.

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Reptile Database. www.reptile-database.org.
  2. ^ "FLMNH - Eastern Coachwhip (Masticophis flagellum flagellum)". Flmnh.ufl.edu. Retrieved 2012-07-26. 
  3. ^ Mitrovich, M.J.; J.E. Diffendorfer; R.N.Fisher. (2009).Behavioral Response of the Coachwhip (Masticophis flagellum) to Habitat Fragment Size and Isolation in an Urban Landscape. Journal of Herpetology 43 (4): 646-656.[1]
  4. ^ Dodd, C.K., and W.J. Barichivich (2007). "Movements Of Large Snakes (Drymarchon, Masticophis) In North-Central Florida. Florida Scientist 70 (1): 83-94." (PDF). Retrieved 2012-07-26. 
Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Source: Wikipedia

Unreviewed

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

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

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Disclaimer

EOL content is automatically assembled from many different content providers. As a result, from time to time you may find pages on EOL that are confusing.

To request an improvement, please leave a comment on the page. Thank you!