I found this little female Copperhead while cruising roads last Saturday. it has almost a full stripe! It could be genetic. Anyway, I just thought it was cool. who else has pictures of copperhead morphs?
1.0 pastels 0.1 Mojaves 1.2 het pied 1.0 pied 1.0 lemonblast 0.1 albino 0.1 normals 1.1 dapple daschunds (king and queen of our house) www.tomahawkreptiles.com
When you look at it, how large could the range of a copperhead be? If it is heritable, than it makes sense that there may be other snakes that carry the trait in close proximity.
When I was a kid I lived in a rural part of Michigan. There was one pond that had blue colored Green frogs. Not all of them were blue, but I found a quite few there. It was a condition where the frogs lacked the yellow pigmentation as part of their makeup. Thus, they were blue. But I only found them around that particular pond.
If you are experienced or feel comfortable enough with a venomous snake, it may be worth dinkering with.
I would look for more, for sure, however I would limit how many I collected to just a couple or a few. I would also release them back into the wild after I had some progeny to work with or after a couple of years (the time it should take to breed a male back to momma to see if you get a 50-50 ratio of normals to stripes. This is because to me it is a question of bio-ethics. By collecting the snakes you are taking a certain amount of a unique gene out of the population. If there are few enough snakes with the gene, you may take out enough to push the population across the threshold of where the normal genotype becomes fixed and the striped genotype is lost. However, it may not simply be recessive and there may be a spetrum across which you have everything from fully striped to completely normal snakes.
I agree with gsarchie about how many you collect. It would be a shame to lose the trait from the wild.
I would also suggest that any females you collect be immature and grow them up to breeding size. I met a guy here in Georgia who had a WC Copperhead that he used for exhibits and eductaion. He said that it had not been with another snake for 5 years and yet it gave birth to a single offspring. So, sperm retention is obviously an issue if you were to use a sexually mature animal. You couldn't really be certain the offspring were a direct decendant of the pairing, other then the maternal aspect of course.
...or automictic parthenogenesis. Posted this somewhere else to, in the spider debate thread I believe. Since all members of Agkistrodon are ovoviviparour this could well have been what happened with the one in GA, but only if the offspring was a male.