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Micrurus decoratus (JAN, 1858)

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Higher TaxaElapidae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Decorated coral snake, Brazilian Coral Snake
S: Cobra Coral Decorada
Portuguese: Cobra-Corá, Cobra-Coral-do-Centro-Leste, Cobra-Coral, Cobra-Coral-de-Cabeça-Vermelha, Cobra-Coral-de-Cintas-Brancas, Coral-Verdadeira, Ibiboboca, Ibiboca 
SynonymElaps decoratus JAN 1858: 525
Elaps decoratus — GARMAN 1884: 108
Elaps fischeri AMARAL 1921: 39
Elaps ezequieli LUTZ & MELLO 1922
Micrurus decoratus — SCHMIDT 1936
Micrurus decoratus — WELCH 1994: 79
Micrurus decoratus — CASTELLARI-GONZALEZ et al. 2014
Micrurus decoratus — WALLACH et al. 2014: 444
Micrurus decoratus — NOGUEIRA et al. 2019 
DistributionE Brazil (S Espírito Santo, Sao Paulo, S Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro, N Santa Catarina, Paraná)

Type locality: see comment  
TypesHolotype: lost in Museum of Milano; type locality "Mexico" is an error. 
DiagnosisDefinition: A triad-type coral snake with the first triad consisting of only 2 black bands. The head is black with a yellow prefrontal band and a red parietal band. Usually, there are 0+1 temporals; the anterior temporal is fused with the sixth supralabial, which is in contact with the parietal and both postoculars (Roze 1996: 150).

Description: Males have 195 to 208 (202.3) and females have 209 to 218 (214.0) ventrals; subcaudals 19 to 22 (21.5) in males and 16 to 19 (17.4) in females; almost always 0+1 temporals, at least on one side. Examined: 20 males and 9 females. The black snout coloration is followed by a yellow postfrontal band that varies in length; it is followed by a black frontal-parietal band that covers the anterior part of the parietals. The red parietal band extends beyond the tips of the parietals onto the first several dorsals, where the scales have occasional black tips. The red band is followed by a black band that represents the first black band of the incomplete first triad. Below, the mental and the first 3 to 4 infralabials are partially or completely black. The other chin scales are red, followed by the yellow band. The first triad consists of 2 distinct black bands, with the usual first black band absent or reduced to a few black tips on the red scales, rarely suggesting a very irregular first black band. The central black band of the triad is 3 to 5 dorsals long and up to 3 times as long as the outer bands, giving an impression of an accessory triad-type coloration. Ventrally, the outer black bands are reduced and irregular, 1 or less than 1 ventral long. The red bands are longer than the central black band and slightly shorter than the length of an entire triad. The red scales have conspicuous black tips, but in males they are smaller and less pronounced than in the females. The scales in the yellow bands are without black tips, and except for the first band that is somewhat longer, the bands are 1 to 2 dorsals long. Distinct triads I are also found on the tail.
Including the first incomplete triad, the males have 15 to 19 (16.7) and the females have 15 to 19 (17.1) triads on the body. A more preeise way of rendering the number of black triads is 2/3 14 to 2/3 19 in males and females. The males have 1 to 1 2/3 and the females have one to 1 1/3 triads on the tail (Roze 1996: 150). 

Synonymy after ROZE 1996 and AMARAL 1926.

