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Micrurus distans KENNICOTT, 1860

IUCN Red List - Micrurus distans - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaElapidae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
SubspeciesMicrurus distans distans (KENNICOTT 1860)
Micrurus distans michoacanensis (DUGES 1891)
Micrurus distans oliveri ROZE 1967
Micrurus distans zweifeli ROZE 1967 
Common NamesE: Clear-banded coral snake, West Mexican Coral Snake
E: Common clear-banded coral snake [distans]
E: Michoacan clear-banded coral snake [michoacanensis]
E: Colima clear-banded coral snake [oliveri]
E: Zweifel's coral snake [zweifeli]
S: Coralillo Bandas Claras 
SynonymMicrurus distans distans (KENNICOTT 1860)
Elaps distans KENNICOTT 1860
Elaps distans — COPE 1875: 11
Elaps fulvius var. distans — GARMAN 1884: 106
Micrurus diastema distans — SCHMIDT 1933: 39
Micrurus diastema distans — SCHMIDT & SMITH 1943
Micrurus distans distans — ZWEIFEL 1959
Micrurus distans distans — TANNER 1985: 661
Micrurus distans distans — LINER 1994
Micrurus distans distans — LINER 2007
Micrurus distans — WALLACH et al. 2014: 445

Micrurus distans michoacanensis (DUGES 1891)
Elaps diastema var. michoacanensis DUGES 1891
Micrurus diastema michoacanensis — SCHMIDT & SMITH 1943
Micrurus diastema michoacanensis — SCHMIDT 1947
Micrurus distans michoacanensis — ZWEIFEL 1959
Micrurus distans michoacanensis — LINER 1994
Micrurus distans michoacanensis — LINER 2007

Micrurus distans oliveri ROZE 1967
Micrurus distans oliveri — WELCH 1994: 81
Micrurus distans oliveri — LINER 2007

Micrurus distans zweifeli ROZE 1967
Micrurus distans zweifeli — WELCH 1994: 81
Micrurus distans zweifeli — LINER 2007 
Distributiondistans: Mexico (SW Chihuahua, S Sonora, Sinaloa, south to NW Nayarit); Type locality: Batosegachie, Chihuahua, Mexico.

michoacanensis: Mexico (Michoacan, Guerrero)

oliveri: Mexico (Colima, Jalisco); Type locality: Periquillo, Colima, Mexico.

zweifeli: Mexico (Nayarit, Jalisco, Aguascalientes [HR 31: 114]); Type locality: Laguna Santa Maria, Nayarit, Mexico, between elevations of 2,000 and 4,000 ft.  
Reproductionoviparous. 
TypesHolotype: USNM 1144, male
Neoype: MDUG HE 1, designated by Smith & Necker 1943; Holotype: MDUG Duges Museum, Mexico, lost fide ROZE 1996; [michoacanensis]
Holotype: AMNH 12780, a male [oliveri]
Holotype: CAS 95769, a male [zweifeli] 
DiagnosisDefinition: A single-banded coral snake with a black snout and a yellow or white parietal band and with light spots on the snout and/or supralabials. The chin is yellow with some scales bordered with black. The nuchal black band does not reach the tips of the parietals. The red scales lack black tips or have a few small black tips. There are no supraanal tubercles in males (Roze 1996: 161-163, including all following subspecies).

Description (distans): Males have 208 to 214 (210.3) and females have 222 to 235 (228.8) ventrals; subcaudals 46 to 52 (49.7) in males and 38 to 41 (39.4) in females. Examined: 13 males and 10 females, including the holotype.
The black snout coloration extends over the anterior part of the parietals and postoculars. Light spots are present on the rostral and on the supralabials and occasionally also on the nasals and internasals. The chin is all white or has some small black spots on the infralabials and the genials. The nuchal black band begins 1 to 2 dorsals behind the parietals. The nuchal band is 4 to 7 dorsals long and often is interrupted or reduced ventrally. The black bands are 2 to 4 dorsals long in males and 3 to 6 in females; they are reduced by 1 to 2 scales ventrally. The yellow or white bands are Y2 to 2 dorsals long, without black-tipped scales. The first red band is 18 to 25 dorsals long, and immaculate. The other red bands decrease in size toward the tail and occupy 13 to 18 dorsals in males and 6 to 13 in females. Thus, there is a sexual dimorphism in the length of the red and black bands. Only black and white bands are present on the tall; the black bands are about 4 times as long as the white bands.
The males have 11 to 15 (12.8) and the females have 12 to 17 (13.6), usually 12 to 14, black body bands. The males have 4 to 6 (5.1) and the females have 3 to 4 (3.5) black tail bands.

