Micrurus ephippifer (COPE, 1886)
Can you confirm these amateur observations of Micrurus ephippifer?
|Higher Taxa||Elapidae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)|
|Subspecies||Micrurus ephippifer ephippifer (COPE 1886)|
Micrurus ephippifer zapotecus ROZE 1989
|Common Names||E: Double black coral snake, Oaxacan Coral Snake|
E: Tehuantepec coral snake [ephippifer]
E: Zapotec coral snake [zapotecus]
S: Coralillo Doble Negro
|Synonym||Elaps ephippifer COPE 1886: 281|
Micrurus ephippifer — SCHMIDT 1933: 38
Micrurus ephippifer — LINER 1994
Micrurus ephippifer ephippifer — LINER 2007
Micrurus ephippifer — WALLACH et al. 2014: 446
Micrurus ephippifer zapotecus ROZE 1989: 11
Micrurus ephippifer zapotecus — LINER 2007
ephippifer: Mexico (Pacific drainage of Oaxaca); Type locality: Pacific side of Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Mexico.
zapotecus: Mexico (Oaxaca, Sierra de Juarez)
|Types||Holotype: USNM 30085 (F. Sumichrast).|
Holotype: AMNH 103119 [zapotecus]
|Diagnosis||Diagnosis: A coral snake with alternate red, yellow, and black rings, in which the red rings are so heavily invaded by black pigment dorsally that the dorsal view may give the impression of alternately narrow and wide black rings, separated by narrow yellow ones. No supra-anal keels in males. Ventrals in males about 218, caudals about 50; in females 230 and 40. The black saddles in the red zones give the species its name [from SCHMIDT 1958].|
Original description.—A species of this genus has been obtained by Francis Sumichrast, on the Pacific side of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, which I believe to be undescribed. It is referred to in the Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, 1869, p. 162, as Elaps aglaeope; but it is distinct from this species. I propose that it be called Elaps ephippifer. It has the seven superior labials and fifteen rows of scales of the most of the American Elaps, and the labials are separated from parietals by one row of temporals. The rostral plate is transverse and not particularly prominent, and its posterior border is very openly angulate. The frontal plate has long parallel lateral borders, and much shorter posterior ones. Gastrosteges, 218; anal divided; urosteges, 43. There are seventeen black rings on the body, which encircle the abdomen, covering a length of four and a half scales and five or six gastrosteges. They are separated by nine or ten scales, and have a wide yellow border of one and a half or two scales in width. The entire space between these yellow borders is occupied by a large black spot, which descends on each side to the second row of scales. The remaining space between the yellow borders is red. There is a wide black entire collar, which cuts off the apex of the parietal shields. The muzzle and front are black as far as the anterior part of the parietals [from COPE 1886, quoted in SCHMIDT 1958].
DIAGNOSIS (zapotecus): “A single-banded coral snake without supraanal tubercles, related to M. ephippifer from which it differs in having more black body bands: 22-26 in two males and 27-29 in two females, as compared to 15-21 and 17-23, in 15 males and 14 females, respectively, of M. ephippifer ephippifer. Moreover, it has irregular black tips and spots on red scales that occasionally may fuse to form a larger black spot or pseudoband on the dorsal part of the red bands. In the nominotypical subspecies the red bands are completely obliterated dorsally by a black saddle-shaped spot (fig. 7), so that in many cases the red band cannot be seen dorsally.” (Roze 1989)
|Etymology||Greek from ephippi meaning saddle, alluding to the saddlelike black dorsal spots, or ephippifer meaning bearer of saddle.|
The name zapotecus indicates this cora snake dweIls in the area where the Zapotec culture flourished several hundred years ago.
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