Anerythristic Corn Snake

The type 'A' Anerythristic corn is one of the few cultivars of the corn snake that has thriving populations existing in the wild. As a matter of fact, this particular homotype is apparently a positive survival trait for the corn snake and the percentage of Anerythristics to normal colored corns appears to be increasing. At least in the population found in southwest Florida. Possibly this is because most of the roads in this area are of a crushed shell and asphault mixture that a snake that is blotched in pattern of mostly grays, blacks, dark browns and whites would be nearly invisibile to predators as it crawled or laid on this type of surface. In a discussion with Dr. Bernard Bechtel years ago, he told me that many years ago he had heard rumors of a black corn in southwest Florida and tried in vain to obtain a sample. Finally able to do so only after several years of trying. So much have their numbers increased that today many collectors would consider it unusual to not find a good percentage of the Anerythristics during a typical night of 'collecting'.

As mentioned above, this cultvar of the corn snake is a study of shades of black, gray, and white, in varying degrees and intensities. It is also not at all unusual to have maturing specimens develop shades of brown in the blotches. In the greater majority of the examples of the 'A' Anerythristic corn snake, yellow will be strongly visible along the sides of the head and neck region when they reach about 20 inches in length. Some examples may have the yellow extending down the sides a good way towards the posterior of the animal as well. But there do exist 'A' Anerythristics that completely lack the yellow coloration. These are typically very starkly black and light gray colored, and are quite the eye catchers. Intensely contrasted in some individuals. Of the varieties of 'A' Anerythristic corns found, the ones completely lacking the yellow appear to be the most difficult to come across. To further complicate the locating the 'no yellow' form, the yellow is not apparent in the babies at all, so you have virtually no guidelines to help you select the very few that might turn out this way.

Recently I have been having second thoughts about the way we classify the gene we are calling 'A' Anerythrism. For years we were describing this animal is one in which the red and orange coloration had been removed from a typical normally colored corn snake. But is that really accurate? It seems unlikely to me that underneath those colors, BLACK would be lurking underneath the pigment so the removel of the reds and oranges would leave it exposed. Doesn't it seem more likely that the reds and oranges are REPLACED by melanistic pigment? I believe that a normal corn that had the reds and oranges removed, with all other pigments remaining the same would be a very pale looking animal instead of a darker one as we see in Anerythrism. I'm not by any means suggesting a new name for this particular cultivar, but I'm inclined to think of it more as Hypermelanistic rather than Anerythristic, simply because it seems to be more a case of much more melanism in the pigment rather than a lacking of erythrism. IMHO, of course.

Click on the thumbnails below to expand the photo.

Copyright © 2001 by Rich Zuchowski/SerpenCo
A Word About Photos on my Website