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Micrurus tschudii JAN, 1858

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Higher TaxaElapidae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
SubspeciesMicrurus tschudii olssoni SCHMIDT & SCHMIDT 1925
Micrurus tschudii tschudii (JAN 1858) 
Common NamesE: Desert Coral Snake
E: Southern desert coral snake [tschudii]
E: Northern desert coral snake [olssoni] 
SynonymMicrurus tschudii tschudii (JAN 1858)
Elaps tschudii JAN 1858
Elaps tschudii — COPE 1878: 33
Elaps tschudii — WERNER 1901: 10
Micrurus tschudii tschudii — WELCH 1994: 89
Micrurus tschudii — CHAVEZ & VENEGAS 2007
Micrurus tschudii — WALLACH et al. 2014: 455

Micrurus tschudii olssoni (SCHMIDT & SCHMIDT 1925)
Micrurus olssoni SCHMIDT & SCHMIDT 1925
Micrurus tschudii olssoni — SCHMIDT & WALKER 1943
Micrurus tschudii olssoni — WELCH 1994: 91
Micrurus tschudii olssoni — ROZE 1996: 224 
DistributionW Peru, NW Bolivia ?, SW Ecuador

tschudii: S Ecuador and S Peru (Pacific slopes); Type locality: Peru

olssoni: S Ecuador, NW Peru; Type locality: Negritos, Piura, Peru.  
TypesHolotype: NMW 18284, a 310 mm specimen (Pfeiffer, 1856).
Type: FMNH (also as CNHM) 5724, male) [olssoni] 
DiagnosisDefinition: A triad-type coral snake with the first triad complete and the black head crossed by an irregular, frontoparietal red band. The first black band of the first triad covers the posterior part of the parietals. The black bands are usually as long as or longer than the white or yellow and red bands (Roze 1996: 223).

Description (tschudii): Males have 188 to 213 (207.1) and females have 206 to 224 (214.3) ventrals; subcaudals 27 to 33 (30.0) in males and 25 to 31 (27.8) in females; occasional subcaudals are undivided; 1+1 temporals. Examined: 29 males and 24 females.
The head is all black with a red frontoparietal crossband. Most infralabials and genials are also black or black with some light borders. The first black band of the first triad covers half of the parietals and the first 2 to 3 dorsals; it is usually complete below. The black bands are of equal length, or the central black band is longer than the outer ones; they are usually 3 to 5 dorsals and ventrals long. The white or yellow bands are 2 to 3 dorsals and ventrals long, with or without black tips. The red bands are also usually shorter than the black bands, frequently with black tips. Ventrally, the red and white bands are immaculate. Triads also continue onto the tail.
The males have 13 to 20 (15.6) and the females have 14 to 22 (15.9), rarely 13, black triads on the body. On the tail, the males have 1Y.3 to 2Y.3 and the females have 1 to 2 black triads (Roze 1996: 224).

Description (olssoni): Males have 187 to 203 (194.8) and females have 197 to 209 (201.9) ventrals; subcaudals 24 to 30 (26.8) in males and 25 to 29 (26.4) in females; occasional subcaudals are undivided; 1+1 temporals. Examined: 26 males and 22 females, induding the holotype.
The snout is black with light spots. After the red frontoparietal band, the head is black, but this band is frequently interrupted below. The chin is all light, whitish yellowish or light pink, and immaculate or with few small black spots on some shields. The central black band is as long as or a little longer than the outer bands, 3 to 5 dorsals and ventrals long. The white or yellow bands are 2 to 4 dorsals and ventrals long and immaculate or with a few black tips. The red bands are 3 to 5 dorsals and ventrals long, usually as long as the black bands. The triads also continue on the tail.
The males have 10 to 12 (11.3) and the females have 10 to 13 (11.7) triads on the body. On the tail, both sexes have 1.33 to 2 triads (Roze 1996: 224). 
EtymologyNamed after Johann Jakob Tschudi (1818-1889), Swiss naturalist.

M. t. olssoni has been named after Axel A. Olsson, collector of the holotype and member of the Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, United States. 
  • Campbell, J.A. & Lamar, W.W. 1989. The Venomous Reptiles of Latin America. Comstock Publishing/Cornell University Press, Ithaca
  • Chávez, G. & Venegas, P. 2007. Looking for Macanches in the dry forest of Peru. Reptilia (GB) (51): 54-59 - get paper here
  • Cope, E.D. 1878. Synopsis of the cold blooded Vertebrata, procured by Prof. James Orton, during his exploration of Peru in 1876-77. Proc. Amer. Philos. Soc. 17: 33-49 [1877] - get paper here
  • Gemel, R.; G. Gassner & S. Schweiger 2019. Katalog der Typen der Herpetologischen Sammlung des Naturhistorischen Museums Wien – 2018. Ann. Naturhist. Mus. Wien, B 121: 33–248
  • Jan, G. 1858. Plan d'une iconographie descriptive des ophidiens et description sommaire de nouvelles espèces des serpents. Rev. Mag. Zool. Paris (2) 10: 438-449, 514-527 - get paper here
  • Schmidt, K.P. & Schmidt, F.J.W. 1925. New coral snakes from Peru. Report on results of the Captain Marshall Field expeditions. Field Mus. Nat. Hist. Publ. Zool. Ser. 12: 129-134 - get paper here
  • Schmidt, Karl P. 1936. Preliminary account of coral snakes of South America. Zoological Series of Field Museum of Natural History 20 (19): 189-203 - get paper here
  • Schmidt,K.P. & WALKER Jr. ,W.F. 1943. Snakes of the Peruvian coastal region. Zool. Ser. Field Mus. nat. Hist., Chicago, 24: 297-327 - get paper here
  • Torres-Carvajal O, Pazmiño-Otamendi G, Salazar-Valenzuela D. 2019. Reptiles of Ecuador: a resource-rich portal, with a dynamic checklist and photographic guides. Amphibian & Reptile Conservation 13 (1): [General Section]: 209–229 (e178) - get paper here
  • Valencia, J. H., K. Garzón-Tello & M. E. Barragán-Paladines 2016. Serpientes venenosas del Ecuador: sistemática, taxonomía, historia natural, conservación, envenenamiento y aspectos antropológicos. Quito, Ecuador, Fundación Herpetológica Gustavo Orcés, Universidad de Texas, Fondo Ambiental Nacional, 652 pp. [review in HR 49 (1): 152, 2018]
  • 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.
  • Werner, FRANZ 1901. Reptilien und Batrachier aus Peru und Bolivien. Abhandl. Ber. Zool. Anthrop. Mus. Dresden, 9 (2): 1-14 [1900] - get paper here
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