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Class Reptilia
Order Squamata
Suborder Serpentes
Family Colubridae


Pantherophis emoryi (Baird & Girard 1853)—Great Plains Rat SnakeDistribution of fossil Pantherophis emoryi.

Synonyms. Elaphe emoryi, Elaphe guttata

Pantherophis emoryi. Photograph by Carl S. Lieb.Elaphe guttata is the name under which most of our fossil records were published. Splitting of that taxon resulted in snakes of our region becoming E. emoryi. The generic name of Pantherophis for New World snakes formerly known as Elaphe is now being used as a result of the contention that New World Elaphe is a genus separate from Old World Elaphe. Since the genus Elaphe was described from Old World populations, the name applies to those species. There also is some suggestion that Pantherophis may be congeneric with the genus Pituophis.

Fig. 1. Great Plains Rat Snake. Photograph by Carl S Lieb.

The fossil records given here are within the current range of P. emoryi.


Mid Wisconsin: Pendejo Cave (Harris 2003)

Late Wisconsin: Bison Chamber (Holman 1970)

Late Wisconsin/Holocene: Fowlkes Cave (Parmley 1990: cf.)

Literature. Harris 2003; Holman 1970; Parmley 1990.


Last Update: 16 Jan 2013