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Micrurus ruatanus (GÜNTHER, 1895)

IUCN Red List - Micrurus ruatanus - Critically Endangered, CR

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Higher TaxaElapidae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Roatan Coralsnake, Roatan Coral Snake 
SynonymElaps ruatanus GÜNTHER 1895: 185
Elaps fulvius BOULENGER 1896
Micrurus ruatanus — SCHMIDT 1933: 34
Micrurus ruatanus — PETERS & OREJAS-MIRANDA 1970: 217
Micrurus nigrocinctus ruatanus — ROZE 1983
Micrurus ruatanus — WELCH 1994: 89
Micrurus ruatanus — WALLACH et al. 2014: 453 
DistributionHonduras (restricted to the Bay Island = Islas de la Bahia, Roatán Island)

Type locality: Ruatan Island, Bay Islands, Honduras.  
TypesSyntype: MCZ R-26930 
DiagnosisDefinition: A two-colored coral snake with alternating long and short black and red bands. The snout it black followed by a red parietal band. The nuchal black band does not reach the parietals and the males have supraanal tubercles (Roze 1996: 214).

Description: Males have 178 to 188 (183.7) and females have 193 to 203 (198.7) ventrals; subcaudals 46 to 48 (46.3) in males and 34 to 38 (36.9) in females. About half of the specimens have 2 to 10 undivided subcaudals; 1+1 temporals. Examined: 10 males and 5 females, including the holotype.
The black snout coloration reaches up to the anterior part of the supraoculars and half of the frontal. The rest of the head, including the last 4 supralabials and parietals, is red. The black nuchal band does not reach the parietals, and is 3 to 5 dorsals long. Below, the head is white, except the mental and first 2 or 3 infralabials which are black. The rest of the body is covered by black and red bands. Longer and shorter black bands alternate, in some specimens more than in others. The long black bands are usually 3 dorsals and 2 to 3 ventrals long, while the short black bands are 1 to 2Y2 dorsals long; some of them are interrupted laterally or ventrally. The long black bands are equal to or longer than the red bands. The red bands are immaculate. On the tail, the red bands are as long as or longer than the black bands.
The males have 33 to 39 (36.1) and the females have 41 to 45 (43.3) black body bands. Males have 5 to 7 (5.9) and the females have 2 to 6 (5.0) black tail bands (Roze 1996: 214). 
EtymologyNamed after the type locality. 
  • Campbell, J.A. & Lamar, W.W. 1989. The Venomous Reptiles of Latin America. Comstock Publishing/Cornell University Press, Ithaca
  • Günther, A. C. L. G. 1885. Reptilia and Batrachia. Biologia Centrali-Américana. Taylor, & Francis, London, 326 pp. [published in parts from 1885-1902; reprint by the SSAR 1987] - get paper here
  • Hedges SB, Powell R, Henderson RW, Hanson S, and Murphy JC 2019. Definition of the Caribbean Islands biogeographic region, with checklist and recommendations for standardized common names of amphibians and reptiles. Caribbean Herpetology 67: 1–53
  • 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.
  • Luykx, P., J.B. Slowinski & J.R. McCranie 1992. The karyotype of the coral snake Micrurus ruatanus Amphibia-Reptilia, 13(3): 289-292. - get paper here
  • McCranie J R 2011. The snakes of Honduras. SSAR, Salt Lake City, 725 pp.
  • 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
  • O’Shea, M. 2018. The Book of Snakes. Ivy Press / Quarto Publishing, London, - get paper here
  • Peters, James A.; Donoso-Barros, Roberto & Orejas-Miranda, Braulio 1970. Catalogue of the Neotropical Squamata: Part I Snakes. Bull. US Natl. Mus. 297: 347 pp. - 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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., & HAHN, D. E. 1973. The herpetofauna of the Islas de la Bahía, Honduras. Bulletin of the Florida State Museum 17: 93-150. - get paper here
  • Wilson,L.D. 1984. The status of Micrurus ruatanus (Günther), a coral snake endemic to the Bay lslands of Honduras. Herpetological Review 15: 67-68. - get paper here
  • Wilson,L.D.; McCranie,J.R. & Slowinski,J.B. 1992. Micrurus ruatanus. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles ( 545 - get paper here
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