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Glossary of Herpetological Terms

... compiled by Dave Royans & Sue Knight
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Term Definition
Latin: Meaning from the Marshes
Pantherophis bairdi
Pantherophis obsoletus bairdi (Yarrow 1880) Bairds Ratsnake was named in honor of Spencer Fullerton Bairds (1823-1887)

Spencer Fullerton Baird (February 3 1823 – August 19 1887) was an American ornithologist and ichthyologist. Baird was born in Reading Pennsylvania. He graduated at Dickinson College Carlisle Pennsylvania in 1840 and next year made an ornithological excursion through the mountains of Pennsylvania walking says one of his biographers 400 miles in twenty-one days and the last day 60 miles.

In 1838 he met John James Audubon and from then on his studies were largely ornithological Audubon giving him a part of his own collection of birds. After studying medicine for a time Baird became professor of natural history at Dickinson College in 1845 assuming also the duties of the chair of chemistry and giving instruction in physiology and mathematics. This variety of duties in a small college tended to give him that breadth of scientific interest which characterized him through life and made him perhaps the most representative general man of science in America.

For the long period between 1850 and 1878 he was assistant-secretary of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. where he encouraged the work of the young naturalists in the Megatherium Club. On the death of Joseph Henry he became secretary.

From 1871 until his death he was also U.S. Commissioner of Fish and Fisheries. While an officer of the Smithsonian Bairds duties included the superintendence of the labour of workers in widely different lines. Thus apart from his assistance to others his own studies and published writings cover a broad range: iconography geology mineralogy botany anthropology general zoology and in particular ornithology; while for a series of years he edited an annual volume summarizing progress in all scientific lines of investigation.

He gave general superintendence between 1850 and 1860 to several government expeditions (including the Pacific Railroad Surveys) for scientific exploration of the western territories of the United States preparing for them a manual of Instructions to Collectors.
Of his own publications the bibliography by George Brown Goode from 1843 to the close of 1882 includes 1063 entries of which 775 were short articles in his Annual Record. His most important volumes on the whole were Catalog of North American Reptiles (1853 with Charles Frédéric Girard) Birds in the series of reports of explorations and surveys for a railway route from the Mississippi river to the Pacific ocean (1858) of which Dr Elliott Coues says that it exerted an influence perhaps stronger and more widely felt than that of any of its predecessors Audubon and Wilson not excepted and marked an epoch in the history of American ornithology ; Mammals of North America: Descriptions based on Collections in the Smithsonian Institution (Philadelphia 1859); and the monumental work (with Thomas Mayo Brewer and Robert Ridgway) History of North American Birds (Boston 1875-1884; Land Birds 3 vols. Water Birds 2 vols).

He died at the great marine biological laboratory at Woods Hole Massachusetts an institution which was largely the result of his own efforts and which has exercised a wide effect upon both scientific and economic ichthyology.
Pantherophis emoryi
Pantherophis emoryi (Baird and Girard 1853) Great Plains Ratsnake was named in honor of William Hemsley Emory (1811-1887) who was chief surveyor of the U.S. Boundary Survey team of 1852 and collected specimens for the Smithsonian Institution.
Pantherophis emoryi meahllmorum
"Named after 11 associates of HMS The subspecific name (pronounced as though spelled /morum) is derived from the names of 11 associates of HMS to whom he is indebted particularly for absolutely vital aid in preparation for publication of volume seven of the series jointly authored by himself and his wife and co-worker Rozella B. Smith entitled A Synopsis of the Herpetofauna of Mexico. The new name is a collective proposed in honor of the following individuals now or formerly at the University of Colorado listed with their designated letters in the order of occurrence in the name 

Dr. Michael J. Preston
Mary E. Marcotte
A Ann E. Carrington
H Laura J. Heigl 
L Linda K. Bowden
L Dr. William M Lewis
M Dr. Michael D. Breed
O Phyllis A. O’Connell
R Dean Charles R.Middleton
U Dr. Shi-Kuei Wu
M Dr. Michael C. Grant"
Pantherophis obsoletus lindheimeri
Pantherophis obsoletus lindheimeri (Baird and Girard 1853) Texas Ratsnake was named in honor of the German-American naturalist Ferdinand Jacob Lindheimer (1801-1879) who collected the first specimen in New Braunfels Texas.

Ferdinand Jacob Lindheimer
(May 21 1801 - December 2 1879) was a German-born botanist who spent his working life on the American frontier. Lindheimer was born in Frankfurt Germany. He studied law in Germany. As an adult he left Germany after his participation in the failed Frankfurt Putsch insurrection in 1833.

In 1834 Lindheimer arrived in Belleville Illinois whence he traveled by boat to New Orleans. Lindheimer and several companions began traveling to Texas but were diverted to Mexico where he lived and worked for more than a year.

