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Posted by Will Leary on May 11, 2003 at 15:28:59:
Is it possible that a very small population of Cornsnakes, isolated/confined to an area with a large population of Black Rats, will interbreed with each other (places such as the mountains of western NC)? I am well aware that they are separate species, and that this type of intergrade is contrary to contemporary thought in the field of taxonomy. However, I have collected Corns in my area that have a very dark pattern, and in some cases, lots of pure black "splotches" (unlike the "normal" Mountain Corn). I have also encountered adult Black Rats with well defined patterns and lots of "red" on their sides and dorsum.
As you have probably gathered by now, I am of the persuasion that Corns and Black Rats do indeed interbreed under such circumstances, but I would like some input (or correction) from a few of you Corn experts. The next time I find a good "intergrade" type specimen, I will certainly post some pics. Until then, I hope you enjoy the Corn pictured above (collected in Swaine County, NC, NOT an intergrade). BTW, I thought I read somewhere that recent DNA studies have shown that "all" species of Rat Snake are actually indiscernible, taxonomically speaking????
Thanks in advance for the input!
Will Leary <><