You are here » home advanced search Micrurus nigrocinctus

Micrurus nigrocinctus (GIRARD, 1854)

IUCN Red List - Micrurus nigrocinctus - Least Concern, LC

Can you confirm these amateur observations of Micrurus nigrocinctus?

Add your own observation of
Micrurus nigrocinctus »

Find more photos by Google images search: Google images

Higher TaxaElapidae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
SubspeciesMicrurus nigrocinctus babaspul ROZE 1967
Micrurus nigrocinctus coibensis SCHMIDT 1936
Micrurus nigrocinctus divaricatus (HALLOWELL 1855)
Micrurus nigrocinctus nigrocinctus (GIRARD 1854)
Micrurus nigrocinctus zunilensis SCHMIDT 1932 
Common NamesE: Central American Coralsnake, Central American Coral Snake
E: Common Central American coral snake [nigrocinctus]
E: Babaspul [babaspul]
E: Coiba coral snake [coibensis]
E: Honduras coral snake [divaricatus]
E: Mount Ovando coral snake [ovandoensis]
E: Zunil coral snake [zunilensis]
G: Schwarzgebänderte Korallenotter, Mittelamerikanische Korallenotter
S: Coralillo Centroamericano 
SynonymElaps nigrocinctus GIRARD 1854
Elaps fulvius var. nigrocinctus — GARMAN 1884: 106
Micrurus pachecoi — TAYLOR 1951
Micrurus nigrocinctus — LINER 1994
Micrurus nigrocinctus — SAVAGE 2002
Micrurus nigrocinctus — MATA-SILVA et al. 2015
Micrurus nigrocinctus — WALLACH et al. 2014: 450
Micrurus nigrocinctus — MARTÍNEZ-FONSECA et al. 2024

Micrurus nigrocinctus babaspul ROZE 1967
Micrurus nigrocinctus babaspul — WELCH 1994: 87
Micrurus nigrocinctus babaspul — ROZE 1996: 203

Micrurus nigrocinctus coibensis K.P.SCHMIDT 1936
Micrurus nigrocinctus coibensis K.P.SCHMIDT 1936
Micrurus nigrocinctus coibensis — WELCH 1994: 87
Micrurus nigrocinctus coibensis — ROZE 1996: 204

Micrurus nigrocinctus divaricatus (HALLOWELL 1855)
Elaps divaricatus HALLOWELL 1855: 36
Micrurus nigrocinctus divaricatus — SCHMIDT 1933
Micrurus nigrocinctus divaricatus — WELCH 1994: 87
Micrurus nigrocinctus divaricatus — ROZE 1996: 204
Micrurus nigrocinctus divaricatus — JOWERS et al. 2023

Micrurus nigrocinctus nigrocinctus (GIRARD 1854)
Elaps nigrocinctus GIRARD 1854 (1855: 226)
Elaps fulvius BOULENGER 1896
Micrurus nigrocinctus nigrocinctus — WELCH 1994: 87
Micrurus nigrocinctus nigrocinctus — ROZE 1996: 202

Micrurus nigrocinctus zunilensis K.P.SCHMIDT 1932
Micrurus nigrocinctus zunilensis K.P.SCHMIDT 1932
Micrurus nigrocinctus wagneri MERTENS 1941
Micrurus nigrocinctus zunilensis — SMITH 1942: 454
Micrurus nigrocinctus ovandoensis SCHMIDT & SMITH 1943
Micrurus nigrocinctus zunilensis — LIVEZEY & PECKHAM 1953
Micrurus nigrocinctus zunilensis — MERTENS 1956
Micrurus browni importunus ROZE 1967
Micrurus browni importunus — GOLAY et al. 1993: 159
Micrurus nigrocinctus zunilensis — WELCH 1994: 87
Micrurus browni importunus — ROZE 1996: 147
Micrurus nigrocinctus zunilensis — ROZE 1996: 205
Micrurus nigrocinctus zunilensis — REYES-VELASCO et al. 2020
Micrurus nigrocinctus zunilensis — JOWERS et al. 2023 
DistributionMexico (Oaxaca, Chiapas), Belize, Guatemala,
Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama,
Colombia, W Caribbean; elevation (Honduras): 0-1600 m

nigrocinctus: Pacific coasts of Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, N Colombia

babaspul: Nicaragua (Corn Islands)

coibensis: Panama (Coiba Island); Type locality: Coiba Island, Panama.