Late in 1835 he departed Mexico as the Texas Revolution was beginning and was shipwrecked on the Alabama coast near Mobile. Lindheimer headed to Texas and arrived at the San Jacinto battlefield the day after the final battle of the Texas Revolution.

During the late 1830s and early 1840s Lindheimer collected botanic specimens in Texas part of this time for Dr. Asa Gray of Harvard University.

In 1844 he met Prince Carl of Solms-Braunfels Germany who was making final arrangements for the settlement of a German colony in Texas which would be known as New Braunfels Texas.

Lindheimer lived the remainder of his life in New Braunfels.

In 1852 Lindheimer founded the German-language newspaper known as the Zeitung.

Lindheimer died in 1879. He is known as the Father of Texas Botany with over 20 species and one genus bearing his name. His home in New Braunfels is preserved as a public museum.
Pantherophis slowinskii
Pantherophis slowinskii slowinski Cornsnake was named in honor of the herpetologist Joseph Slowinski (1962-2001)

Joseph Bruno (Joe) Slowinski Ph.D
(November 15 1962-September 12 2001) was an American herpetologist who worked extensively with elapid snakes.

He was born on November 15 1962 in New York City New York. He attained his bachelors degree in biology from the University of Kansas in 1984 and went on to receive his Ph.D at the University of Miami in 1991 studying under renown herpetologist Dr. Jay M. Savage. He performed post doctoral work at the National Museum of Natural History and Louisiana State University eventually taking a position as a professor of biology at Southeastern Louisiana University.

Joe Slowinski was a co-founder of the first online herpetological journal Contemporary Herpetology and served as its editor-in-chief. He was also the curator for the department of herpetology for the California Academy of Sciences. His primary area of research was venomous snakes having written some 40 peer reviewed articles and one book. In September 2001 while he was doing research deep in an isolated region of Myanmar Dr. Slowinski was bitten by a multi-banded krait (Bungarus multicinctus).

He subsequently died due to the inability of the expedition to reach adequate medical care in time.
Pantherophis vulpinus
Pantherophis vulpinus (Baird and Girard 1853) Western Fox Snake named in honor of Rev. Charles Fox (1815-1854) who collected type Pantherophis vulpinus vulpinus at at Grosse Ile Wayne County MI pre 1853
Pantherophis vulpinus gloydi
Pantherophis vulpinus gloydi (Conant 1940) Eastern Fox Snake named in honor of Zoologist Howard Kay Gloyd (1902-1978)

Howard Kay Gloyd
(1902-1978) was an American herpetologist who is credited with describing several new species of reptile such as the Florida Cottonmouth Agkistrodon piscivorus conanti. He is also honored by having several species named after him including the genus of Asian pit vipers Gloydius the Eastern Fox Snake Pantherophis gloydi and the Dusty Hognose Snake Heterodon nasicus gloydi .

Born in De Soto Kansas Gloyd attended Kansas State University for a year and then attained his bachelor of science from Ottawa University in 1924. He taught biology at Ottawa University until 1927 when he went to teach zoology at the Agricultural College of Kansas State University. In 1928 he wrote The Amphibians and Reptiles of Franklin County Kansas. In 1929 he attained his masters degree at Kansas State College and went to Michigan to become a professor of zoology at the University of Michigan. In 1936 he became director of the Chicago Academy of Sciences a position which he would hold until 1958. In 1939 he became the vice president of the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists and in 1940 he published The Rattlesnakes genera Sistrurus and Crotalus. He organized numerous expeditions to Arizona to collect specimens for the Chicago Academy of Sciences. From 1940 until 1947 he was a consultant to the State Natural History Survey of Illinois. In 1942 he attained his doctorate at Ottawa University. In 1958 he moved to Arizona to become a lecturer and research associate in the zoology department of the University of Arizona in Tucson. In 1974 he retired to become an emeritus professor at the University of Arizona. The Kansas Herpetological Society grants an annual scholarship named for Howard K. Gloyd and Edward Harrison Taylor.

A term used to describe two or more animals that do not overlap where their separate ranges meet to any marked degree.

Organism that lives on or in another organism (called the host) and which depends on it for nutrition often at the expense of the hosts welfare. Parasites that live inside the host such as liver flukes and tapeworms are called endoparasites. Those that live on the exterior such as ticks and mites are called ectoparasites.

The next to last the one before the final one.

Latin: Meaning Penis
Latin: Meaning Throat
Phenetic Discontinuity
A break in the phenetic variation within a population.
Phenetic Species Concept

This concept defines a species from its shared physical similarites.

This site has information on the following genera of Ratsnakes ... Spilotes, Spalerosophis, Ptyas, Zamenis, Elaphe, Rhinechis, Senticolis, Pseudelaphe, Pantherophis, Bogertophis, Orthriophis, Gonyosoma, Oreocryptophis, Oocatochus, Euprepiophis, Coelognathus, Archelaphe