Pantherophis is a genus of nonvenomous colubrid snakes endemic to North America and Central America, commonly called ratsnakes or rat snakes. All are powerful constrictors and help control rodent populations.
The species of Pantherophis were previously 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 the New World ratsnakes are more closely related to king snakes than to the Old World ratsnakes. This was confirmed by later phylogenetic studies.
- Pantherophis alleghaniensis (Holbrook, 1836) – eastern ratsnake
- Pantherophis bairdi (Yarrow, 1880) – Baird's ratsnake
- Pantherophis emoryi (Baird & Girard, 1853) – Great Plains ratsnake
- Pantherophis gloydi (Conant, 1940) – eastern foxsnake
- Pantherophis guttatus (Linnaeus, 1766) – red cornsnake
- Pantherophis obsoletus (Say, 1823) – western ratsnake or Texas ratsnake
- Pantherophis ramspotti Crother, White, Savage, Eckstut, Graham & Gardner, 2011 – western foxsnake
- Pantherophis slowinskii (Burbrink, 2002) – Slowinski's cornsnake
- Pantherophis spiloides (A.M.C. Duméril, Bibron & A.H.A. Duméril, 1854) – gray ratsnake or central ratsnake
- Pantherophis vulpinus (Baird & Girard, 1853) – western foxsnake
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 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).
-  Molecular Systemics and Phylogeny of Old and New World Ratsnakes
- Pyron RA, & Burbrink FT. 2009. Neogene diversification and taxonomic stability in the snake tribe Lampropeltini (Serpentes: Colubridae). Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 52: 524-529.
- Crother BI (editor). 2008. Scientific and Standard English Names of Amphibians and Reptiles of North America North of Mexico. SSAR Herpetological Circular 37. 84 pp.PDF at SSAR. Accessed 4 July 2011.
- Pantherophis, The Reptile Database
- Scotophis obsoleta at The Center for North American Herpetology. Accessed 20 June 2008.
- Fitzinger L. 1843. Systema Reptilium, Fasciculus Primus, Amblyglossae. Vienna: Braumüller & Seidel. 106 pp. + indices. (Genus Pantherophis, p. 25.)
- Utiger U, Helfenberger N, Schätti B, Schmidt C, Ruf M, Ziswiler V. 2002. Molecular systematics and phylogeny of Old World and New World ratsnakes, Elaphe Auct., and related genera (Reptilia, Squamata, Colubridae). Russian Journal of Herpetology 9 (2): 105-124.
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