Pantherophis is a genus of non-venomous colubrid snakes found in North and Central America. All are powerful constrictors and help control rodent populations.

The species of Pantherophis were previously currently included in the genus Elaphe. However, in 2002 Utiger et al. raised a taxonomic suggestion to resurrect the genus Pantherophis based on mitochondrial DNA evidence suggesting that the New World ratsnakes are more closely related to the Lampropeltini than to the Old World ratsnakes [1]. This was confirmed by later phylogenetic studies [2]

Suggested species included:

See alsoEdit


In recent years there has been some taxonomic controversy over the genus of North American ratsnakes. Based on mitochondrial DNA, Utiger et al. (2002) showed that North American Rat Snakes of the genus Elaphe along with closely related genera such as Pituophis and Lampropeltis form a monophyletic group separate from Old World members of the genus. They therefore suggested the resurrection of the available name Pantherophis Fitzinger for all North American taxa (north of Mexico).[3]

The SSAR (2008) accepted the taxonomic change to Pantherophis [4]


  1. [1] Molecular Systemics and Phylogeny of Old and New World Ratsnakes
  2. Pyron, R.A. & F.T. Burbrink (2009) Neogene diversification and taxonomic stability in the snake tribe Lampropeltini (Serpentes: Colubridae). Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 52: 524-529
  3. Elaphe obsoleta at The Center for North American Herpetology. Accessed 20 June 2008.
  4. name="Cro08">Crother, B. I. (ed.). 2008. Scientific and Standard English Names of Amphibians and Reptiles of North America North of Mexico, pp. 1–84. SSAR Herpetological Circular 37. PDF at SSAR. Accessed 4 July 2011.

az:Pantherophis de:Pantherophis fr:Pantherophis pt:Pantherophis ru:Pantherophis sk:Pantherophis

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