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Micrurus mertensi SCHMIDT, 1936

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Higher TaxaElapidae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Mertens' Coral Snake, Peruvian desert coral snake 
SynonymMicrurus mertensi SCHMIDT 1936
Micrurus mertensi — PARKER 1938: 446
Micrurus mertensi — WELCH 1994: 87
Micrurus mertensi — WALLACH et al. 2014: 449 
DistributionSW Ecuador, NW Peru

Type locality: Pacasmayo, Peru.  
TypesHolotype: SMF 20714 (formerly 9420b) 
DiagnosisDefinition: A single-bandedblack-red-white (yellow) coral snake with a black cap and without supraanal tubercles in males. The black snout may or may not be separated from the black nuchal band and the red dorsals have regular black tips (Roze 1996: 195).

Description: Males have 206 to 219 (212.4) and females have 223 to 235 (228.9) ventrals; subcaudals 45 to 51 (48.6) in males and 31 to 37 (33.9) in females; 1+1or1+2 temporals. Examined: 12 males and 13 females, including the holotype. The black cap covers all of the parietals and is or is not in contact with the black nuchal band. The chin is white but the mental and the first 4 or 5 infralabials are partially or completely black. Irregular black spots or borders are present on some other shields. The nuchal black band starts 1 dorsal behind the tips öf the parietals and is 5 to 7 dorsals and 4 to 6 ventrals long. The remainder of the black bands are 3 to 4 scales longer than the black bands, with conspicuous black tips on all dorsals. Ventrally, the red scales can have some irregular black spots. The first white or yellow band is 1.5 to 2 dorsals long; the rest are 1 dorsal and ventrallong and are immaculate. The black tall bands are 2 or more times longer than the white bands. The males have 22 to 28 (25.1) and the females have 26 to 31 (28.7) black body bands. On the tail the males have 7 to 9 (7.8) and females have 5 to 6 (5.6) black bands (Roze 1996: 195). 
EtymologyNamed after Robert Mertens (1894-1975), Russian-born herpetologist who worked most of his life at the Senckenberg Museum in Frankfurt, Germany. See also Haacke 1975. 
  • Beolens, Bo; Michael Watkins, and Michael Grayson 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA - get paper here
  • Campbell, J.A. & Lamar, W.W. 1989. The Venomous Reptiles of Latin America. Comstock Publishing/Cornell University Press, Ithaca
  • FEITOSA, DARLAN TAVARES; NELSON JORGE DA SILVA JR., MATHEUS GODOY PIRES, HUSSAM ZAHER & ANA LÚCIA DA COSTA PRUDENTE 2015. A new species of monadal coral snake of the genus Micrurus (Serpentes, Elapidae) from western Amazon. Zootaxa 3974 (4): 538–554
  • Gemel, R.; G. Gassner & S. Schweiger 2019. Katalog der Typen der Herpetologischen Sammlung des Naturhistorischen Museums Wien – 2018. Ann. Naturhist. Mus. Wien, B 121: 33–248
  • Haacke, W.D. 1975. Obituaries on African Herpetologists- Mertens, R. 1894 - 1975. J. Herp. Assoc. Africa (14): 35-36 - get paper here
  • Parker,H.W. 1938. The vertical distribution of some reptiles and amphibians in southern Ecuador. Ann. Mag. nat. Hist. (11) 2: 438-450 - 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
  • Torres-Carvajal O, Pazmiño-Otamendi G, Salazar-Valenzuela D. 2019. Reptiles of Ecuador: a resource-rich portal, with a dynamic checklist and photographic guides. Amphibian & Reptile Conservation 13 (1): [General Section]: 209–229 (e178) - get paper here
  • Valencia, J. H., K. Garzón-Tello & M. E. Barragán-Paladines 2016. Serpientes venenosas del Ecuador: sistemática, taxonomía, historia natural, conservación, envenenamiento y aspectos antropológicos. Quito, Ecuador, Fundación Herpetológica Gustavo Orcés, Universidad de Texas, Fondo Ambiental Nacional, 652 pp. [review in HR 49 (1): 152, 2018]
  • 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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