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Micrurus collaris (SCHLEGEL, 1837)

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Higher TaxaElapidae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
SubspeciesMicrurus collaris collaris (SCHLEGEL 1837)
Micrurus collaris breviventris (ROZE & BERNAL-CARLO 1988) 
Common NamesE: Guyana Blackback Coral Snake
E: Short black-backed coral snake [breviventris]
Portuguese: Cobra-Coral, Cobra-Coral-de-Colar, Cobra-Coral-de-Costas-Pretas, Coral-Verdadeira 
SynonymElaps collaris SCHLEGEL 1837
Elaps gastrodelus DUMÉRIL, BIBRON & DUMÉRIL 1854: 1212
Hemibungarus collaris — BOULENGER 1896
Leptomicrurus collaris — SCHMIDT 1937
Micrurus collaris — ROMANO 1971
Leptomicrurus collaris collaris — ROZE & BERNAL-CARLO 1988: 586
Micrurus collaris — LANCINI & KORNACKER 1989
Leptomicrurus collaris — WELCH 1994: 73
Leptomicrurus collaris — KORNACKER 1999
Micrurus collaris — SLOWINSKI 1995
Micrurus collaris — SLOWINSKI et al. 2001
Leptomicrurus collaris — KOK et al. 2003
Leptomicrurus collaris — CAMPBELL & LAMAR 2004: 129
Micrurus collaris — WALLACH et al. 2014: 444

Micrurus collaris breviventris (ROZE & BERNAL-CARLO 1988)
Leptomicrurus collaris breviventris ROZE & BERNAL-CARLO 1988: 587
Micrurus collaris breviventris ROZE 1996: 133 
DistributionSuriname, E Venezuela (Bolivar), Guyana, Brazil (Roraima, Amapa), French Guiana

Type locality: unknown (fide STARACE 1998).

breviventris: Guyana: Type locality: Oko Mountains, Essequibo, Guayana.  
TypesLectotype, RMNH 1444, a 404 mm male (S.J. Brugmans), designated by Brongersma, 1966: 250.
Holotype: FMNH 26658, paratype: MBUCV 8004 [breviventris] 
CommentNot listed by GASC & RODRIGUES 1980.


Type species: Elaps collaris SCHLEGEL 1837 is the type species of the genus Leptomicrurus SCHMIDT 1937, now a synonym of Micrurus.

The genus Leptomicrurus was erected by Schmidt (1937) to accomodate two species of exceptionally slender, short-tailed coralsnakes, L. collaris (Schlegel) and L. narduccii (Jan). These are distinguished from members of the genus Micrurus on the basis of having the mental scale in contact posteriorly with the anterior chinshields, and possessing a body pattern not including rings or bands. Leptomicrurus was interpreted variously with regard to L. collaris (Schmidt 1937, Brongersma 1966, 1967), and Schmidt’s genus was relegated to a junior synonym of Micrurus when specimens of Leptomicrurus with some complete rings and specimens of Micrurus with anterior chinshields in contact with the mental were discovered (Romano 1972). Leptomicrurus has been revalidated and its three species redefined (Roze and Bernal-Carlo 1988). We maintain the synonymy of Leptomicrurus as it nests within Micrurus (CASTOE et al. 2007). Castoe et al. did not synonymize it with Micrurus because “the larger plan was that eventually Micrurus would likely be split into multiple genera, ultimately rectifying Leptomicrurus”, which has not happened (T. Castoe, pers. comm. 7 Jan 2014).

See also Silva et al. 2016: 54 for some diagnostic features separating Micruroides, Leptomicrurus, and Micrurus. 
EtymologyNamed after Latin collaris, meaning iron collar or chain for the neck. The name alludes to its conspicuous light collar or nuchal band, the only complete band on the body.

