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Pithuophis melanoleucus annectens - Chris Brown.jpg
San Diego gopher snake
Pituophis catenifer annectens
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Colubridae
Tribe: Lampropeltini
Genus: Pituophis
Holbrook, 1842

Arizona, Churchilla, Coluber, Elaphis, Epiglottophis, Pityophis, Rhinechis, Spilotes[1]

Pituophis is a genus of nonvenomous colubrid snakes commonly referred to as gopher snakes, pine snakes, and bullsnakes, which are endemic to North America.

Geographic range[edit]

Species and subspecies within the genus Pituophis are found throughout Mexico, the Southern and Western United States and Western Canada.[2]


All species of Pituophis are large and powerfully built. The head is relatively small in proportion to the body and it is only slightly distinct from the neck. The rostral is enlarged and elongated, imparting a characteristic somewhat pointed shape to the head. All the species occurring in the United States have four prefrontals instead of the usual two.[2]

Modified epiglottis[edit]

In all snakes of the genus Pituophis, the epiglottis is peculiarly modified so that it is thin, erect and flexible. When a stream of air is forced from the trachea, the epiglottis vibrates, thereby producing the peculiarly loud, hoarse hissing for which bullsnakes, gopher snakes and pine snakes are well known.[3]

Species and subspecies[edit]

Image Scientific name Common Name Subspecies Distribution
Pituophis catenifer catenifer (Carrizo Plain).jpg Pituophis catenifer (Blainville, 1835) gopher snake
  • P. c. affinis (Hallowell, 1852) – Sonoran gopher snake
  • P. c. annectens Baird & Girard, 1853 – San Diego gopher snake
  • P. c. bimaris Klauber, 1946 – central Baja California gopher snake
  • P. c. catenifer (Blainville, 1835)Pacific gopher snake
  • P. c. coronalis Klauber, 1946 – Coronado Island gopher snake
  • P. c. deserticola Stejneger, 1893 – Great Basin gopher snake
  • P. c. fulginatus Klauber, 1946 – San Martin Island gopher snake
  • P. c. pumilis Klauber, 1946 – Santa Cruz gopher snake
  • P. c. sayi (Schlegel, 1837)bullsnake
North America
Cría de Alicane - Pitouphis deppei.jpg Pituophis deppei (A.M.C. Duméril, 1853) Mexican pine snake
  • P. d. deppei (A.M.C. Duméril, 1853) – southern Mexican pine snake
  • P. d. jani (Cope, 1861) – northern Mexican pine snake
central Oxaca, Mexico
Pituophis insulanus Klauber, 1946 Credos Island gopher snake Isla de Credos, Mexico
Shulba(Pituophis lineaticollis).jpg Pituophis lineaticollis (Cope, 1861) Middle American gopher snake
  • P. l. gibsoni Stuart, 1954
  • P. l. lineaticollis (Cope, 1861)
From Mexico city, south to Chiapas, Mexico
G-Bartolotti FL pine.jpg Pituophis melanoleucus (Daudin, 1803) pine snake
  • P. m. lodingi Blanchard, 1924 – black pine snake
  • P. m. melanoleucus (Daudin, 1803) – northern pine snake
  • P. m. mugitus Barbour, 1921 – Florida pine snake
southeastern United States
PinesnakeSaenz nr-page.jpg Pituophis ruthveni Stull, 1929 Louisiana pine snake west-central Louisiana and East Texas
Cape gopher snake.jpg Pituophis vertibralis (Blainville, 1835) Cape gopher snake southern Baja California Sur, Mexico.


  1. ^ Wright AH, Wright AA (1957). Handbook of Snakes of the United States and Canada. Ithaca and London: Comstock. 1,105 pp. (in 2 volumes) (Pituophis, pp. 585–626, Figures 171–181, Map 46).
  2. ^ a b Conant R (1975). A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America, Second Edition. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 0-395-19977-8 (paperback). (Genus Pituophis, pp. 198–201 + Plate 27 + figure 57 + Map 147).
  3. ^ Schmidt KP, Davis DD (1941). Field Book of Snakes of the United States and Canada. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons. 365 pp. (Genus Pituophis, pp. 158–160).

Further reading[edit]

  • Holbrook JE (1842). North American Herpetology; or, A Description of the Reptiles Inhabiting the United States. Vol. IV. Philadelphia: J. Dobson. 138 pp., 35 plates. (Genus Pituophis, p. 7).

External links[edit]