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Micrurus ephippifer (COPE, 1886)

IUCN Red List - Micrurus ephippifer - Vulnerable, VU

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Higher TaxaElapidae, Colubroidea, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes) 
SubspeciesMicrurus ephippifer zapotecus ROZE 1989
Micrurus ephippifer ephippifer (COPE 1886) 
Common NamesOaxacan Coral Snake 
SynonymElaps 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
Micrurus ephippifer zapotecus — LINER 2007 
DistributionMexico (Oaxaca)

ephippifer: Mexico (Pacific drainage of Oaxaca); Type locality: Pacific side of Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Mexico.

zapotecus: Mexico (Oaxaca, Sierra de Juarez) Map legend:
TDWG region - Region according to the TDWG standard, not a precise distribution map.

NOTE: TDWG regions are generated automatically from the text in the distribution field and not in every cases it works well. We are working on it.
TypesHolotype: USNM 30085 (F. Sumichrast). 

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]. 
  • Camarillo,R.J.L. 1995. Distribution records for some amphibians and reptiles from Mexico. Bull. Maryland Herp. Soc. 31 (4): 195-197
  • Campbell, J.A. & Lamar, W.W. 1989. The Venomous Reptiles of Latin America. Comstock Publishing/Cornell University Press, Ithaca
  • Campbell,J.A. 2000. A new species of venomous coral snake (Serpentes: Elapidae) from high desert in Puebla, Mexico. Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington 113 (1): 291-297 - get paper here
  • Casas-Andreu, G., F.R. Méndez-De la Cruz and X. Aguilar-Miguel. 2004. Anfibios y Reptiles; pp. 375–390, in A.J.M. García-Mendoza, J. Ordoñez and M. Briones-Salas (ed.). Biodiversidad de Oaxaca. Instituto de Biología, UNAM-Fondo Oaxaqueño para la Conservación de la Naturaleza-World Wildlife Fund, México, D. F.
  • Cope, E.D. 1886. Thirteenth contribution to the herpetology of tropical America. Proc. Amer. Philos. Soc. 23: 271-287 [1885] - get paper here
  • García-Padilla, Elí, Emiliano Méndez-Salinas, Elfilia García-Sandoval, Vicente Mata-Silva, Dominic L. DeSantis, and Larry David Wilson. 2016. Micrurus ephippifer (Cope, 1886). Mexico, Oaxaca. Mesoamerican Herpetology 3(4): 1063–1064 - get paper here
  • Heimes, P. 2016. Snakes of Mexico. Chimaira, Frankfurt, 572 pp
  • Liner, Ernest A. 2007. A CHECKLIST OF THE AMPHIBIANS AND REPTILES OF MEXICO. Louisiana State University Occasional Papers of the Museum of Natural Science 80: 1-60 - get paper here
  • Mata-Silva, Vicente, Jerry D. Johnson, Larry David Wilson and Elí García-Padilla. 2015. The herpetofauna of Oaxaca, Mexico: composition, physiographic distribution, and conservation status. Mesoamerican Herpetology 2 (1): 6–62 - get paper here
  • Peterson, A.T. et al. 2004. A preliminary biological survey of Cerro Piedra Larga, Oaxaca, Mexico: Birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and plants. Anales del Instituto de Biología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Serie Zoología 75(2): 439-466
  • Roze J A 1989. New species and subspecies of coral snakes, genus Micrurus (Elapidae), with notes on type specimens of several species. American Museum Novitates (2932) : 1-15 - get paper here
  • Schmidt, K. P. 1933. Preliminary account of the coral snakes of Central America and Mexico. Field Mus. Nat. Hist. Zool. Ser. 20: 29-40. - get paper here
  • Schmidt, Karl P. 1958. Some rare or little-known Mexican coral snakes. Fieldiana: Zoology 39 (19): 201-212 - get paper here
  • Simón-Salvador, Pablo R., Elí García-Padilla and Vicente Mata-Silva. 2016. Distribution Notes. Micrurus ephippifer (Cope, 1886). Mesoamerican Herpetology 3 (1): 202 - get paper here
  • Wallach, Van; Kenneth L. Williams , Jeff Boundy 2014. Snakes of the World: A Catalogue of Living and Extinct Species. Taylor and Francis, CRC Press, 1237 pp.
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