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Micrurus stewarti BARBOUR & AMARAL, 1928

IUCN Red List - Micrurus stewarti - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaElapidae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Panamenian Coral Snake 
SynonymMicrurus stewarti stewarti BARBOUR & AMARAL 1928: 100
Micrurus stewarti BARBOUR & AMARAL 1928
Micrurus schmidti DUNN 1940: 119
Micrurus smithi — MERTENS 1956: 544 (in error fide CAMPBELL & LAMAR 2004)
Micrurus stewarti — ROZE 1967: 47
Micrurus stewarti — WELCH 1994: 89
Micrurus stewarti — ROZE 1996: 220
Micrurus stewarti — WALLACH et al. 2014: 454 
DistributionPanama (around Canal Zone)

Type locality: Sierra de Bruja, Panama.

schmidti: Panama; Type locality: El VAlle de Anton, 2000 m elevation, some 50 miles west of Canal Zone.  
TypesHolotype: MCZ R-24924
Holotype: ANSP 21645, male; paratype: ANSP (female) [schmidti] 
DiagnosisDefinition: A coral snake with only red and black bands over the entire body and with alternating longer and shorter bands. It has a large, red parietal band and the black nuchal band is 1 to 2 dorsals behind the parietals. The scales of the red bands have large black tips. Males have supraanal tubercles and females have weak keels or small tubercles (Roze 1996: 220).

Description: Males have 200 to 207 (204.5) and females have 224 to 228 (255.3) ventrals; subcaudals 50 to 55 (52.5) in males and 36 to 40 (38.3) in females; temporals usually 1+1. Examined: 4 males and 4 females, including the holotypes.
The snout is black to the frontal, followed by a parietal red band that covers the temporals and supralabials and extends beyond the tips of the parietals. Below, the head is predominantly red, including the genials, except for small black spots on the mental and the first two infralabials and a few black smudges on some other shields. The nuchal black bands are 12 to 16 dorsals and ventrals long and does not reach the parietals. The body is covered with red and black bands. The latter are usually of unequal size: alternating longer and shorter bands. The longer black bands are 8 to 14 dorsals and 7 to 12 ventrals long. The shorter black bands are 2 to 4 dorsals shorter and are usually reduced on the ventral side. The red bands are 2 to 4 dorsals and 3 to 6 ventrals long, with large, irregular black tips that are heavier and more conspicuous around each second black band. Red and black bands also alternate on the tail.
The males have 13 to 25 (18.2) and the females have around 21 black body bands. On the tail, the males have 3 to 5 (3.5) and the females 3 to 4 (3.5) black bands (Roze 1996: 220). 
CommentSynonymy after PETERS & OREJAS-MIRANDA 1970 and ROZE 1996.


Abundance: This is a rare species: only 8 specimens have reached museums and nothing is known about its way of life (Roze 1996). 
EtymologyNamed after Thomas H. Stewart, collector of the holotype.  
  • Barbour, Thomas & Amaral,A. 1928. A new elapid from Western Panama. Bull. Antivenin Inst. America 1: 100
  • 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
  • Dunn,E.R. 1940. New and noteworthy herpetological material from Panamá. Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia. 92: 105-122. - get paper here
  • Evans, H. E. 1947. Notes on Panamanian reptiles and amphibians. Copeia 1947 (3): 166-170. - get paper here
  • Köhler, G. 2008. Reptiles of Central America. 2nd Ed. Herpeton-Verlag, 400 pp.
  • Lotzkat S, Wehrenberg G, Haas M, Köhler G 2021. Amphibians (Amphibia, Anura and Caudata) and reptiles (Reptilia, Squamata) from the headwaters of Río Guázaro on the Caribbean versant of Veraguas province, western Panama. Check List 17(6): 1541-1556 - 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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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