image catesbyrs vol251
Image number: RS.18797
Credit: ©The Royal Society

Ribbon snake

Date

1731

Creator

Mark Catesby (1683-1749, British), Naturalist

Object type

Library reference

18894

Material

Technique

Subject

Content object

nature
   > animal
      > snake

Description

Zoological study of a ribbon snake, Thamnophis saurita, referred to here as Anguis gracilis maculatus, shown alongside Passiflora suberosa and Caesalpinia bahamensis plant specimens. The ribbon snake is native to Eastern North America.

Inscribed below: 'Pseudo &c Flos. Passionis &c Anguis &c'

Written in the associated description: 'This is a slender Snake, usually about the Size of the Figure, the Upper Part of it was Brown, spotted with Black, the Belly White, on the Ridge of the Back extends a List of White, the whole Length of it.'

Plate 51 from volume II of Mark Catesby’s The natural history of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands (London, 1731).

Mark Catesby (1683-1749), British naturalist was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1733. Travelling under the auspices of the Royal Society, Catesby recorded the earliest western scientific descriptions of the flora and fauna of the ‘New World’. He was the first naturalist to use folio-sized colour plates in a natural history book, and etched the copper plates himself before hand-colouring each individual print with watercolours.

Associated place

<The World>
   > North America
      > United States
<The World>
   > North America
      > Bahamas