divaricatus: Belize, N/C Honduras; Type locality: Honduras;

importunus: Guatemala (Sacatepequez); Type locality: Dueñas, about 25 km west-southwest of Guatemala City in the Antigua Basin, Sacatepequez, Guatemala

ovandoensis: Mexico (Chiapas). Type locality: Salto de Agua, Mount Ovando, about fifteen miles northeast of Escuintla, Chiapas. Altitude 1,200 feet elevation.

zunilensis: Pacific coasts of Mexico (Chiapas), Guatemala, El Salvador, S Honduras; Type locality: Finca El Cipres, lower slopes of Volcan Zunil, Suchitepequez, Guatemala.

Type locality: "Taboga Island, Bay of Panama, Panama" (Girard, C. 1854)  
TypesSyntypes: USNM 7347 (2), 329492
Holotype: CAS 66001 [zunilensis]
Holotype: ANSP 6843 [divaricatus]
Holotype: AMNH 96996 [babaspul]
Holotype: BMNH 1926.1-20.76 [coibensis]
Holotype: BMNH [importunus]
Holotype: USNM 111331; Paratype: (n=1) USNM 111332, from the vicinity of La Esperanza, 400 feet, ten miles northeast of Escuintla, Chiapas, collected May 25, 1940, young female [ovandoensis]
Holotype: SMF 34190, a male [wagneri] 
CommentSubspecies: The validity of several subspecies is questionable (see VENCES et al. 1998 and Villa 1984). Micrurus nigrocinctus mosquitensis SCHMIDT 1933 has been elevated to full species status.

Synonymy: after Roze 1996 and others. REYES-VELASCO et al. 2020 synonymized Micrurus browni importunus with Micrurus nigrocinctus zunilensis. Various populations and subspecies of M. nigrocinctus are paraphyletic, e.g. with respect to M. mosquitensis, but Jowers et al. 2023 have not recommended any major taxonomic changes.

Mimicry: Micrurus nigrocinctus zunilensis is mimicked by Pliocercus elapoides (see figures in SMITH & CHISZAR 2001).


Distribution: not in Yucatan state (Mexico), fide Gonzalez-Sanchez et al. 2017. Records from Belize remain to be confirmed; this snake probably does not occur in Belize (Stafford 1999).

Abundance in Honduras: common

Similar species: M. dumerilii. 
EtymologyLatin from niger meaning black and cinctus meaning a girdle or band; thus black-banded coral snake, alluding to the black single bands.

The name pachecoi is dedicated to Marco Tulio Pacheco, a Costa Rican scientist.

The name babaspul is derived from its cornrnon name in Creole English spoken on the islands where the coral snake is found. The name, babaspul, refers to barber's pole, in allusion to its black, white, and red bands that are used to advertise barber shops throughout the Western world.