M. c. breviventris is named after the Latin brevis for short and venter meaning belly, referring to the low number of ventrals, thus to the short body. 
  • Brongersma, L. D. 1966. Note on the Leptomicrurus collaris (Schlegel) (Reptilia, Serpentes). Zoologische Mededelingen 41 (17): 243-254 - get paper here
  • Campbell, J.A. & Lamar, W.W. 1989. The Venomous Reptiles of Latin America. Comstock Publishing/Cornell University Press, Ithaca
  • Campbell, Jonathan A. and William W. Lamar 2004. The Venomous Reptiles of the Western Hemisphere, 2 vols. Comstock (Cornell University Press), Ithaca, NY, 962 pp. [review in Science 305: 182]
  • CASTOE, Todd A.; ERIC N. SMITH, RAFE M. BROWN and CHRISTOPHER L. PARKINSON 2007. Higher-level phylogeny of Asian and American coralsnakes, their placement within the Elapidae (Squamata), and the systematic affinities of the enigmatic Asian coralsnake Hemibungarus calligaster (Wiegmann, 1834). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 151, 809–831 - get paper here
  • Claessen, H. 2005. De slangen van de Guyana’s, deel IX. Lacerta 63 (6): 228-241 - get paper here
  • Cole, Charles J.; Carol R. Townsend, Robert P. Reynolds, Ross D. MacCulloch, and Amy Lathrop 2013. Amphibians and reptiles of Guyana, South America: illustrated keys, annotated species accounts, and a biogeographic synopsis. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 125 (4): 317-578; plates: 580-620 - get paper here
  • Gasc & Rodrigues 1980. Liste preliminaire des Serpents de la Guyane francaise. Bull. Mus. Nat. Hist. Nat. Paris 2 (4): 559-598
  • Gonzalez R. C. et al. 2020. Lista dos Nomes Populares dos Répteis no Brasil – Primeira Versão. Herpetologia Brasileira 9 (2): 121 – 214 - get paper here
  • KOK, P. J. R., ROZE, J. A., LENGLET, G. L., SAMBHU, H. & ARJOON, D. 2003. Micrurus isozonus (Cope, 1860) (Serpentes, Elapidae): an addition to the herpetofauna of Guyana, with comments on other species of coral snakes from Guyana. Bulletin de l’Institut Royal des Sciences naturelles de Belgique, Biologie, 73 : 75-82 - get paper here
  • Kornacker,P.M. 1999. Checklist and key to the snakes of Venezuela. PaKo-Verlag, Rheinbach, Germany, 270 pp.
  • Lancini,A.R. & Kornacker,P.M. 1989. Die Schlangen von Venezuela. Armitano Editores C.A., Caracas, 1-381
  • Nogueira, Cristiano C.; Antonio J.S. Argôlo, Vanesa Arzamendia, Josué A. Azevedo, Fausto E. Barbo, Renato S. Bérnils, Bruna E. Bolochio, Marcio Borges-Martins, Marcela Brasil-Godinho, Henrique Braz, Marcus A. Buononato, Diego F. Cisneros-Heredia, 2019. Atlas of Brazilian snakes: verified point-locality maps to mitigate the Wallacean shortfall in a megadiverse snake fauna. South American J. Herp. 14 (Special Issue 1):1-274 - get paper here
  • Romano,S. 1972. Notes on Leptomicrurus SCHMIDT (Serpentes: Elapidae). Mem. Inst. Butantan 35 [1971]: 111-115 - get paper here
  • Roux-Estève, R. 1982. Les spécimens-types du genre Micrurus (Elapidae) conservés au Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle de Paris. Mém. Inst. Butantan, 46: 79-94. - get paper here
  • Roze, Janis A. & Bernal-Carlo, Amanda 1988. Las serpientes corales venenonas del género Leptomicrurus (Serpentes, Elapidae) de Suramérica con descripción de una nueva subespecie. Bollettino del Museo Regionale di Scienze Naturali, Torino 5 (2): 573-608 [1987]
  • Rufino,N. 1998. Micrurus collaris (Coral Snake). Brazil: Amapá. Herpetological Review 29 (3): 178 - get paper here
  • Schlegel, H. 1837. Essai sur la physionomie des serpens. Partie Descriptive. La Haye (J. Kips, J. HZ. et W. P. van Stockum), 606 S. + xvi - get paper here
  • Schmidt,K.P. 1937. The history of Elaps collaris SCHLEGEL 1837-1937. Field Mus. nat. Hist (ser. zool.) 20: 361-364 - get paper here
  • Slowinski, Joseph B.; Boundy, Jeff & Lawson,R. 2001. The phylogenetic relationships of Asian coral snakes (Elapidae: Calliophis and Maticora) based on morphological and molecular characters. Herpetologica 57 (2): 233-245 - get paper here
  • Starace, Fausto 1998. Guide des Serpents et Amphisbènes de Guyane. IBIS Rouge Editions, Guadeloupe, Guyane, 450 pp.
  • Starace, Fausto 2013. Guide des Serpents et Amphisbènes de Guyane. Ibis Rouge Editions, Matoury, Guyane, ISBN 978-2-84450-407-4 - get paper here
  • Wallach, Van; Kenneth L. Williams , Jeff Boundy 2014. Snakes of the World: A Catalogue of Living and Extinct Species. [type catalogue] Taylor and Francis, CRC Press, 1237 pp.
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