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Micrurus diastema (DUMÉRIL, BIBRON & DUMÉRIL, 1854)

IUCN Red List - Micrurus diastema - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaElapidae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
SubspeciesMicrurus diastema diastema (DUMÉRIL, BIBRON & DUMÉRIL 1854)
Micrurus diastema aglaeope (COPE 1860)
Micrurus diastema alienus (WERNER 1903)
Micrurus diastema affinis (JAN 1858)
Micrurus diastema apiatus (JAN 1858)
Micrurus diastema macdougalli ROZE 1967
Micrurus diastema sapperi (WERNER 1903) 
Common NamesE: Variable Coral Snake, Diastema Coral Snake
S: Coral Diastema 
SynonymElaps diastema DUMÉRIL, BIBRON & DUMÉRIL 1854: 1222
Elaps epistema DUMÉRIL, BIBRON & DUMÉRIL 1854: 1222
Elaps corallinus var. crebripunctatus PETERS 1869: 877
Elaps fulvius var. epistema — GARMAN 1884: 106
Elaps fulvius var. diastema — GARMAN 1884: 106
Elaps fulvius var. cerebripunctatus [sic] — GARMAN 1884: 106
Micrurus diastema — SCHMIDT 1933: 36
Micrurus diastema — PETERS & OREJAS-MIRANDA 1970: 204
Micrurus diastema — LINER 1994
Micrurus diastema — MATA-SILVA et al. 2015
Micrurus diastema — WALLACH et al. 2014: 445

Micrurus diastema affinis (JAN 1858)
Elaps affinis JAN 1858: 525
Elaps fulvius var. affinis — GARMAN 1884: 106
Micrurus affinis affinis — SCHMIDT 1933
Micrurus diastema affinis — ROZE 1967
Micrurus diastema affinis — LINER 2007

Micrurus diastema aglaeope (COPE 1860)
Elaps aglaeope COPE 1860: 344
Micrurus diastema aglaeope — ROZE 1967: 15
Micrurus diastema aglaeope — PETERS & OREJAS-MIRANDA 1970: 205
Micrurus diastema aglaeope — CAMPBELL & LAMAR 1989
Micrurus diastema aglaeope — WELCH 1994: 79
Micrurus affinis aglaeope — SCHMIDT 1936

Micrurus diastema alienus (WERNER 1903)
Elaps alienus WERNER 1903: 249
Micrurus afinis mayensis SCHMIDT 1933: 37 (fide ROZE 1967)
Micrurus affinis alienus — STUART 1935: 54
Micrurus affinis alienus — SCHMIDT 1936
Micrurus affinis alienus — SCHMIDT 1941
Micrurus affinis alienus — LAURENT 1949: 18
Micrurus affinis alienus — NEILL & ALLEN 1959: 56
Micrurus diastema alienus — CAMPBELL & LAMAR 1989
Micrurus diastema alienus — WELCH 1994: 79
Micrurus diastema alienus — LINER 2007

Micrurus diastema apiatus (JAN 1858)
Elaps apiatus JAN 1858: 522
Elaps fulvius var. apiatus — GARMAN 1884: 106
Micrurus affinis apiatus — SCHMIDT 1933: 37
Micrurus diastema apiatus — ROZE 1967: 15
Micrurus diastema apiatus — PETERS & OREJAS-MIRANDA 1970: 205
Micrurus diastema apiatus — CAMPBELL & LAMAR 1989
Micrurus diastema apiatus — WELCH 1994: 79
Micrurus diastema apiatus — LINER 2007
Micrurus diastema apiatus — SILVA et al. 2016

Micrurus diastema diastema (DUMÉRIL, BIBRON & DUMÉRIL 1854)
Elaps diastema DUMÉRIL, BIBRON & DUMÉRIL 1854
Elaps corallinus var. gastrostictus JAN 1863 (fide TIEDEMANN & GRILLITSCH 1999)
Elaps corallinus var. crebripunctatus PETERS 1870
Micrurus diastema diastema — SCHMIDT 1933: 38
Micrurus diastema diastema — CAMPBELL & LAMAR 1989
Micrurus diastema diastema — WELCH 1994: 79
Micrurus diastema diastema — LINER 2007

Micrurus diastema macdougalli ROZE 1967
Micrurus diastema macdougalli — LINER 2007

