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Micrurus tener (BAIRD & GIRARD, 1853)

IUCN Red List - Micrurus tener - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaElapidae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Texas Coral Snake
E: Tamaulipas coral snake [tamaulipensis]
E: Guanajuato coral snake [fitzingeri]
E: Tampico coral snake [maculatus]
E: Spotted coral snake [microgalbineus]
E: Texas coral snake [tener]
S: Coralillo Tejano
E: Saddled Coral Snake (Blotched Coral Snake) [bernadi]
S: Coralillo Ensillado [bernadi] 
SynonymElaps tenere BAIRD & GIRARD 1853: 22
Elaps tristis BAIRD & GIRARD 1853: 23
Elaps fitzingeri JAN 1858: 316
Elaps bernadi COPE 1887: 87
Elaps fulvius BOULENGER 1896
Micrurus fitzingeri — SCHMIDT 1928
Micrurus fitzingeri — SCHMIDT 1932
Micrurus bernadi — SCHMIDT 1933
Micrurus fitzingeri — TAYLOR 1939
Micrurus tener microgalbineus BROWN & SMITH 1942
Micrurus fitzingeri microgalbineus BROWN & SMITH 1942
Micrurus fitzingeri microgalbineus — TAYLOR 1949: 212
Micrurus tener maculatus ROZE 1967
Micrurus fulvius maculatus ROZE 1967
Micrurus fulvius tenere — SMITH & SMITH 1976
Micrurus fulvius tener — CONANT & COLLINS 1991: 225
Micrurus tener — COLLINS 1991
Micrurus fulvius tenere — WELCH 1994: 83
Micrurus fulvius microgalbineus — WELCH 1994: 83
Micrurus tener microgalbineus — LINER 1994
Micrurus tener — LINER 1994
Micrurus tener fitzingeri — LINER 1994
Micrurus diastema bernadi — LINER 1994
Micrurus fulvius maculatus — WELCH 1994: 83
Micrurus tener maculatus — LINER 1994
Micrurus fitzingeri — CASTRO-FRANCO & BUSTOS-ZAGAL 1994
Micrurus fulvius fitzingeri — WELCH 1994: 83
Micrurus bernadi — ROZE 1996
Micrurus fulvius tenere — ROZE 1996: 177
Micrurus fulvius tenere — DIXON 2000
Micrurus tener — CROTHER 2000
Micrurus fulvius tener — TENNANT & BARTLETT 2000: 473
Micrurus bernadi — CAMPBELL 2000
Micrurus fulvius tener — TENNANT 2003: 483
Micrurus tener — CAMPBELL & LAMAR 2004: 195
Micrurus tener microgalbineus — CAMPBELL & LAMAR 2004: 197
Micrurus tener fitzingeri — CAMPBELL & LAMAR 2004: 197
Micrurus tener maculatus — CAMPBELL & LAMAR 2004: 197
Micrurus tener tamaulipensis LAVIN-MURCIO & DIXON 2004
Micrurus tamaulipensis LAVIN-MURCIO & DIXON 2004
Micrurus tener — CROTHER et al. 2012
Micrurus tener — WALLACH et al. 2014: 455
Micrurus bernadi — WALLACH et al. 2014: 442
Micrurus tamaulipensis — WALLACH et al. 2014: 455
Micrurus tener tamaulipensis — HEIMES 2016: 341
Micrurus tamaulipensis — JOHNSON et al. 2017
Micrurus tener — REYES-VELASCO et al. 2020 
Distributionfitzingeri: Mexico (Guanajuato and Queretaro to Morelos, Hidalgo, Durango)

bernadi: Mexico (W Hidalgo south to N Puebla, NW Veracruz?); Type locality: Zacualtipan, Hidalgo, Mexico.

maculatus: Mexico (S Tamaulipas, N Veracruz); Type locality: Tampico, Tamaulipas, Mexico.

