Holotype (UN 61035) precaudal vertebra of Lampropeltis similis Left (dorsal view) and right (anterior view). Figure 3 from the original description (Holman, 1964).
REPTILIA (Reptiles) SQUAMATA (PART) (Snakes) COLUBRIDAE (Harmless Egg-laying Snakes)

Similar Milksnake
Lampropeltis similis Holman 1964

Conservation Status:


A small Lampropeltis similar to the Recent species group comprising L. triangulum (Linnaeus), L. pyromelana (Cope), and L. zonata (Blainville), and to the Pliocene and Pleistocene fossil L. intermedius Brattstrom. Closest to L. intermedius in having small, narrowly rounded accessory processes (accessory processes usually much larger and more broadly rounded in L. triangulum, L. pyromelana, and L. zonata). Differs from L. intermedius in having top of zygosphene gently curved (top of zygosphene with straight, downward-sloping sides in L. intermedius, Brattstrom 1955a: 153, Fig. IA), and in having the subcentral ridges slightly convex from below (concave from below in L. intermedius). From the original description (Holman, 1964)

Valentinian; Valentine formation; Norden Bridge Quarry.
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  • Occurrence Summary:  
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    Museum Vouchers 
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    Other Observations 
Some county occurrences indicated below may be too imprecise to map above.
County Breakdown: County Name (# occurrences):
Trego (1);

Natural History:

This fossil may be the ancestral form for L. intermedius, which is known from the Pliocene of the Goleta formation, Morelia, Michoacan, Mexico, and from the early Pleistocene of the Curtis Ranch, San Pedro Valley, Cochise County, Arizona (Brattstrom 1955). Brattstrom indicated the possibility that L. intermedius is the stem form for L. triangulum, L. pyromelana, and L. zonata. L. triangulum is known from late Pleistocene deposits in Florida (Auffenberg 1963) and Texas (Holman 1963). From original description (Holman, 1964).

1928 Ortenburger, Arthur I. The whip snakes and racers: Genera Masticophis and Coluber. Memiors of the University of Michigan Museum (1):1-247
1964 Holman, J. Alan. Fossil snakes from the Valentine Formation of Nebraska. Copea 1964(4):631-637
1973 Holman, J. Alan. Herpetofauna of the Mission Local Fauna (Lower Pliocene) of South Dakota. Journal of Paleontology 47(3):462-464
1975 Holman, J. Alan. Herpetofauna of the WaKeeney local fauna (Lower Pliocene: Clarendionian) of Trego County, Kansas. Pages 49-66 in Studies on Cenozoic Paleontology and Stratigraphy in honor of Claude W. Hibbard. Museum of Paleontology, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan. pp.
1995 Parmley, Dennis and J. Alan Holman. Hemphillian (Late Miocene) snakes from Nebraska, with comments on Arikareean through Blancan Snakes of midcontinental North America. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 15(1):79-95
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Travis W. Taggart © 1999-2024 — w/ Sternberg Museum of Natural History, Fort Hays State University