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Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Superphylum: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Cladus: Craniata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Cladus: Reptiliomorpha
Cladus: Amniota
Classis: Reptilia
Cladus: Eureptilia
Cladus: Romeriida
Subclassis: Diapsida
Cladus: Sauria
Infraclassis: Lepidosauromorpha
Superordo: Lepidosauria
Ordo: Squamata
Subordo: Serpentes
Infraordo: Caenophidia
Superfamilia: Colubroidea

Familia: Colubridae
Subfamilia: Colubrinae
Genus: Masticophis
Species (11): – M. barbouri – M. bilineatus - M. flagellum – M. fuliginosus – M. lateralisM. mentovarius - M. schotti – M. slevini – M. taeniatusM. anthonyi - M. aurigulus


Masticophis Baird & Girard, 1853: 98

Type species: Masticophis ornatus Baird & Girard, 1853, by subsequent designation.

Primary references

Baird, S.F. & Girard, C. 1853. Catalogue of North American Reptiles in the Museum of the Smithsonian Institution. Part 1.–Serpents. Smithsonian Institution: Washington. xvi + 172 pp. BHL Reference page.


Uetz, P. & Hallermann, J. 2021. Masticophis . The Reptile Database. Accessed on 23 June 2020.
Masticophis – Taxon details on Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS).

Vernacular names
Deutsch: Kutscherpeitschen-Nattern
English: North American Whip Snakes

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

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

Adults of species in the genus Masticophis may attain a total length (including tail) 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]
Species and subspecies

The genus Masticophis contains eleven species that are recognized as being valid, five of which have recognized subspecies.[4]

  • Masticophis anthonyi (Stejneger, 1901) – Clarion Island whip snake
  • Masticophis aurigulus (Cope, 1861) – Baja California striped whip snake
  • Masticophis barbouri (Van Denburgh & Slevin, 1921) – Baja California striped whip snake, Espiritu Santo striped whip snake
  • Masticophis bilineatus Jan, 1863 – Sonoran whip snake
  • Masticophis flagellum (Shaw, 1802) – coachwhip
    • Masticophis flagellum cingulum Lowe & Woodin, 1954 – Sonoran coachwhip
    • Masticophis flagellum flagellum (Shaw, 1802) – eastern coachwhip
    • Masticophis flagellum lineatulus H.M. Smith, 1941 – lined coachwhip
    • Masticophis flagellum piceus (Cope, 1892) – red coachwhip
    • Masticophis flagellum ruddocki Brattstrom & Warren, 1953 – San Joaquin coachwhip
    • Masticophis flagellum testaceus (Say, 1823) – western coachwhip
  • Masticophis fuliginosus (Cope, 1895) – Baja California coachwhip
  • Masticophis lateralis (Hallowell, 1853 – California whipsnake
    • Masticophis lateralis euryxanthus Riemer, 1954 – Alameda striped racer
    • Masticophis lateralis lateralis (Hallowell, 1853) – California striped racer
  • Masticophis mentovarius (A.M.C. Duméril, Bibron & A.H.A. Duméril, 1854) – neotropical whip snake
    • Masticophis mentovarius centralis (Roze, 1953)
    • Masticophis mentovarius mentovarius (A.M.C. Duméril, Bibron & A.H.A. Duméril, 1854)
    • Masticophis mentovarius suborbitalis (W. Peters, 1868)
    • Masticophis mentovarius striolatus (Mertens, 1934)
    • Masticophis mentovarius variolosus H.M. Smith, 1943
  • Masticophis schotti Baird & Girard, 1853 – Schott's whip snake
    • Masticophis schotti ruthveni Ortenburger, 1923 – Ruthven's whip snake
    • Masticophis schotti schotti Baird & Girard, 1853 – Schott's whip snake
  • Masticophis slevini (Lowe & Norris, 1955) – Isla San Esteban whipsnake, San Esteban Island whipsnake
  • Masticophis taeniatus (Hallowell, 1852) – striped whip snake
    • Masticophis taeniatus girardi (Stejneger & Barbour, 1917) – Central Texas whip snake
    • Masticophis taeniatus taeniatus (Hallowell, 1852) – desert striped whip snake

Nota bene: A binomial authority or trinomial authority in parentheses indicates that the species or subspecies was originally described in a genus other than Masticophis.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Masticophis.

Wright AH, Wright AA (1957). Handbook of Snakes of the United States and Canada. Ithaca and London: Comstock. 1,105 pp. (in 2 volumes). (Genus Masticophis, pp. 423-425).
Conant R (1975). A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America, Second Edition. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. xviii + 429 pp. ISBN 0-395-19977-8 (paperback). (Genus Masticophis, pp. 177-178).
Smith HM, Brodie ED Jr (1982). Reptiles of North America: A Guide to Field Identification. New York: Golden Press. 240 pp. ISBN 0-307-13666-3 (paperback). (Genus Masticophis, pp. 190-193).

Genus Masticophis at The Reptile Database

Further reading

Baird SF, Girard C (1853). Catalogue of North American Reptiles in the Museum of the Smithsonian Institution. Part I.—Serpents. Washington, District of Columbia: Smithsonian Institution. xvi + 172 pp. (Masticophis, new genus, p. 98).


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