M. n. coibensis was named after the type locality, Coiba Island.

M. n. divaricatus from Latin divarica meaning to spread out, probably referring to the extended red bands on the body.

M. n. ovandoensis was named after the type localities [Mount Ovando, Chiapas, Mexico].

Zunilensis, Latin for inhabitant of Volcán Zunil; wagneri is dedicated to H. O. Wagner, collector of the holotype, and ovandoensis is Latin for dweller of Mt. Ovando. 
  • Barbour,T. & Loveridge,A. 1929. Amphibians and reptiles [of the Corn Islands, Nicaragua]. Bull. Mus. comp. Zool. Harvard 69: 138-146 - get paper here
  • Campbell, J.A. 1998. Amphibians and reptiles of northern Guatemala, the Yucatán, and Belize. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, xiii + 380 pp. - get paper here
  • Campbell, J.A. & Lamar, W.W. 1989. The Venomous Reptiles of Latin America. Comstock Publishing/Cornell University Press, Ithaca
  • 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.
  • Chacón, Danilo, Aarón Gómez and Greivin Corrales. 2016. Captive longevity for Micrurus nigrocinctus (Serpentes: Elapidae) at Insituto Clodomiro Picado, Costa Rica. Mesoamerican Herpetology 3(4): 1101–1104 - get paper here
  • Curlis JD, Fisher EC, Muhic WK, Moy J, Garro-Cruz M, Montero-Ramírez JJ 2020. A survey of the reptiles and amphibians at the University of Georgia Costa Rica field station in San Luis de Monteverde, Costa Rica. Check List 16(6): 1433-1456 - get paper here
  • Dunn, Emmett Reid 1942. New or Noteworthy Snakes from Panama. Notulae Naturae 108:1-8.
  • Girard, C. 1855. Abstract of a report to Lieut. James M. Gilliss, U.S.N., upon the reptiles collected during the U.S.N. Astronomical Expedition to Chili. Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia 7 [1854]: 226-227. - get paper here
  • Guerra Centeno, Dennis; Héctor Fuentes Rousselin & David Morán Villatoro 2012. Serpientes de Guatemala: Guía para didentificación de especies. Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala, 186 pp.
  • Hallowell, E. 1855. Contributions to South American Herpetology. Journal of the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadephia (2) 3: 33-36 - get paper here
  • Heimes, P. 2016. Snakes of Mexico. Chimaira, Frankfurt, 572 pp
  • Henderson, C.L. 2010. Mammals, Amphibians, and Reptiles of Costa Rica - A field guide. University of Texas Press, Austin, 198 pp.
  • Jansen, M. & G. Koehler 2002. Biogeographische Analyse der Herpetofauna von ausgewählten Hochlandgebieten Nicaraguas. Salamandra 38 (4): 269-286 - get paper here
  • Johnson, Jerry D.; Vicente Mata-Silva, Elí García Padilla, and Larry David Wilson 2015. The Herpetofauna of Chiapas, Mexico: composition, distribution, and conservation. Mesoamerican Herpetology 2 (3): 272–329. - get paper here
  • Jowers, M.J., Smart, U., Sánchez-Ramírez, S. et al. 2023. Unveiling underestimated species diversity within the Central American Coralsnake, a medically important complex of venomous taxa. Sci Rep 13, 11674 - get paper here
  • Köhler, G. 2008. Reptiles of Central America. 2nd Ed. Herpeton-Verlag, 400 pp.
  • Lee, J. C. 2000. A field guide to the amphibians and reptiles of the Maya world. Cornell University Press, Ithaca,
  • Lee, J.C. 1996. The amphibians and reptiles of the Yucatán Peninsula. Comstock, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, 500 pp.
  • 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
  • Livezey, R. L.;Peckham, R. S. 1953. Some snakes from San Marcos, Guatemala. Herpetologica 8: 175-177 - get paper here
  • Martínez-Fonseca JG, Holmes IA, Sunyer J, Westeen EP, Grundler MR, Cerda PA, Fernández-Mena MA, Loza-Molina JC, Monagan IV Jr., Nondorf D, Pandelis GG, Rabosky ARD 2023. A collection and analysis of amphibians and reptiles from Nicaragua with new country and departmental records. Check List 20(1): 58-125 - 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
