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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: Sonora
Species (14): S. aemula – S. annulata – S. cincta – S. episcopa – S. fasciata – S. michoacanensis – S. mosaueri – S. mutabilis – S. occipitalis – S. palarostris – S. savagei – S. semiannulata – S. straminea – S. taylori

Sonora Baird & Girard, 1853: 117

Type species: Sonora semiannulata Baird & Girard, 1853, by monotypy.


Lamprosoma Hallowell, 1856: 310 [preoccupied by Lamprosoma Kirby, 1818]
Type species: Rhinostoma occipitale Hallowell, 1854, by original designation and monotypy.

Chionactis Cope, 1860: 241 [replacement name]
Type species: Rhinostoma occipitale Hallowell, 1854, by original designation and monotypy.

Chilomeniscus Cope, 1860: 339
Type species: Chilomeniscus stramineus Cope, 1860, by monotypy.

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.
Hallowell, E. [1856] 1857. Description of a new genus of colubriform serpents from California. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia 8(6): 310–311. BHL
Cope, E.D. 1860. Catalogue of the Colubridae in the Museum of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, with notes and descriptions of new species. Part 2. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia 12: 241–266. BHL Reference page.
Cope, E.D. 1860. Notes and descriptions of new and little known species of American reptiles. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia 12: 339–345. BHL Reference page.

Additional references

Cox, C.L., Rabosky, A.R.D., Reyes-Velasco, J., Ponce-Campos, P., Smith, E.N., Flores-Villela, O. & Campbell, J.A. 2012. Molecular systematics of the genus Sonora (Squamata: Colubridae) in central and western Mexico. Systematics and Biodiversity 10(1): 93–108. DOI: 10.1080/14772000.2012.666293 Paywall Reference page.
Wood, D.A., Fisher, R.N. & Vandergast, A.G. 2014. Fuzzy Boundaries: Color and Gene Flow Patterns among Parapatric Lineages of the Western Shovel-Nosed Snake and Taxonomic Implication. PLoS One 9(5): e97494. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0097494 Open access Reference page.
Cox, C.L., Rabosky, A.R.D., Holmes, I.A., Reyes-Velasco, J., Roelke, C.E., Smith, E.N., Flores-Villela, O., McGuire, J.A. & Campbell, J.A. 2018. Synopsis and taxonomic revision of three genera in the snake tribe Sonorini. Journal of Natural History 52(13–16): 945–988. DOI: 10.1080/00222933.2018.1449912 Paywall Reference page.


Uetz, P. & Hallermann, J. 2022. Sonora . The Reptile Database. Accessed on 11 March 2022.

Vernacular names
English: Ground Snakes

Sonora is a genus of small harmless colubrid snakes commonly referred to as ground snakes, which are endemic to North America.

Geographic range

They range through central and northern Mexico, and the Southwestern United States.

They are sand dwellers.[2]

Image Scientific name Common Name Distribution
Sonora aemula 57731371.jpg Sonora aemula (Cope, 1879) filetail ground snake
Sonora annulatus 12329147.jpg Sonora annulata (Baird, 1859) Colorado Desert shovelnose snake SE California, Arizona, Baja California
Sonora cincta 1549488280.jpg Sonora cincta Cope, 1861 Arizona ground snake, banded burrowing snake, horse snake, red and black ground snake, Sonora ringed snake[1] USA (S Arizona), Mexico (N Baja California Sur, W Sonora)
Sonora semiannulata semiannulata, Ozark County, Missouri, by Peter Paplanus.jpg Sonora episcopa Kennicott, 1859 ground snake USA (Missouri, N Arkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, SE Colorado, S/E New Mexico), Mexico (Coahuila)
Sonora fasciata 1827002.jpg Sonora fasciata Cope, 1892 variable sand snake, banded sand snake Mexico (Baja California)
Sonora michoacanensis (Dugès, 1884) Michoacán ground snake Mexico (Colima, Guerrero, Michoacan; Morelos, Puebla)
Sonora mosaueri Stickel, 1938 Mosauer's ground snake Mexico (Baja California Sur)
Sonora mutabilis Stickel, 1943 Michoacán ground snake Mexico (Jalisco, Nayarit, Aguascalientes, southern Zacatecas, S Sinaloa)
Chionactis occipitalis07.jpg Sonora occipitalis (Hallowell, 1854) western shovelnose snake USA (SE California, S Nevada, SW Arizona), Mexico (Baja California Norte)
Sonora palarostris (Klauber, 1937) Sonoran shovelnose snake USA (S Arizona), Mexico (Sonora)
Sonora savagei Cliff, 1954 Savage's sand snake[3] Mexico (Baja California)
Sonora semiannulata semiannulata, Ozark County, Missouri, by Peter Paplanus.jpg Sonora semiannulata Baird & Girard, 1853 western ground snake USA (W Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Oklahoma, S Colorado, S Kansas, SW Missouri, SE Utah, California, Arkansas), Mexico (N Sonora, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Tamaulipas, NW Nuevo León, NE Durango)
Sonora straminea 27306993.jpg Sonora straminea Cope, 1860 variable sand snake Mexico (S Baja California Sur, Sinaloa)
Sonora taylori (Boulenger, 1894) Taylor's ground snake[3] S Texas, adjacent Mexico


Wright AH, Wright AA (1957). Handbook of Snakes of the United States and Canada. Ithaca and London: Comstock Publishing Associates, a division of Cornell University Press. 1,105 pp. (in 2 volumes). ("Genus Chilomeniscus", pp. 116–120; "Genus Sonora", pp. 669–692).
Goin CJ, Goin OB, Zug GR (1978). Introduction to Herpetology, Third Edition. San Francisco: W.H. Freeman. xi + 378 pp. ISBN 0-7167-0020-4. (Subfamily Colubrinae, Genus Sonora, p. 324).

Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michael; Grayson, Michael (2011). The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. xiii + 296 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. (Chilomeniscus savagei, p. 233; Sonora taylori, p. 262).

External links

Genus Sonora at The Reptile Database

Further reading

Baird SF, Girard CF (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. (Sonora, new genus, p. 117).
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 0-395-19979-4 (hardcover), ISBN 0-395-19977-8 (paperback). (Genus Sonora, p. 213).
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 Sonora, p. 197).
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 Sonora, p. 166).


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