Friday, December 28, 2007

Western Diamondback Rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox)

Western Diamondback Rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox)Western Diamondback Rattlesnake USFWS Photo by Jim Rorabaugh Arizona Ecological Services Field Office All images are for public use, but please credit the photographer and the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
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Crotalus atrox From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Common names: western diamondback rattlesnake, Texas diamond-back, Crotalus atrox is a venomous pitviper species found in the United States and Mexico. It is likely responsible for the majority of snakebite fatalities in northern Mexico and the second greatest number in the USA after C. adamanteus. No subspecies are currently recognized.

Adults commonly grow to 120 cm in length. Specimens over 150 cm are infrequently encountered, while those over 180 cm are very rare. The maximum reported length considered to be reliable is 213 cm (Klauber, 1972). Males become much larger than females, although this difference in size does not occur until after they have reached sexual maturity.

The color pattern generally consists of a dusty looking gray-brown ground color, but it may also be pinkish brown, brick red, yellowish, pinkish or chalky white. This ground color is overlaid dorsally with a series of 24-25 dorsal body blotches that are dark gray-brown to brown in color. The first of these may be a pair of short stripes that extend backwards to eventually merge. Some of the first few blotches may be somewhat rectangular, but then become more hexagonal and eventually take on a distinctive diamond shape. The tail has 2-8 (usually 4-6) black bands separated by interspaces that are ash white or pale gray. There is a postocular stripe that is smoky gray or dark gray-brown and extends diagonally from the lower edge of the eye across the side of the head. This stripe is usually bordered below by a white stripe running from the upper preocular down to the supralabials just below and behind the eye

Found in the United States from central Arkansas and southeastern California, south into Mexico as far as northern Sinaloa, Hidalgo and northern Veracruz. Disjunct populations exist in southern Veracruz and southeastern Oaxaca. The type locality given is "Indianola" (Indianola, Calhoun County, Texas, USA).

In the United States it occurs in the following states: central and western Arkansas, Oklahoma excluding the northeast, north-central region and the panhandle, Texas excluding the northern panhandle and the east, southern and central New Mexico and Arizona, extreme southern Nevada, and in southeastern California on either side of the Chocolate Mountains. Records from extreme southern Kansas (Cowley and Sumner Counties) may be based on a natural occurrence of the species, while multiple records from near Kanopolis Reservoir in Ellsworth County seem to indicate a viable (although isolated) population.

In Mexico it occurs in the following states: Nuevo León, Coahuila, Chihuahua, Sonora, extreme northeastern Baja California (state), northern Sinaloa, northeastern Durango, Zacatecas, most of San Luis Potosí, northern Veracruz, Hidalgo and Querétaro. Specimens have been collected in the mountains, northwest of Tehuantepec, Oaxaca on numerous occasions, but have not been reported there since the 1940s.

This species has also been reported on a number of islands in the Gulf of California, including San Pedro Mártir, Santa María (Sinaloa), Tíburon and the Turner Islands.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article, Crotalus atrox

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