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Old 01-22-2023, 04:03 PM   #11
Socratic Monologue
At least Nelsons and Sinaloans are now the same species (L. polyzona). If I'm interpreting the switcharoo story correctly, it sounds like any given hobby line hondo stands a good chance of being an interspecific hybrid.

Another reason why locale-specific lines are good for captive stocks -- they have one more criterion by which their species can be confirmed.
Old 01-22-2023, 04:33 PM   #12
Even locality info will be a gray area. I have had this discussion before in reference to "Okeetee" corn snakes.

Who determines where the border of any locality is located? Once that is established, suppose an animal is capture 2 feet outside of that line, headed away from the locality? Then on the other hand, suppose a similar animal is captured 2 feet outside that line, heading TOWARDS the locality?

As an aside, one of the big problems with the neotropical milk snakes was that the exportation points changed often. One country would be more lax than others, so all specimens collected throughout several countries would be funneled through that exportation point. So, saying a milk snake came from Guatemala, would not really express any realistic locality information at all. Then the next year, Costa Rica might be the preferred shipping point.

Wholesalers would often search through all the imports, and put labels on the milk snakes based merely on what they looked like and what they thought they could get the highest dollar for. No one really know where the actual capture points were for such animals. Everything was just guesswork. People who actually collected those animals at specific localities were very few and far between. At least as best as I understand the circumstances....
Old 01-22-2023, 05:44 PM   #13
Socratic Monologue
Good points, and I agree with your implicit evaluation. Seriously and sincerely, you should write a (print) book about all these bits about earlier days; even if it turns out to be rambling recollection it would be very valuable to future keepers.

With some species -- some of the dart frogs, I'm thinking of, especially the mimic species -- there is both locality info based on actual collection point (publicly this information is quite general in the ways you mention, but presumably is precisely known), and an empirical knowledge of the geographical variance in pattern types, including known pattern intergrade areas, based on published research.

These are animals that were collected and exported for breeding by the collector, which is a very different situation than one in which WC animals enter the hobby market -- that's a matter for a different discussion, perhaps, but at least tangentially related and certainly equally important.

In any event, some locality info is better than none. For example, rosy boas were mostly kept pure to "locale" or former subspecies. And regardless of the specificity of each so-called "locale", that certainly helped minimize the number of interspecific rosy hybrids in captive stocks now that there are two species. Though unfortunately there's a fair amount of intentional hybridization of rosies going on lately, at least that's theoretically possible to track in a way that simply breeding any old L. trivirgata together would not have been.

Knowing some details of the sorts of export shenanigans that you mention helps us better understand what our captive stocks actually are or are not, too.
Old 01-22-2023, 06:59 PM   #14
Whenever there is money involved, there will be gray areas when it comes to "truth".

To give you an example, which some people really REALLY hate to hear when I tell this tale, there is the issue of locality data for some gray banded king snakes.

Years ago, at one of the reptile shows in Tampa, FL, I had hatched out quite a batch of gray banded king snakes. Man was I excited about that! And man did that wear off quickly when every one of them proved to be a royal pain in the butt to get feeding on pinky mice. So when this Tampa show rolled around (in the Fall, obviously) I had had enough of those darn varmints and just wanted to get rid of them. I put a really good price on them at the show, stating plainly that they were pains in the butt. Two day show and none of them were moving. I had another vendor stop by my table, and told me that if I would cut him a deal at the end of the show, he would take every one from me. So end of show comes around, and I still had them all. 40 or so of them, if I remember correctly. I did NOT want to take them back home with me!

So I look up that other vendor and we cut a deal. While we were counting them out and exchanging money, he got a bit casual with me. Probably too much, all things considered. Mentioned that he just loved buying baby gray bands that time of year, because he just plans on a trip out to the Big Bend area of Texas, rents a motel room out there, and sells them all, calling them wild caught with locality data for each of them. Said he makes a killing that way. No telling how often he had done that, but obviously that wasn't a one time situation.

So how many people bought such animals with fake locality data for them? How many people resold them or even the offspring of them making the same locality claims?

As for me, I got out of gray banded kings at that time. Matter of fact, I still have the domain name GRAYBANDS.COM that I need to sell off at some point. It is certainly something that I will NEVER use.

Anyway, going back even further, and this is just hearsay, I was told of one of the big tri-colored king/milk snake breeders of the day who lived in an area where he could keep all of his stock in outdoor pits. None were segregated in any way, and animals were grouped via size, and not so much species or subspecies, so they were free to breed among themselves however the spirit moved them. Anyone working with the tri-colors knows how readily they will interbreed, so the information relayed to me doesn't seem all that far fetched. Anyway, when the eggs were hatched out, the babies were segregated by appearance and then labelled as what they most reasonably resembled, and then sold that way. There was no way to really tell what exactly they were. And the people receiving them had no clue about what they were really getting.

I really don't want to mention the guy's name, as it is a different world today, and although it probably seemed like a real good idea at the time, in today's climate, well, not so much. If for no other reason than the chaos that comes to mind thinking about the positive ID of so many animals that were likely founder stock for a lot of subsequent breeders and how that all had to percolate down through the subsequent generations. I am sure many people had surprises hatch out for them that had no logical reason, at least as best THEY knew.

As for corn snakes, hell, I know I had been lied to by people I trusted, and THINK I had been lied to by even more people who I trusted somewhat less. I tried to filter out all of the animals that SEEMED to me to be obvious hybrids, but heck, it got to the point where any new genetic strain that came out invariably got called as a hybrid. Heck, the Caramel line came from a wild caught female that I picked out of a bunch of wild caughts from a mom and pop pet shop in Cape Coral, Florida. The Lavender line (which I originally called "Mocha" came from a wild caught female that I personally caught in Murdock, Florida. The "Cinder Corns" (which I preferred calling "Ashy Corns") came from a gravid female that I traded from a guy in a Birmingham reptile show who lived in the Keys and swore it was one he caught himself there locally. But to this day some people will still believe they are hybrids in one way or another. I know there are more, but you catch my drift.

Of course, when you see hybrids between such wildly different colubrids as California kings and corn snakes, Honduran milks and Cal Kings, then gopher snakes and all what else thrown into the mix, eventually you have to come to the conclusion that a *TRUE* ID on many of these animals is something most people will probably never really know. So you reach the tipping point of either not caring and enjoying them anyway for what they are, or getting out of working with them rather than lose your sanity over those kinds of details. Heck, I nearly lost my marbles over just the genetic line we call "Hypomelanism" in the corn snakes. At one point I believe I had five different distinct lines of them I was working with. And none of them could be told apart visually.
Old 01-22-2023, 08:44 PM   #15
Socratic Monologue
Good stuff.

It isn't too hard to find locale rosy boas for sale that after a bit of conversation turn out to be some version of 'I wasn't sure but I looked at some photos and some guy on FB told me it might be locale x'. Happens enough on that other classified site; of the handful of sellers I've informed of obvious misidentifications, about half couldn't care less.

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