Dr. Rose wrote:
Pretty slow herping in Baylor County this year. No significant rain all season. We have not been able to take the kids out to spider hunt due to the weather.
Here is the first baby of the summer. Collected 5 miles east of Seymour about 33.34.06.14 N x 18.104.22.168 W on my brother’s dog lease.
The snake was found under a piece of scrap.
The taxonomic identity of this baby is not immediately apparent. My first guess is that its a hatchling prairie king with egg tooth before first molt, but that could easily be quite wrong. What is your opinion?
John Rose, D.O., D.Ph.”
It is easy to understand why Dr. Rose didn’t recognize this as a southern black racer. The juvenile doesn’t look anything like the adult, at least in terms of basic coloration and markings. The adult has a satin black, olive-black, or slate-gray dorsum without any markings whatever, a belly of dark gray, and variable amounts of white on its chin and throat. Hatchlings like Dr. Rose’s specimen, however, have well-marked but haphazardly arranged dorsal saddles of reddish brown, with lateral blotches and dark spots of brown and gray.
This posting will be fleshed out considerably over the next few days, as time permits.
References to Scientific Literature:
- McAllister, C. T. 2008. New Host and Geographic Distribution Records for Some Endoparasites (Myxosporea, Trematoda, Cestoidea, Nematoda) of Amphibians and Reptiles from Arkansas and Texas, U.S.A. Comp. Parasitol.75(2):241–254.
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