Arizona elegans

Arizona elegans, Photo: United States Geological Survey

Cladus: Eukaryota
Supergroup: Opisthokonta
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Cladus: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Classis: Reptilia
Subclassis: Diapsida
Infraclassis: Lepidosauromorpha
Superordo: Lepidosauria
Ordo: Squamata
Subordo: Serpentes
Superfamilia: Colubroidea
Familia: Colubridae
Subfamilia: Colubrinae
Genus: Arizona
Species: Arizona elegans
Subspecies: A. e. arenicola - A. e. blanchardi - A. e. candida - A. e. eburnata - A. e. elegans - A. e. noctovaga - A. e. occidentalis - A. e. pacata - A. e. philipi


Arizona elegans Kennicott, 1859


* Arizona elegans Kennicott, 1859: 18
* Pityophis elegans — Cope
* Rhinechis elegans — Cope, 1886: 284
* Coluber arizonae — Boulenger, 1894: 66
* Arizona elegans expolita Klauber, 1946
* Arizona elegans australis Williams, Chrapliwy & Smith, 1961
* Arizona elegans — Stebbins, 1985: 186
* Arizona elegans arenicola — Conant & Collins, 1991: 201
* Arizona elegans elegans — Conant & Collins, 1991: 201
* Arizona elegans philipi — Conant & Collins, 1991: 201
* Arizona elegans — Liner, 1994


* Kennicott, 1859. In Baird, U.S: Mexican Bound. Surv. 2, Rept., Pt. 2, p. 14, 16,18, pl.13.
* Stebbins,R.C., 1985. A Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians, 2nd ed. Houghton Mifflin, Boston.
* Liner,E.A., 1994. Scientific and common names for the Amphibians and Reptiles of Mexico in English and Spanish. Herpetol. Circ. No. 23: 1-113, SSAR.
* Arizona elegans at the New Reptile Database. Accessed on 20 August 2008.

Vernacular names
English: Glossy Snake


Arizona elegans is a medium-sized colubrid snake commonly referred to as the glossy snake. The genus Arizona has only one officially recognized species, A. elegans, with several subspecies. Some have recommended that A. elegans occidentalis be granted full species status.


Subspecies of Arizona elegans include:

* Arizona elegans arenicola - Texas glossy snake Dixon, 1960
* Arizona elegans candida - Western Mojave glossy snake Klauber, 1946
* Arizona elegans eburnata - desert glossy snake Klauber, 1946
* Arizona elegans elegans - Kansas glossy snake Kennicott, 1859
* Arizona elegans expolita - Chihuahua glossy snake
* Arizona elegans noctivaga - Arizona glossy snake Klauber, 1946
* Arizona elegans occidentalis - California glossy snake Blanchard, 1924
* Arizona elegans pacata - peninsula glossy snake
* Arizona elegans philipi - Painted Desert glossy snake Klauber, 1946


The glossy snake and its many subspecies are all similar in appearance to gopher snakes. However, they are smaller than gopher snakes, with narrow, pointed heads, and a variety of skin patterns and colors. They are nonvenomous, nocturnal predators of small mammals and lizards. Most subspecies are ca. 75-130 cm (ca. 30-50 inches) in length and are shades of tan, brown, and gray with spotted patterns on their smooth, glossy skin and a white or cream-colored unmarked ventral surface. Coloration often varies in relation to the color of the soil in a snake's native habitat.

Range of Arizona elegans

Habitat is normally semi-arid grasslands of the southwestern United States, from California in the west to Kansas in the east and as far south as Texas, and northern Mexico.


Glossy snakes are oviparous. They breed in the late spring and early summer and young hatch out in the early fall. Clutches average from 10 to 20 young that are approximately 25 cm long.


* "Arizona elegans". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 6 February 2006.
* Species Arizona elegans at The Reptile Database

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