Distribution: The type locality was given erroneously as “Mexico” (fide SCHMIDT 1936). Reports from Rio Grande do Sul have not been confirmed and appear to be erroneous. See map in Nogueira et al. 2019. 
EtymologyLatin from decorus meaning adorned and beautiful, alluding to the very beautiful color pattern of this species; fischeri, dedicated to C. M. Fischer, employee of the Instituto Butantan who collected the holotype; and ezequieli, named after Ezequiel Dias who organized medical defense against venomous snakes and scorpions in Minas Gerais, Brazil. 
  • Amaral,A. do 1926. Notas de ophiologia. I. Sobre a invalidez de um genero e algumas especies de ophidios Sul-Americanos. Rev. Mus. Paulista 14: 17-33
  • Campbell, J.A. & Lamar, W.W. 1989. The Venomous Reptiles of Latin America. Comstock Publishing/Cornell University Press, Ithaca
  • Castellari Gonzalez, Rodrigo, Thiago Silva-Soares, Thiago Marcial de Castro and Renato Silveira Bernils. 2014. Review of the geographic distribution of Micrurus decoratus (Jan, 1858) (Serpentes: Elapidae). Phyllomedusa 13 (1): 29-39 - get paper here
  • CONDEZ, T. H; SAWAYA, R. J. & DIXO, M. 2009. Herpetofauna dos remanescentes de Mata Atlântica da região de Tapiraí e Piedade, SP, sudeste do Brasil. Biota Neotropica 9: 1-29
  • 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
  • Jan, G. 1858. Plan d'une iconographie descriptive des ophidiens et description sommaire de nouvelles espèces des serpents. Rev. Mag. Zool. Paris (2) 10: 438-449, 514-527 - get paper here
  • Lillywhite, H.B. 2022. Discovering snakes in wild places. ECO Publishing, Rodeo, NM, 164 pp. - get paper here
  • Lillywhite, Harvey B. 2014. How Snakes Work: Structure, Function and Behavior of the World's Snakes. Oxford University Press, New York, 256 pp
  • Lutz, Adolpho; de Mello, Oswaldo 1922. Elaps ezequieli e Rhinostoma bimaculatum, cobras novas do Estado de Minas Geraes. Mem. Inst. Oswaldo Cruz 15: 138-142 (English), pp. 235-239 (Portuguese), pl. 31. - get paper here
  • Marques, O.A.V. 2002. Natural history of the coral snake Micrurus decoratus (Elapidae) from the Atlantic Forest in southeast Brazil, with comments on possible mimicry. Amphibia-Reptilia 23 (2): 228-232 - get paper here
  • Marques, Otavio A. V.; Lígia Pizzatto, and Selma M. Almeida Santos 2013. Reproductive Strategies of New World Coral Snakes, Genus Micrurus. Herpetologica 69 (1): 58-66. - get paper here
  • 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
  • Oliveira, Jane C.F.; Rodrigo Castellari Gonzalez; Paulo Passos; Davor Vrcibradic & Carlos Frederico Duarte Rocha 2020. Non-Avian Reptiles of the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: status of knowledge and commented list. Pap. Avulsos Zool. 60: e20206024 - get paper here
  • Resende, Flávia Cappuccio de (coord.) 2023. O fantástico mundo dos animais peçonhentos: serpentes; características, história natural e reconhecimento das espécies peçonhentas de Minas Gerais. Belo Horizonte – Fundação Ezequiel Dias - get paper here
  • Roze, J. A. 1996. Coral Snakes of the Americas. Krieger, Malabar, Florida
  • Roze, Jánis A 1967. A checklist of the New World venomous Coral Snakes (Elapidae), with descriptions of new forms. American Museum Novitates (2287): 1-60 - get paper here
  • Schmidt, Karl P. 1936. Preliminary account of coral snakes of South America. Zoological Series of Field Museum of Natural History 20 (19): 189-203 - get paper here
  • Vrcibradic, D., de costa Siqueira, C., Silveira, A. L., Almeida-Santos, M. & Rocha, C. F. 2012. Micrurus decoratus (decorated coralsnake) diet. Herpetological Review 43: 495 - 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.
  • Zaher, Hussam; Fausto Erritto BarboI; Paola Sanchez Martínez; Cristiano Nogueira; Miguel Trefaut Rodrigues; Ricardo Jannini Sawaya 2011. Répteis do Estado de São Paulo: conhecimento atual e perspectivas. Biota Neotropica, 11 (1): 1–15. - get paper here
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