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Masticophis flagellum.jpg
Western coachwhip, Masticophis flagellum testaceus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Colubridae
Subfamily: Colubrinae
Genus: Masticophis
Baird & Girard, 1853

9, see text.


Bascanion, Bascanium, Coluber, Coryphodon, Drymobius, Herpetodryas, Leptophis, Liophis, Natrix, Psammophis, Zamenis[1]

Masticophis is a genus of colubrid snakes, commonly referred to as whip snakes or coachwhips, which are endemic to the Americas.[2] They are characterized by having a long, thin body and are not dangerous to humans.

Geographic range[edit]

Species of Masticophis are found in the United States, Mexico, Central America, and northern South America.[2]


Adults may attain total lengths from 152 cm (5 ft) for M. lateralis to 259 cm (8.5 ft) for M. flagellum. A distinctive character of this genus is the shape of the frontal scale (the large scale in the center of the upper surface of the head) which is bell-shaped and elongated. At the rear of the body, the dorsal scales are arranged in only 13 rows.[3]


Schott's whip snake, M. s. schotti


  1. ^ Wright, A.H., & A.A. Wright. 1957. Handbook of Snakes of the United States and Canada. Comstock. Ithaca & London. 1,105 pp. (in 2 volumes) (Genus Masticophis, pp. 423-425.)
  2. ^ a b Conant, R. 1975. A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America, Second Edition. Houghton Mifflin. Boston. 429 pp. ISBN 0-395-19977-8 (paperback). (Genus Masticophis, pp. 177-178.)
  3. ^ Smith, H.M., and E.D. Brodie, Jr. 1982. Reptiles of North America: A Guide to Field Identification. Golden Press. New York. 240 pp. ISBN 0-307-13666-3 (paperback). (Genus Masticophis, pp. 190-1903.)