Seven New Subspecies of Mexican Garter Proposed in 2003

Shortly before Roger Conant died in 2003, he published a major research paper identifying seven additional subspecies of Mexican Garter Snake, Thamnophis eques. Based on fieldwork dating back more than four decades, Conant focused on endemic populations of garter snakes living around lakes in the transvolcanic belt of central Mexico. “The isolation of individual lakes as a result of volcanism or severe flooding, probably a million or more years ago, has given Thamnophis eques time to differentiate from one locality to another.” To the three existing subspecies of T. eques Conant added carmenensis, cuitzeoensis, diluvialis, insperatus, obscurus, patzcuaroensis and scotti, all of which would previously have been assigned to T. eques eques. To my great surprise, some of these subspecies are already turning up in private collections.