Red Touches Black, Friend of Jack: Using Citizen Science to Analyze Range and Mimetic Variation
Evolution, mimicry, conservation, citizen science, snakes
The Arizona mountain kingsnake, Lampropeltis pyromelana , is an understudied species of tricolor kingsnake found in high elevation areas in the western US. Due to its rarity, there is little data on its range or natural history. These harmless snakes are highly variable in coloration (see Fig. 1) and are generally considered Batesian mimics of the highly venomous Sonoran coral snake, Micruroides euryxanthus . But paradoxically, the distributions of the two species barely overlap. Experimental findings indicate that where M. euryxanthus is absent, L. pyromelana would face evolutionary pressure to evolve away from its now disadvantageous mimetic coloration. We utilized citizen science observations in addition to traditional data sources to paint a clearer picture of the range and color variation of these beautiful serpents.
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Kohler, Dallin and Whiting, Alison, "Red Touches Black, Friend of Jack: Using Citizen Science to Analyze Range and Mimetic Variation" (2022). Library/Life Sciences Undergraduate Poster Competition 2022. 47.
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