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Micrurus multifasciatus JAN, 1858

IUCN Red List - Micrurus multifasciatus - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaElapidae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
SubspeciesMicrurus multifasciatus multifasciatus (JAN 1858)
Micrurus multifasciatus hertwigi (WERNER 1896) 
Common NamesE: Gargantilla, Many-banded Coral Snake
E: Panama gargantilla [multifasciatus]
E: Costa Rican gargantilla [hertwigi] 
SynonymMicrurus multifasciatus multifasciatus (JAN 1858)
Elaps multifasciatus JAN 1858: 521
Micrurus mipartitus multifasciatus — ROZE 1955: 467
Micrurus mipartitus multifasciatus — PETERS & OREJAS-MIRANDA 1970: 214
Micrurus multifasciatus multifasciatus — WELCH 1994: 87
Micrurus multifasciatus — JARAMILLO et al. 2010

Micrurus multifasciatus hertwigi (WERNER 1896)
Elaps hertwigi WERNER 1896: 354
Micrurus mipartitus hertwigi — ROZE 1967: 37
Micrurus mipartitus hertwigi — VILLA 1972
Micrurus mipartitus hertwigi — PETERS & OREJAS-MIRANDA 1970: 214
Micrurus multifasciatus hertwigi — WELCH 1994: 87 
DistributionNicaragua, N/E Costa Rica, N/C Panama (pacific lowlands), Colombia (incl. Valle del Cauca)

multifasciatus: C Panama; Type locality: unknown.

hertwigi: Atlantic slopes of Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama; Type locality: unknown (”Central America”)  
TypesHolotype: lost, originally in Milan Museum; destroyed and lost during World War II, probably a female from Central America.
Holotype: ZSM 2268/0 (formerly ZSBS) 22680, a female from Central America [hertwigi] 
DiagnosisDefinition: A coral snake with only red and black bands. It has a black snout and a large parietal red crossband. The black bands are larger than the red bands and the black nuchal band usually does not reach the tips of the parietals (Roze 1996: 199).

Description (multifasciatus): Males have 250 to 265 (257.7) and females have 280 to 311 (294.1) ventrals; subcaudals 29 to 33 (31.2) in males and 25 to 29 (26.9) in females. Examined: 16 males and 13 females.
The snout is black to the frontal and supraoculars, followed by a large red crossband that includes the parietals and seventh supralabial. The chin is reddish or whitish, usually with smokey-blackish spots. The black nuchal band usually does not reach the parietals and is 4 to 6 dorsals and 2 to 4 ventrals long. The red bands are 1 to 2 dorsals long on the middorsalline and 2 to 3 scales long ventrally, with or without small black spots. The red tail bands are longer than the black bands that follow them.
The males have 40 to 55 (48.6) and the females have 48 to 64 (56.3) black body bands. On the tail, the males have 3 to 5 and females have 2 to 4 black bands (Roze 1996: 200).

Description (hertwigi): Males have 235 to 244 (239.6) and females have 256 to 274 (265.8) ventrals; subcaudals 31 to 38 (33.9) in males and 24 to 29 (26.4) in females. Examined: 10 males and 27 females.
The black snout coloration barely reaches the anterior border of the frontal and supralabials, followed by a large red crossband that includes all of the parietals. Below, the head is usually whitish or reddish, immaculate or with a few dark spots. The black nuchal band usually does not reach the parietals and is 5 to 7 dorsals and 3 to 4 ventrals long. The black bands are 4 to 5 dorsals and 3 to 4 ventrals long. The red bands may sometimes be pale orange or white; they are 2 to 3 middorsals long and 3 to 4 ventrals long. The red bands are usually immaculate, but may have a few black spots or tips. On the tail, the red bands are longer or shorter than the black bands.
The males have 40 to 59 (50.2) and the females have 45 to 73 (57.3) black body bands. On the tail, the males have 3 to 5 and females have 2 to 4 black bands (Roze 1996: 200). 
CommentSynonymy: partly after PETERS & OREJAS-MIRANDA 1970. Some authors regard M. mipartitus and M. multifasciatus as the same species (e.g. SAVAGE 2002: 713 and WALLACH et al. 2014: 450). See also entry for multifasciatus.

EtymologyLatin from multi meaning many and fascia meaning a band; multifasciatus is the one covered with many bands.
M. m. hertwigi was named after Wilhelm A. O. Hertwig, a notable German biologist at the Munich Museum at the turn of the century. 
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  • Fuentes, Rogemif; Aschcroft, Jesse; Erick Barría, Helio Quintero-Arrieta, Alexis Baules, Abel Batista, Eduardo Zambrano, Marcos Ponce 2023. Herpetological diversity in forests of Portobelo National Park, Colón Biological Corridor, Panama Reptiles & Amphibians 30 (1): e18434 - get paper here
  • Hilje B, Chaves G, Klank J, Timmerman F, Feltham J, Gillingwater S, Piraino T, Rojas E 2020. Amphibians and Reptiles of the Tirimbina Biological Reserve: a baseline for conservation, research and environmental education in a lowland tropical wet forest in Costa Rica. Check List 16(6): 1633-1655 - get paper here
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  • Villa,J. 1972. Un coral (Micrurus) blanco y negro de Costa Rica. Brenesia 1: 10-13.
  • Werner, F. 1896. Beiträge zur Kenntniss der Reptilien und Batrachier von Centralamerika und Chile, sowie einiger seltenerer Schlangenarten. Verhandlungen der Kaiserlich— Königlichen Zoologisch-Botanischen Gesellschaft in Wien, 46: 344—365 - get paper here
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