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Pliocercus euryzonus COPE, 1862

IUCN Red List - Pliocercus euryzonus - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaColubridae (Dipsadinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
SubspeciesPliocercus euryzonus euryzonus COPE 1862
Pliocercus euryzonus burghardti SMITH & CHISZAR 1996 
Common NamesE: Cope's False Coral Snake 
SynonymPliocercus euryzonus COPE 1862: 72
Pliocercus dimidiatus COPE 1865
Pliocercus dimidiatus — COPE 1885: 183
Pliocercus arubricus TAYLOR 1954 (fide SAVAGE & CROTHER 1989)
Pliocercus annellatus TAYLOR 1951 (fide SAVAGE & CROTHER 1989)
Pliocercus aerubricus — PETERS & OREJAS-MIRANDA 1970 (fide VILLA et al.)
Pliocercus annellatus — PETERS & OREJAS-MIRANDA 1970
Pliocercus dimidiatus — VILLA 1983
Urotheca euryzona — SAVAGE & CROTHER 1989
Pliocercus euryzonus — MYERS & CADLE 1994
Pliocercus dimidiatus — SMITH & CHISZAR 2001
Pliocercus eurizonus — LEHR 2002: 205
Urotheca euryzona — SAVAGE 2002: 642
Urotheca euryzona — SOLORZANO 2004
Urotheca euryzona — CASTRO-HERRERA & VARGAS-SALINAS 2008
Pliocercus euryzona — RAY & KNIGHT 2013
Pliocercus euryzonus — WALLACH et al. 2014: 571
Pliocercus euryzonus — SUNYER & MARTÍNEZ-FONSECA 2023

Pliocercus euryzona euryzona COPE 1862
Pliocercus euryzonus COPE 1862: 72
Liophis splendens JAN 1863: 302
Liophis splendens — BOULENGER 1882: 461
Pliocercus euryzonus euryzonus — STUART 1948: 72
Pliocercus euryzona euryzona — PETERS 1960: 535
Pliocercus euryzonus euryzonus — PETERS & OREJAS-MIRANDA 1970: 251

Pliocercus euryzonus burghardti SMITH & CHISZAR 1996
Pliocercus euryzonus burghardti — SMITH & CHISZAR 2001 
DistributionGuatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama,
Colombia (western and central coordilleras of the Colombian Andes), Ecuador, Peru

Type locality: region of the Truando, New Grenada (now Colombia)

burghardti: Panama; Type locality: "1.6 km W Almirante, 10 m, Bocas del Toro, Panama."  
TypesHolotype: lost, was USNM 4303 (formerly SIM 4303)
Holotype: KU 25370 (Morehouse Finca, Cartago, Costa Rica) [annellatus]
Holotype: KU 31943, Isla Bonita, Heredia, Costa Rica) [arubricus]
Holotype: USNM 6363 (Arriba, Costa Rica) [Pliocercus dimidiatus]
Holotype: KU (University of Kansas Natural History Museum) 112426, an adult male, collected by C.W. Myers, 7 September 1965 (examined by authors) [burghardti]
Holotype: KU 112426, an adult male, collected by C.W. Myers, 7 September 1965 [burghardti] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Pliocercus euryzonus differs from all taxa of the genus in the tricolor complex by having only bicolor rings, black and pale, usually without red, which occurs only dorsally in the pale rings and never forms a complete ring.
Pliocercus euryzonus differs from P. dimidiatus (the only other species of the bicolor complex) in having categorically shorter pale rings on head, body, and tail; usually two secondary temporals (versus usually one); pale rings never distinctly red, although a slight reddish infusion may be present (versus usually distinctly red rings): and nuchal black ring usually complete ventrally (versus usually incomplete). Details expressing these and other differences include the lack of a pale parietal ring, or one that is interrupted or whose length is 15% or less of the length of the parietals (versus a continuous ring 25-70 % as long as the parietals), pale rings almost always (96% of specimens) 0.25-1.5 scales in length at midline throughout body (versus 2 scales in length or more on at least part of body in 98%), commonly (69%, 35 of 48) no black tips on pale dorsals (versus 26%, 7 of 27), usually (90% versus 14% at most) two secondary temporals on one or both sides; black nuchal ring usually (88%, 43 of 48) complete (versus 12%); and usually (76%. 16 of 21) 3 or fewer subcaudals in any pale ring (versus 7%, 1 of 15) [from Smith & Chiszar 2001]. 
CommentMimicry: The usually bicolour (red and yellow OR white and black) pattern mimics similar colour variation in the sympatric venomous coral snake Micrurus mipartitus. Two subspecies according to PETERS & OREJAS-MIRANDA 1970.

Distribution: Not listed for Honduras by WILSON & MCCRANIE (2002). This species has been reported from Peru, but without specific locality (T. Doan, pers. comm. 30 Apr 2012). Not in Brazil fide Nogueira et al. 2019 (Atlas).

Synonymy: Pliocercus sargii FIRSCHER 1881 has been considered as a synonym of P. elapoides by some authors. VILLA et al. 1988 mentioned Pliocercus aequalis as a synonym of Pliocercus euryzonus. 
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  • Boulenger, George A. 1883. Account of the reptiles and batrachians collected by Mr. Edward Whymper in Ecuador in 1879-80. Ann. Mag. nat. Hist. (5) 9: 457-466 - get paper here
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  • Cope, E.D. 1862. Synopsis of the species of Holcosus and Ameiva, with diagnoses of new West Indian and South American Colubridae. Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia 14: 60-82. - get paper here
  • Cope, E.D. 1866. Third contribution to the herpetology of tropical America. Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia 17: 185-198 [1865] - get paper here
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  • Dunn, E.R. 1944. A revision of the Colombian snakes of the genera Leimadophis, Lygophis, Liophis, Rhadinaea, and Pliocercus, with a note on Colombian Coniophanes. Caldasia 2 (10): 479-495 - get paper here
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