Composite Account
Lampropeltis triangulum (Lacépède) — Milksnake
Lampropeltis elapsoides
(Holbrook) — Scarlet Kingsnake
Lampropeltis triangulum (Lacépède) – Milksnake and L. elapsoides (Holbrook) - Scarlet Kingsnake

Click on Map for Enlarged View              Click for photos of  L. triangulum   and   L. elapsoides

*Symbols accompanied by an asterisk represent known or reported localities for L. triangulum elapsoides (now L. elapsoides) or intergrades (now hybrids) involving L. elapsoides and one or more subspecies of L. triangulum.

     Exact locality, based on specimen(s) or photographs examined
     Exact locality, based on literature record believed valid
     Approximate locality based on specimen(s) or photographs examined
     Approximate locality based on literature record believed valid
     County record only, based on specimens or photographs examined
     County record only, based on literature report believed valid
     Type locality
?      Questionable and/or problematic record

Taxonomy: The results of a recent study (Ruane et al. 2014) using coalescent species delimitation indicate that L. triangulum is not monophyletic; rather, it is a complex of seven species, two of which (L. triangulum and L. elapsoides) occur in Tennessee. Previously, the taxon was considered a single species with nine subspecies occurring in North America north of Mexico (Crother et al. 2008), three of which (L. t. triangulum, Eastern Milksnake; L. t. syspila, Red Milksnake; and L. t. elapsoides, Scarlet Kingsnake) occurred in Tennessee (Conant and Collins 1998). Lampropeltis t. syspila and any intergrades of the three former subspecies occurring in Tennessee were synonymized with L. triangulum in the taxonomic revision by Ruane et al. (2014). Other recent studies recognizing L. elapsoides as a distinct species include those of Pyron and Burbrink (2009b, 2009c). Although Ruane et al. (2014) did not include Tennessee specimens in their analysis, we accept their conclusions, but still treat the species complex in a single account until more data are available on the Tennessee distributions of L. triangulum and L. elapsoides. 

Distribution: Milksnakes, including any intergrade populations of the recently discarded subspecies (i.e. L. t. triangulum and L. t syspila), are known from throughout the state, with the greatest concentration of records coming from East and Middle Tennessee. Scarlet Kingsnakes, whose range is poorly understood in Tennessee, have been reported from Blount, Coffee, Decatur, Franklin, Hardeman, Humphreys, Knox, Marion, McMinn, Polk, Sevier, Shelby, and Stewart counties. A record (not plotted) also exist from Reelfoot Lake without a county designation (Baker 1957). Museum records and literature sources below that are accompanied by an asterisk represent known or contain reported localities for L. t. elapsoides (now L. elapsoides) or intergrades (now hybrids) with other subspecies of L. triangulum.

Museum Records by Counties: Bledsoe—FLMNH 10823.  Blount—GSMNP 4013 , 4020, 4021.  Campbell— FLMNH 10825.  Cannon—MTSU 42S, 117S.  Carter—LSUMZ 47033; USNM 44340, 44341.  Cheatham—APSU 19282, 19285.  Cocke— APSU 1421; FLMNH 10832; USNM 168253, 184320.  Davidson—APSU 2127, 4512; CMNH R1630; LSUMZ 34899, 43941; TTU uncataloged.  Decatur—UMMZ 72253*.  DeKalb—TTU uncataloged.  Dyer—APSU 19498, 19499.  Franklin—MCZ 60851*, 60853, 127729; USNM 56471.  Giles—APSU 17721.  Grainger—UMMZ 99084.  Greene—UMMZ 103577.  Grundy—LSUMZ 44003; MCZ 60852.  Hamilton—USNM   142042.  Hardeman—APSU 16871*; LSUMZ 44002.  Houston—APSU 3266, 17575.  Humphreys—APSU 17648.  Johnson—UMMZ 116312.  Knox—MCZ 3945, 14007*; USNM 226575; UTKVZC 4176.  Lake—APSU 5672; CMNH 21728; NCSM 8142.  Lewis—UMMZ 155659.  Lincoln—NCSM 15055.  Madison—LSUMZ 43950.  Marion—MCZ 60850*.  Marshall—APSU 19211.  Maury—APSU 19220.  McMinn—FLMNH 10833*; NCSM 8171*, 8172*.  Monroe—FLMNH 10824, 10826, 10827, 10829-10831; NCSM 8176, 8182, 8311-8318; USNM 523614, RH 79-119.  Montgomery—APSU 2128, 3508, 5164, 6125.  Morgan—TTU uncataloged.  Obion—MTSU 164S; UIMNH 21.  Polk—NCSM 8427.  Rutherford—MTSU 74S.  Scott—APSU 6147.  Sevier—FLMNH 10828; GSMNP 4014, 4022-4024, 10905; INHS 6635*; USNM 123341.  Shelby—APSU 13341, 13343, 13344; CMNH 125779*.  Stewart—APSU 285, 547, 555, 559, 3731, 4746, 4747, 5073, 18102, 18969*.  Tipton—APSU 19582.  Trousdale—APSU 18180.  Wilson—TTU 575, 577, 778. 