Micrurus diastema sapperi (WERNER 1903)
Elaps fulvius var. sapperi WERNER 1903: 350
Elaps guatemalensis AHL 1927: 251
Micrurus affinis stantoni SCHMIDT 1933: 36
Micrurus diastema sapperi — ROZE 1967: 17
Micrurus diastema sapperi — PETERS & OREJAS-MIRANDA 1970: 205
Micrurus diastema — WELCH 1994: 81
Micrurus diastema sapperi — LINER 2007
Micrurus diastema sapperi — SILVA et al. 2016 
DistributionS Mexico (Veracruz, Oaxaca, Yucatan, Chiapas, Puebla),
Belize, Guatemala, Honduras (elevation 100-1680 m)

diastema: C Veracruz to W Tabasco; Type locality: Mexico (restricted to Colima by SCHMIDT 1933).

aglaeope: NW Honduras; Type locality: Honduras

alienus: N Yucatán peninsula including Yucatán and NE Quintana Roo; Type locality: Unknown, restricted to Chichen Itza, Yucatan, Mexico by ROZE 1967.

affinis: Atlantic versant of N Oaxaca; Type locality: Mexico.

apiatus: Atlantic versant of the uplands of N Guatemala and E Chiapas; Type locality: Vera Paz, Guatemala.

macdougalli: Atlantic slopes of the highlands of extreme SE Oaxaca

sapperi: S Yucatán peninsula, including Campeche and N Chiapas,Type locality: “Guatemala”  
TypesLectotype: MNHN-RA 7657, a female from Mexico, (designated by Schmidt)
Holotype: ANSP 6858 [aglaeope]
Holotype: MNHN-RA 3921, fide Roux-Esteve (1983); MNHN 4624, in error (specimen is a frog), fide Smith & Taylor (1945) [affinis]
Holotype: MHNB 9422 [alienus]
Holotype: MNHN-RA 3920, fide Roux-Esteve (1983) [apiatus]
Holotype: AMNH 65163 [macdougalli]
Holotype: MCZ 31872 [mayensis]
Holotype: lost, was ZSM, uncatalogued (lost fide Franzen & Glaw 2007), male. Roze (1996) stated that the holotype was destroyed during World War II [sapperi]
Holotype: FMNH 4201; Paratype: ZSM 8/1922 (?), adult, “Insel Corozal (Brit. Honduras)” [Belize], no further collection data [stantoni] 
CommentColor plate 76 in VILLA et al. 1988. This species is highly variable and some authors therefore question the validity of several of the subspecies (CAMPBELL & LAMAR 1989: 106; FRASER 1973). Synonymy and subspecies partly after PETERS & OREJAS-MIRANDA 1970. Micrurus diastema bernadi is listed here as valid species. Micrurus diastema alienus has been synonymized with M. diastema sapperi by some authors (fide STAFFORD 2000). Micrurus diastema affinis (JAN 1858) is listed as separate subspecies by WELCH 1994). A photo of M. d. sapperi is shown in SMITH & CHISZAR (2001).


Mimicry: Micrurus diastema is mimicked by Lampropeltis triangulum, Ninia sebae, Clelia scytalina (juvenile), Geophis juliai, Geophis semidoliatus, Oxyrhopus petola, Pliocercus wilmarai, Scaphiodontophis annulatus, and Pliocercus elapoides (TORRE-LORANCA et al. 2006). 
EtymologyFrom Greek, diastema means aspace or interval, apparently alluding to the long interspaces of red between the black bands. Epistema comes from the Greek words epi meaning above or upon and stema meaning thread, probably alluding to the weavy, thread- like black ornaments on the head. Crebripunctatus is Latin from crebri, meaning frequent or elose and punctatus meaning marked with small punctures or dotsi thus the name means "marked with frequent spots," alluding to the regular black tips on the red scales.
affinis: Latin afftnis means related or allied, probably alluding to its similarity to other single-banded Mexican coral snakes.
aglaeope: Greek from aglao meaning splendor or beauty, apparently alluding to the splendor and beauty of this coral snake and i.ts brilliantly red bands, un- dimmed by black tips.
alienus: Latin alienus is foreign or stranger, probably alluding to the foreign and strange appearance of the type specimen that has hardly any black bands as compared to the regularly black and red coral snakes. Mayensis means that the snake is from the region where Mayan Indians lived.
apiatus: Etymology: The name can have several meanings in Latin. It could be from apex and apicis meaning a long mark, alluding to the black short bands or to its dwell- ing on high mountains, or from apicatus meaning adomed with a cap, alluding to its head marking.
macdougalli: Named after T. C. MacDougall "who has made valuable collections in the Tehuatepec region that have greatly facilitated the herpetological survey of that region," as stated in the original description.
sapperi: Sapperi is named after Professor Sapper, who collected and sent collections of reptiles from Guatemala to the Munich Museum. The name guatemalensis denotes its presence in Guatemala, while stantoni is dedicated to W. A. Stanton, a Jesuit priest who collected the holotype.
(etymologies from Roze 1996: 154-158). 
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