B R E V^-0 R A Mniseum of Comparative Zoology us ISSN 0006 9698 Cambridge, Mass. 30JrNEl982 NrMBER466 SYSTEMATICS OF THE MEX/CANA SPECIES GROUP OF THE COLUBRID GENUS LAMPROPELTIS, WITH AN HYPOTHESIS MIMICRY William R. Garstka' Abstract. Variation within the/»('.v/(m?flgroupofkingsnakes, genus LaiiipiDpcl-tis (Fit/inger). is discussed. Three species are recognized: L. niexicana (Ciarman). L. alierna (Brown), and L. /■/////\£'/;; (Blanchard). which is added to the species group. L. leonis (Gunther) is placed in the synonymy of L. me.xicana. QuaHtati\e and quantita-tive characters of external and internal morphology are used to diagnose the ta.xa. Outgroup comparisons with other Laiupropeltis and other colubrids indicate that L. niexicana is primiti\e relati\e to L. alierna. E\olution within the group and an hypothesis of mimicry to explain pattern polymorphisms are discussed. L. alierna as interpreted here is restricted to areas north of the Anticline of Arteaga, Mexico and occurs throughout the Bolson de Mapimi and north to the foot of the Guadalupe Mountains. /.. me.xicana is a montane and plateau form occurring on and to the south of the Anticline of Arteaga. L. ruihveni has been found in nttrthwestern Michoacan and adjacent Queretaro in the transverse \olcanic region. .S\mpatr\ is not recorded for the taxa. INTRODUCTION The kingsnakes allied with Lamprope/tis me.xicana (Carman) are relatively small (less than one meter) little-known snakes which inhabit the Chihuahuan Desert and adjacent areas. They occur from 'Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard Uni\ersity, Cambridge. Massachusetts 02138. Present address: Department of Biological Sciences. Universits of Alabama in Huntsville. Huntsville, Alabama 35899.