Literature Sources by Counties: Anderson—Johnson (1964).  Bledsoe—Williams (1988).  Blount—King (1939)*.  Campbell—Williams (1988).  Cheatham—Hopkins (2013), Hopkins (2014b).  Cocke—Williams (1988).  CoffeeReynolds and Niemiller (2013h)*.  Davidson—Rhoads (1895), Blanchard (1921), Williams (1988), Armstrong et al.  (2001).  Decatur—Dury and Gessing (1940)*, Williams (1988)*, Reynolds and Niemiller (2013h)*.  DeKalb—Harris (1967).  Franklin—Blanchard (1921), McCrady and Rodarmor (1967), Cameron and McCrady (1978), Williams (1988)*, Reynolds and Niemiller (2013h)*.  Grainger—Williams (1988).  Greene—Williams (1988).  Grundy—Williams (1988).  Hardeman—Norton (1971)*, Norton and Harvey (1975)*.  Henry—Gentry (1956).  Humphreys—Reynolds and Niemiller (2013h)*.  Johnson—Williams (1988).  Knox—Blanchard (1921)*, Williams (1988)*.  Lake—Williams (1988).  Marion—Williams (1988)*.  Marshall—Williams and Foster (2012b).  Maury—Foster and Conway (2012c).  McMinn—Williams (1988)*.  Monroe—Williams (1988).  MontgomeryScott (1967), Scott and Snyder (1968), Zirkle (1993), Armstrong et al.  (2001).  Obion—Parker (1948), Tanner and Loomis (1957), Williams (1988).  Overton—DeLottelle (1976).  Polk—Ash (1945)*.  Roane—Johnson (1964).  Rutherford—Spiess (2004), Niemiller et al.  (2011).  Sevier—Bishop (1928), Necker (1934), King (1939)*, Williams (1988)*, Reynolds and Niemiller (2013h)*.  Shelby—Parker (1948), Hassell (1961), Reynolds and Niemiller (2013h)*.  Stewart—Williams (1988), Scott (1990), Armstrong et al.  (2001), Davenport (2005), Davenport and Scott (2009), Reynolds and Niemiller (2013h)*.  Tipton—Colvin (2015a).  Trousdale—Glorioso and Pruett (2007).  Unicoi—Williams (1988).  Van Buren—Reynolds and Niemiller (2013d).  Wilson—Jordan et al.  (1968), Jordan (1986), Niemiller et al.  (2011). 

Questionable and/or Erroneous Records: Two intergradient specimens (APSU [DHS] 555 and 559) involving L. t. triangulum and L. t. syspila were erroneously reported from Houston County by Williams (1988). Both specimens are in the David H. Snyder Museum of Zoology at Austin Peay State University, and both were taken by Snyder from the Stewart County portion of Land Between The Lakes during his survey of the area’s herpetofauna. William (1988) also cited a specimen of L. t.elapsoides (MCZ 60850) from Franklin County that is listed in the MCZ catalog as coming from “Tennessee: Jump Off, Sewanee.” The Jump Off area is six to seven miles southeast of Sewanee in Marion County, not Franklin County. 

Conservation Status: None. 

Posted: 27 March 2009

Latest Revision: 11 February 2016

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