  • McCranie J R 2011. The snakes of Honduras. SSAR, Salt Lake City, 725 pp.
  • McCranie, J. & Castañeda, F.E. 2005. The herpetofauna of Parque Nacional Pico Bonito, Honduras. Phyllomedusa 4 (1): 3-16 - get paper here
  • McCranie, James R. 2015. A checklist of the amphibians and reptiles of Honduras, with additions, comments on taxonomy, some recent taxonomic decisions, and areas of further studies needed. Zootaxa 3931 (3): 352–386 - get paper here
  • McCranie, James R., and Alexander Gutsche 2016. The herpetofauna of islands in the Golfo de Fonseca and adjacent waters, Honduras. Mesoamerican Herpetology 3 (4): 842–899 - get paper here
  • McNish, T. 2011. La fauna del archipiélago de San Andrés, Providencia y Santa Catalina, Colombia, Sudamérica. Colomba Andina de Impresos, ISBN 978-958-99518-1-1
  • Mertens, R. 1956. Das Problem der Mimikry bei Korallenschlangen. English Translation by Andrew Durso. SMITHSONIAN HERPETOLOGICAL INFORMATION SERVICE 160 (2023) - get paper here
  • Mertens, R. 1956. Das Problem der Mimikry bei Korallenschlangen. Zool. Jahrb., Abt Syst. Ökol. Geogr. Tiere 84: 541-576 + plates 6-14
  • Mertens, Robert. 1941. Eine neue Korallennatter aus Mexiko. Senckenbergiana 23 (4/6): 216-217
  • Muñoz, M; Sánchez, J E & Sandoval, L; 2019. Micrurus nigrocinctus (Central American Coralsnake) Predation. Herpetological Review 50 (1): 163-164 - get paper here
  • Nemuras, K. 1967. Notes on the Herpetology of Panama: Part 4. Bull. Maryland Herp. Soc. 3 (3): 63-71 - get paper here
  • O’Shea, M. 2018. The Book of Snakes. Ivy Press / Quarto Publishing, London, - get paper here
  • Pérez-Santos,C. & Moreno, A.G. 1988. Ofidios de Colombia. Museo reegionale di Scienze Naturali, Torino, Monographie VI, 517 pp.
  • Piedrasanta, J., J. Guidel, K. Ruiz, I. Pimentel, L. Miranda and N. Cardona. 2017. Micrurus nigrocinctus (Girard, 1854). Tail color pattern. Mesoamerican Herpetology 4(2): 435–436 - get paper here
  • Porras, L.W. & Solórzano, A. 2006. Costa Rica’s venomous snakes. Reptilia (GB) (48): 11-17 - get paper here
  • Porras, L.W. & Solórzano, A. 2006. Die Schlangen Costa Ricas. Reptilia (Münster) 11 (61): 20-27 - get paper here
  • Prairie, Aaron; Kathryn Chandler, Patty Ruback, and Julie M. Ray 2015. Dumeril’s Coralsnake (Micrurus dumerilii Jan, 1858) in Panama. Mesoamerican Herpetology 2 (3): 253–259 - get paper here
  • Ramírez-Fernández, J D; González-Linares, J; Francis-Cartín, F & Díaz-Estrada, M; 2019. Micrurus nigrocinctus (Central American Coral Snake) and Leptodeira rhombifera (Central American Banded Cat-eyed Snake) Diet and predation. Herpetological Review 50 (2): 395-396 - get paper here
  • Ray, Julie M. 2013. Micrurus nigrocinctus (Central American coralsnake) diet. Herpetological Review 44 (4): 694 - get paper here
  • Ray, Julie M. and Patty Ruback 2015. Updated checklists of snakes for the provinces of Panamá and Panamá Oeste, Republic of Panama. Mesoamerican Herpetology 2 (2): 168-188 - get paper here
  • Rovito, Sean Michael; Thomas James Devitt, Susan Cameron Devitt 2015. First survey of the amphibians and reptiles of the Nectandra Cloud Forest Reserve, Alajuela, Costa Rica. Check List 11 (2): 1570 - get paper here
  • 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
  • Santos-Barrera, Georgina; Jesus Pacheco, Fernando Mendoza-Quijano, Federico Bolaños,<br />Gerardo Cháves , Gretchen C. Daily, Paul R. Ehrlich & Gerardo Ceballos 2008. Diversity, natural history and conservation of amphibians and reptiles from the San Vito Region, southwestern Costa Rica. Rev. Biol. Trop. 56 (2): 755-778 - get paper here
