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 Dixon, 1960 - Texas glossy snake
- Arizona elegans candida Klauber, 1946 - Western Mojave glossy snake
- Arizona elegans eburnata Klauber, 1946 - desert glossy snake
- Arizona elegans elegans Kennicott, 1859 - Kansas glossy snake
- Arizona elegans expolita Klauber, 1946 - Chihuahua glossy snake
- Arizona elegans noctivaga Klauber, 1946 - Arizona glossy snake
- Arizona elegans occidentalis Blanchard, 1924 - California glossy snake
- Arizona elegans pacata Klauber, 1946 - peninsula glossy snake
- Arizona elegans philipi Klauber, 1946 - Painted Desert glossy snake
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.
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.
- Klauber, Laurence M. 1946. The glossy snake, Arizona, with descriptions of new subspecies. Transactions of the San Diego Society of Natural History 10(17):311-398.
- Species Arizona elegans at The Reptile Databasede:Arizonanattern