Corn Snake

Taxonomic Classification:

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Reptilia

Order: Squamata

Family: Colubridae

Genus:  Pantherophis

Species: Pantherophis guttatus [90]  

Figure 49: Corn Snake; close up

Figure 50: Corn Snake Body

Why does the organism belong to this kingdom?

            The corn snake is multicellular eukaryote. One reason that justifies is this, is the organism’s complexity. Some characteristics that prove the complexity is that the organism reproduces sexually which only eukaryotic multicellular organisms  do. Another reason is that the organism consist of a nervous system that has a brain. [91] The only domain that consist of organisms that are multicellular eukaryotes is the Domain Eukarya. The other two domains do not have these characteristics. The corn snakes reproduce sexually. At the age of 16 to 18 months the snake reaches sexual maturity. During mating season, which is usually March to May but depends on the climate, snakes locate each other using pheromones. In the south, reproduction happens all year round. Reproduction occurs the best in hot and humid temperatures. The process of the female laying down eggs takes about one to two months with laying down 10 to 15 eggs. The eggs are put on stumps, logs, or burrows. The nests of the female organism are hard to find because they are hidden very well. The eggs hatch during the late summer. Not all the eggs live through the process of hatching. Most females only lay one cluster of eggs during a year. The organisms do not need their parent to survive. The male corn snake leaves the female after mating, and the mother leaves the eggs after laying the egg nest down. [91] The organisms that belong to the kingdom Animalia can either be sexual or asexual. Sexually is done through meiosis which includes fermentation, and the eggs develop into an individual. Asexual reproduction occurs via budding or fragmentation. [11] The corn snake is a carnivore. They also do not eat very often, only eating every few days. This organism eats anything smaller than itself, even if it is another corn snake. They will eat different kinds of rodents too. Different locations could mean the corn snakes diet plan can change slightly. Another thing the corn snake will do to get food is, climb trees to go to bird nests to eat the eggs. All the organisms the corn snake eats is made of organic matter, making the corn snake a heterotroph. [91] The only mode of nutrition is for the organism be a heterotroph. The food is injected and then digested, to be used in the process called cell respiration. The only kingdom that does not include heterotrophs is the kingdom Fungi. [10] In addition, the corn snake is motile. It is able to climb tree and bushes all for the search of food. But when they are not hunting they are resting on the rocks. To move around on the surface from one place to another the snake slithers. The muscles help the body move. The motion is a back and forth and it looks wavy. [91] Motility is present in the kingdom Animalia but it is also present in the kingdom Protista. The other two kingdoms do not have motility. The kingdom Animalia is the only kingdom where there is a nervous system present, every other kingdom has a nervous system absent. So too, the corn snake has a nervous system. The brain is where the nervous system is controlled that consist of forebrain and a brain stem. The spinal cord extends through the vertebrae to the tip if the tail. The nervous system helps give motion to the dorsal and ventral roots in the each vertebral segment. The primary function of the spinal cord is to help with the locomotors. [92] Since the corn snake has these characteristics it is classified in the kingdom Animalia.

Why does the organism belong in this Phylum?

            The corn snake belongs to the phylum Chordata. This is because of certain characteristics the corn snake has that can only be found in animals in this phylum. The corn snake has the notochord. It is between the digestive tube and nerve cord. It is like a back bone. However, when the organism matured it was replaced with a spine, which also contains the spinal cord, one of the important parts of the nervous system. Furthermore, the organism had a dorsal nerve cord. It is found on the top of the organism. [92] The snake consists of a post-anal tail. The snake starts with the head and down the body is straight until the back is reached where the anus and the tail is. It also is very helpful in movement. [91] The phylum Chordata contains all these different characteristics and together makes up the phylum Chordata. The other phyla do not contain all these different characteristics the Chordata have, but all the Chordata organisms have these characteristics. [86]

The Corn Snake belongs to the phylum Chordata. Phylum Chordata is the phylum that is circled. This phylum evolved the most. It is the complex and evolved from all the other phyla. It is closely related to the Echinodermata. Even though it  Evoloved the most from this phylum and it shares many characteristics. No other phylum has evolved from this one, in the present time. It is most distantly related to the phylum Porifer. Even though they are not closely related, they come from the same ancestor, of a single cell organism. Together the Echinoderms and the Chordates have a different characteristics from the other phyla that make them separated from others. They have developed characteristics that evolved from characteristics from other phyla which will make the other phyla separated.    

General Description:

            The Pantherophis guttatus is known as the corn snake. This snake is non-venomous and not harmful. On the body of the organism there are spots with a brown and red-orange body. The corn snake is usually confused with the copperhead snake because of their common physical features. The males are found to be larger than the females. Together their average  size is 70 to 120 cm long. The organism will be shorter if it is in hotter temperatures. The eye sight of the corn snake is not very good. Their mouth helps in what they lack in their eyesight. Also they feel the vibrations on the ground for direction. The Pantherophis guttatus is a North American organism range from the south of New Jersey to Florida, and extends west of that. The organism is found in forests and rocky regions where logs are and other things to provide nests. All areas that are grassy, such as fields the organism could be found. The organism lives up to a maximum of 23 years. The life span is usually shorter when the animal has been living in the wild. When an immature corn snake grows it sheds their skin. The process of the shedding happens until they reach full growth in adulthood. After they shed their skin, the color of their scales are brighter and clearer. How long they grow all will depend on how much food has been obtained. When the animal is shedding, the behavior changes it becomes more aggressive. They loosen the skin that the organism wants to shed by rubbing their nose on rock. The corn snakes continues to slither, removing the skin when it does. The shed skin will all come off in one piece. When the snake is in this process of shedding it loses its appetite and eats less often than usual. Males show dominance when they encounter each other, especially during mating season. Communication is usually only done during mating season.  The corn snakes are more active the more south they are. In the winter the corn snake goes into hibernation. The hibernation starts in October, staying in logs or caves, leaving hibernation in the April. Snakes are predators but they also have theirs. Their predators include birds and larger snakes. The corn snake flees from a situation like this or blends to nature.  The corn snakes are positive for humans. They can help prevent the spread of diseases. Also good pet for classrooms or homes. This is because they are easy to care for and are safe. The corn snakes however can still be bad for  humans. For instance, they could bite the human and cause injuries. Corn snakes also have an impact on the ecosystem. One reason is because they are able to control population of certain animals, especially  small mammals. Also there is a parasite that will infect corn snakes and cause damage in the blood cells, liver and lung tissue of this organism. [91]

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