  • Savage, J.M. 2002. The Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica: A Herpetofauna Between Two Continents, Between Two Seas. University of Chicago Press, 934 pp. [review in Copeia 2003 (1): 205]
  • Schmidt, K. E, & SMITH, H. M. 1943. Notes on coral snakes from México. Field Mus. Nat. Hist. Zool. Ser. 29: 25-31. - get paper here
  • Schmidt, K. P. 1932. A new subspecies of coral snake from Guatemala. Proc. Cal. Acad. Sci. 20: 265-67. - 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, K. P. 1936. Notes on Central American and Mexican coral snakes. Field Mus. Nat. Hist. Zool. Ser. 20: 205-216. - get paper here
  • Schmidt, Karl P. 1955. Coral snakes of the genus Micrurus in Colombia. Fieldiana Zoology 34 (34): 337-359 - get paper here
  • Scott Jr., N.J. & Limerick, S. 1983. Reptiles and Amhibians. In: Janzen, D.H. (ed.) Costa Rican Natural History. Univeristy of Chicago Press, pp. 351-
  • Silva Jr, Nelson Jorge da; Marcus Augusto Buononato & Darlan Tavares Feitosa 2016. AS COBRAS-CORAIS DO NOVO MUNDO. In: Silva (ed) Cobras corais do Brasil. Goiânia, pp. 41-69
  • Slevin, J.R. 1942. Notes on a collection of reptiles from Boquete, Panama, with the description of a new species of Hydromorphus. Proc. Cal. Acad. Sci. 23: 463-480 - get paper here
  • Smith, Hobart M. 1943. Summary of the collections of snakes and crocodilians made in Mexico under the Walter Rathbone Bacon Traveling Scholarship. Proceeding of the U. S. National Museum, 93 (3169): 393-504 - get paper here
  • Smith, Hobart M. and David Chiszar 2001. Pliocercus elapoides Cope Variegated False Coral Snake. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles (739): 1-11 - get paper here
  • Solís, J. M., L. D. Wilson, and J. H. Townsend. 2014. An updated list of the amphibians and reptiles of Honduras, with comments on their nomenclature. Mesoamerican Herpetology 1: 123–144 - get paper here
  • Solorzano, A. 2004. Serpientes de Costa Rica - Snakes of Costa Rica. Editorial INBio, Costa Rica, 792 pp.
  • Stafford, P.J. 2000. The distributional status of the coral snake Micrurus nigrocinctus (Serpentes: elapidae) in Belize and eastern Guatemala. Herpetological Review 31 (2): 78-82 - get paper here
  • Sunyer, Javier 2014. An updated checklist of the amphibians and reptiles of Nicaragua. Mesoamerican Herpetology 1 (2): 186–202. - get paper here
  • Sunyer, Javier & José́ Gabriel Martínez-Fonseca 2023. An updated country checklist to the amphibians and reptiles of Nicaragua. REVISTA NICARAGÜENSE DE BIODIVERSIDAD (100): 1-25 - get paper here
  • Townsend, J. H., L. D. Wilson, M. Medina-Flores, E. Aguilar-Urbina, B. K. Atkinson et al. 2012. A premontane hotspot for herpetological endemism on the windward side of Refugio de Vida Silvestre Texíguat, Honduras. Salamandra 48 (2): 92-114 - get paper here
  • Travers, Scott L.; Stephen Doucette-Riise, Lenin A. Obando and Josiah H. Townsend 2011. Micrurus nigrocinctus (central American coral snake): Cannibalism. Herpetological Bulletin (115) - get paper here
  • Vences M., Franzen M., Flaschendräger A., Schmitt R. & Regös J. 1998. Beobachtungen zur Herpetofauna von Nicaragua: kommentierte Artenliste der Reptilien. Salamandra 34 (1): 17-42 - get paper here
  • Villa,J. 1984. The venomous snakes of Nicaragua. Milwaukee Publ. Mus. Contrib. Biol. & Geol. No. 59, 41 pp. - 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.
  • Wilson, L.D. & McCranie, J.R. 2003. The herpetofauna of the cloud forests of Honduras. Amphibian & Reptile Conservation 3 (1): 34-48 - get paper here
External links  
Is it interesting? Share with others:

Please submit feedback about this entry to the curator