Thamnophis saurita

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Thamnophis saurita


Taxonavigation: Colubroidea 

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Cladus: Unikonta
Cladus: Opisthokonta
Cladus: Holozoa
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Superphylum: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Megaclassis: Osteichthyes
Cladus: Sarcopterygii
Cladus: Rhipidistia
Cladus: Tetrapodomorpha
Cladus: Eotetrapodiformes
Cladus: Elpistostegalia
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Cladus: Reptiliomorpha
Cladus: Amniota
Classis: Reptilia
Cladus: Eureptilia
Cladus: Romeriida
Subclassis: Diapsida
Cladus: Sauria
Infraclassis: Lepidosauromorpha
Superordo: Lepidosauria
Ordo: Squamata
Cladus: Unidentata, Episquamata
Cladus: Toxicofera
Subordo: Serpentes
Infraordo: Caenophidia
Superfamilia: Colubroidea

Familia: Colubridae
Subfamilia: Natricinae
Genus: Thamnophis
Species: Thamnophis saurita
Subspecies (4): T. s. nitae – T. s. sackenii – T. s. saurita – T. s. septentrionalis



Thamnophis saurita (Linnaeus, 1766) [conserved name]

  • Holotype: unknown, presumed lost.
  • Neotype: FMNH 73119 (formerly CMR 53.136.5), adult ♀, collected by John Quinby on 20 July 1953. [designated by Schmidt & Conant (1956: 230)]
  • Type locality: “Carolina”, redesigned by neotype designation to “15 miles northeast of Charleston, Berkeley County, South Carolina” by Schmidt & Conant (1956: 230).
  • Placed on the Official List of Specific Names in Zoology by Opinion 385 (1956: 193).


  • Coluber saurita Linnaeus, 1766: 385 [original combination]
  • Natrix sauritaMerrem, 1820: 122 [subsequent combination]
  • Tropidonotus sauritaBoie, 1827: 535 [subsequent combination]
  • Leptophis sauritusHolbrook, 1842: 21 [subsequent combination]
  • Thamnophis sauritaFitzinger, 1843: 26 [subsequent combination by implication]
  • Eutainia sauritaBaird & Girard, 1853: 24 [subsequent combination]


  • Tropidonotus nicobarensis Sclater, 1891: 241 [synonymised by Lee, Chandramouli & Bauer (2023: 140)]
    • Holotype: ZSI 8895, immature sex indet., collected by Frederik Adolph de Röepstorff between 1868–1883.
    • Type locality: “Camorta in the Nicobars”.



Primary references

  • Linnaeus, C. 1766. Systema naturae sive regna tria naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Laurentii Salvii: Holmiae. 12th ed. v. 1 (pt 1): 1–532. BHL Reference page
  • Sclater, W.L. 1891. Notes on a collection of snakes in the Indian Museum, with descriptions of several new species. Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal LX: 230–250. BHL
  • International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature. 1956. Opinion 385. Determination under the Plenary Powers of the method to be adopted in interpreting the nominal species “Coluber sirtalisLinnaeus, 1758, the common garter snake of the eastern United States, and approval of the neotype designated for the foregoing species and of that designated for the ribbon snake of North America. pp. 191–230, 2 pls. In Hemming, F. (Ed.). Opinions and Declarations of the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature. Volume 12. Part 6. International Trust for Zoological Nomenclature: London. BHL Reference page
  • Lee, J.L., Chandramouli, S.R. & Bauer, A.M. 2023. Tropidonotus nicobarensis Sclater, 1891 is a junior synonym of Thamnophis saurita (Linnaeus, 1766)(Squamata: Serpentes: Natricinae). Zootaxa 5285(1): 133–148. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.5285.1.5 Paywall Reference page

Vernacular names

English: Eastern Ribbon Snake
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