Description (michoacanensis): Males have 208 to 213 (209.5) and females have 224 to 230 (225.4) ventrals; subcaudals 47 to 50 (49.0) in males and 38 to 39 (38.8) in females. Examined: 6 males and 4 females.
The black snout coloration extends over the anterior part of the parietals, all of the frontal, the anterior temporals, and the postoculars. Light spots are present on the rostral, the internasals, and the first supralabials. The chin is all white. The black nuchal band begins 1 to 2 dorsals behind the parietals and is 4 to 8 dorsals and ventrals long. The black body bands are 3 to 4 dorsals and ventrals long. The remainder of the body is covered by red bands with or without short yellow bands. The general impression of this snake in life is that it is a brilliantly red-colored snake with a few black bands. The black tail bands are up to 4 times as long as the light bands.
The males have 6 to 7 (6.6) and the females 7 to 9 (7.8) black body bands. Except for one females that has only two bands, both sexes have 3 black tail bands.

Description (oliveri): Males have 197 to 209 (203.0) and females have 216 to 218 (216.7) ventrals; subcaudals 50 to 55 (52.8) in males and 43 to 44 (43.7) in females. Examined: 3 males and 3 females, including the holotype.
The black snout coloration includes half of the parietals, but white spots are found on the first supralabials and usually also on the rostral and internasals. The chin is almost completely white but has some dark or black markings concentrated on the sutures of the first infralabials and the genials. The black nuchal band begins 1 to 2 dorsals behind the parietals and is 4 to 6 dorsals long. It is usually reduced but complete ventrally. The black body bands are 3 to 4 dorsals and 2 to 4 ventrals long. The faint yellow bands are Y2 to 1 dorsal long. The red bands are usually immaculate, but occasional faint blackish tips are sometimes observed on the first few red bands. The white tail bands may be longer or shorter than the black bands that follow them.
The males have 11 to 13 (12.0) and the females have 13 to 14 (13.6) black body bands. The males have 3 to 6 (5.1) and the females have 4 to 5 (4.3) black tail bands.

Description (zweifeli): The only known male has 217 ventrals; females have 237 to 242 (239.5) ventrals; subcaudals around 48 in males and 39 to 41 (40.0) in females. Examined: 1 male and 2 females, induding the holotype.
The black snout coloration extends over the anterior part of the parietals, the preoculars, and the anterior temporal, but light spots are found on the rostral and/or internasals and the first supralabials. The black nuchal band is 7 to 8 dorsals long, but is reduced to 2 to 5 scales ventrally. It begins behind the parietals. The black body bands are 4 to 6 dorsals and 3 to 5 ventrals long; they are bordered by yellow bands 1 to 2 dorsals and ventrals long. The red bands are 5 to 10 dorsals and ventrals long with small black or dark grey scale tips that decrease in size or may be absent on the last red bands. The black tail bands are 3 to 4 times as long as the white bands.
The only known male has 19 and the females have 19 to 20 (19.5) black body bands. The male has 6 and the females have 4 black tail bands. 
CommentVenomous! 
EtymologyLatin from dista meaning stand apart; distans probably refers to the long distance between the black bands, unusual in coral snakes.
michoacenensis: Latin michoacenensis denotes belonging to or an inhabitant of Michoacan.
oliveri: Named after the late James A. Oliver, director of the American Museum of Natural History, New York, who made considerable contributions to herpetology.
zweifeli: Named after Richard G. Zweifel, curator emeritus of herpetology of the American Museum of Natural History, New York, who did extensive research in western Mexico.
(etymologies after Roze 1996: 161-163) 
References
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