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Micrurus obscurus (JAN, 1872)

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Higher TaxaElapidae, Colubroidea, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes) 
Common NamesBolivian Coral Snake 
SynonymElaps corallinus var obscura JAN & SORDELLI 1872: plate VI
Elaps heterozonus PETERS 1881
Elaps heterozonus BOULENGER 1896
Elaps princeps BOULENGER 1905: 456
Micrurus spixii obscura — SCHMIDT & WALKER 1943: 294
Micrurus spixii princeps — SCHMIDT 1953: 175
Micrurus spixii obscurus — SCHMIDT 1955
Micrurus spixii princeps — PETERS & OREJAS-MIRANDA 1970: 218
Micrurus spixii obscurus — PETERS & OREJAS-MIRANDA 1970: 218
Micrurus spixii obscurus — DUELLMAN 1978: 261
Micrurus spixii obscurus — WELCH 1994: 89
Micrurus spixii princeps — WELCH 1994: 89
Micrurus obscurus — HARVEY et al. 2003
Micrurus spixii obscurus — CAMPBELL & LAMAR 2004: 228
Micrurus spixii princeps — CAMPBELL & LAMAR 2004: 228
Micrurus obscurus — RIVAS et al. 2012
Micrurus obscurus — WALLACH et al. 2014: 451 
DistributionS/E Colombia, NW Brazil (Upper Amazon region), N Bolivia, E Ecuador, E Peru;

Type locality: “Lima” (in error); designated to “Iquitos, Peru” by SCHMIDT 1953: 175.

princeps: NW/C Bolivia; Type locality: "Province Sara, Department Santa Cruzde la Sierra, Bolivia"  
TypesHolotype: lost, formerly MSNM, destroyed in World War II
Lectotype: BMNH 1946.1.20.44, a male, designated by Roze, 1989:14 [princeps] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: (1) Dorsal pattern of yellow, red, and black triads; (2) hemipenis and tail relatively short; (3) two supralabials entering orbit; (4) mental usually separated from chinshields by medial contact of first pair of infralabials; (5) anal scale usually divided; (6) first triad usually incomplete (if complete, the first black ring is very short and edges the parietals; a "remnant" of this ring is often evident as a row of black scales on the side of the neck): two black rings on neck, the first strongly angled anteriorly along midline; (7) dorsal surface of snout red, parietal region yellow; black band crossing frontal and supraoculars to suprala bials; (8) apices of yellow rings with more black pigment than apices of scales in red rings; (9) yellow rings longest ventrally, some black rings greatly con stricted or interrupted ventrally; (10) mental and some anterior infralabials edged in black, remaining scales of chin mostly immaculate; (11) parietals immaculate yellow or with black blotching; scales of snout moderately blotched; (12) prefrontal contacting the supralabials in about 60% of the specimens; (13) 6-9 body triads (as few as 4 in specimens outside Bolivia, Roze, 1996), 0.67—1 triads on tail; (14) yellow rings longer or only slightly shorter than exterior black rings [HARVEY et al. 2003]. 
CommentSubspecies: M. obscurus is considered as a subspecies of M. lemniscatus by some authors.


Synonymy after HARVEY et al. 2003. 
  • Campbell, J.A. & Lamar, W.W. 1989. The Venomous Reptiles of Latin America. Comstock Publishing/Cornell University Press, Ithaca
  • CATENAZZI, A., LEHR, E. & VON MAY, R. 2013. The amphibians and reptiles of Manu National Park and its buffer zone, Amazon basin and eastern slopes of the Andes, Peru. Biota Neotrop. 13(4): 269-283
  • Duellman, W. E. 1978. The biology of an equatorial herpetofauna in Amazonian Ecuador. Misc. Publ. Univ. Kans. Mus. Nat. Hist. 65: 1-352 - get paper here
  • Duellman, W. E. 2005. Cusco Amazónico: The Lives of Amphibians and Reptiles in an Amazonian Rainforest. Comstock Pub Assoc.
  • Harvey M. B., J. Aparicio E, and L. Gonzalez A. 2003. Revision of the venomous snakes of Bolivia: Part 1. The coralsnakes (Elapidae: Micrurus). Annals of the Carnegie Museum 72: 1-52
  • Jan, Giorgia & Sordelli, M.F. 1872. Iconographie Générale des Ophidiens. 41. livr. J.B. Bailière et Fils, Paris, 6 plates - get paper here
  • Natera-Mumaw, Marco; Luis Felipe Esqueda-González & Manuel Castelaín-Fernández 2015. Atlas Serpientes de Venezuela Santiago de Chile, Dimacofi Negocios Avanzados S.A., 456 pp. - get paper here
  • Peters, James A.; Donoso-Barros, Roberto & Orejas-Miranda, Braulio 1970. Catalogue of the Neotropical Squamata: Part I Snakes. Part II Lizards and Amphisbaenians. Bull. US Natl. Mus. 297: 347 pp. - get paper here
  • RIVAS, GILSON A.; CÉSAR R. MOLINA, GABRIEL N. UGUETO, TITO R. BARROS, CÉSAR L. BAR- RIO-AMORÓS & PHILIPPE J. R. KOK 2012. Reptiles of Venezuela: an updated and commented checklist. Zootaxa 3211: 1–64 - get paper here
  • Schmidt, Karl P. 1953. The Amazonian coral snake. Fieldiana Zoology 34 (14): 171-180 - get paper here
  • Schmidt, Karl P. 1955. Coral snakes of the genus Micrurus in Colombia. Fieldiana Zoology 34 (34): 337-359 - get paper here
  • Schmidt, Karl P. & Walker, Warren F. 1943. Peruvian snakes from the University of Arequipa. Zoological Series of Field Museum of Zoology 24 (26): 279-296 - 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.
  • Welch, K. R. G. 1994. Snakes of the World. A Checklist. I. Venomous snakes. KCM Books, Somerset, England.
  • Werner, F. 1927. Neue oder wenig bekannte Schlangen aus dem Wiener naturhistorischen Staatsmuseum (III. Teil). Sitzungsb. Akad. Wiss. Wien, Math. Naturwiss. Kl. 143 [135?]: 243-257 [1926] - get paper here
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