microgalbineus: Mexico (SW Tamaulipas, CE/E San Luis Potosí to C Guanajuato)

tamaulipensis: Mexico (Tamaulipas: Sierra de Tamaulipas);Type locality: Sierra de Tamaulipas, Rancho La Sauceda, ca. 50 km N Gonazlez, 750-1000 m elevation (23° 06’ 47’’ N, 98° 20’ 19’’ W), Tamaulipas, Mexico.

tener: USA (SW Arkansas and Louisiana to WC Texas), Mexico (Coahuila, Nuevo León, Tamaulipas, Puebla)  
TypesHolotype: USNM
Holotype: ANSP 14767, female [bernadi]
Syntype: NMW 18297 [fitzingeri]
Holotype: ZMH R03028 (formerly no. 5685), male, ded. Dr. E. KALLERT Feb. 10, 1930 [maculatus]
Holotype: BCB 5381 (Strecker Museum Baylor University Waco) [microgalbineus]
Holotype: CAR-ITCV (also as ITCV or ITT) 751, paratypes: CCVUACJ (Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico) [tamaulipensis]
Holotype: USNM 1124 [Elaps tristis] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (bernadi). A coral snake of the genus Micrurus with the normal body form and usual arrangement of head shields; ventrals about 208 in males, 225 in females; caudals about 44 in males and 38 in females; no trace of supra-anal keels; color pattern of black dorsal spots on red ground color [from SCHMIDT 1958].

Original description (bernadi). This species is founded on a specimen from Zacualtipan, Hidalgo, sent me by Dr. Santiago Bemad. It is allied to the E. epistema D. & B., but has better claim to be regarded as a species than that form. The head and nape are black above and below, except a band of yellow from lip to lip crossing the middle of the occipital plates. The body is red, and is marked by forty-one broadly oval black spots placed transversely and separated by narrow interspaces of two and three scales length. The red spots are not light bordered, and the red scales have no markings. The belly is unspotted. The tail is of lighter color than the body, and is marked by seven black rings. Gastrosteges, 218; anal divided; urosteges, 37. Total length 807 mm.; length of tail 90 [from COPE 1886, quoted in SCHMIDT 1958].

Diagnosis (tamaulipensis): Similar to M. tener, but differing in lacking a yellow head ring across the interparietal suture; the presence of a black head cap that extends beyond the tip of the parietal scales four to six scales; the chin and throat are mostly black, occasionally with small obscure red and orange marks. The tail is tricolored, black, yellow, and red (after LAVIN-MURCIO & DIXON 2004). 

Synonymy: Streicher et al. 2016 suggested to synonymize all subspecies with the nominate form, M. tener. They also suggested to synonymize M. bernadi and M. tamaulipensis with tener. Notable, this synonymization was ONLY mentioned in passing in the Methods section (!) of the paper, which then referred to Appendix S1 for details. No kidding. Anyway, this conclusion was also supported by Reyes-Velasco et al. 2020 who also found that individuals of M. tener previously reported from Colima and Morelos (Campbell and Lamar, 2004; Reyes-Velasco et al., 2009) actually represent M. browni Schmidt and Smith, 1943.

Distribution: see map 20 in Campbell & Lamar 2004: 170

Mimicry: Micrurus bernadi [= tener] is mimicked by Lampropeltis triangulum, Ninia sebae, and Pliocercus elapoides (TORRE-LORANCA et al. 2006).

NCBI taxonID: 2072740 [bernadi] 
EtymologyThe specific name is the Latin word tener, meaning "soft or delicate," in reference to the graceful features of this snake.
The name maculatus (Latin for spotted) refers to the presence of some large black spots in the red bands.
The name microgalbineus is derived from a modern Latin adaptation of the original Greek word micro meaning small and tiny and galbineus, Latin for greenish yellow. The name microgalbineus alludes to the short yellowish bands of this subspecies.
M. bernadi was named after Santiago Bernad, collector of the holotype. 
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