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Poisonous animals
 
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Genus/Species

 

Micrurus spp., Coral snakes

Clinical entries

Species

  • 1. Micrurus albicinctus
  • 2. Micrurus alleni
  • 3. Micrurus altirostris
  • 4. Micrurus ancoralis
  • 5. Micrurus annellatus
  • 6. Micrurus averyi
  • 7. Micrurus baliocoryphus
  • 8. Micrurus bernadi
  • 9. Micrurus bocourti
  • 10. Micrurus bogerti
  • 11. Micrurus boicora
  • 12. Micrurus brasiliensis
  • 13. Micrurus browni
  • 14. Micrurus camilae
  • 15. Micrurus catamayensis
  • 16. Micrurus circinalis
  • 17. Micrurus clarki
  • 18. Micrurus collaris
  • 19. Micrurus corallinus
  • 20. Micrurus decoratus
  • 21. Micrurus diana
  • 22. Micrurus diastema
  • 23. Micrurus dissoleucus
  • 24. Micrurus distans
  • 25. Micrurus diutius
  • 26. Micrurus dumerilii
  • 27. Micrurus elegans
  • 28. Micrurus ephippifer
  • 29. Micrurus filiformis
  • 30. Micrurus frontalis
  • 31. Micrurus fulvius
  • 32. Micrurus hemprichii
  • 33. Micrurus hippocrepis
  • 34. Micrurus ibiboboca
  • 35. Micrurus isozonus
  • 36. Micrurus langsdorffi
  • 37. Micrurus laticollaris
  • 38. Micrurus latifasciatus
  • 39. Micrurus lemniscatus
  • 40. Micrurus limbatus
  • 41. Micrurus margaritiferus
  • 42. Micrurus medemi
  • 43. Micrurus meridensis
  • 44. Micrurus mertensi
  • 45. Micrurus mipartitus
  • 46. Micrurus mosquitensis
  • 47. Micrurus multifasciatus
  • 48. Micrurus multiscutatus
  • 49. Micrurus narducci
  • 50. Micrurus nattereri
  • 51. Micrurus nebularis
  • 52. Micrurus nigrocinctus
  • 53. Micrurus obscurus
  • 54. Micrurus oligoannellatus
  • 55. Micrurus ornatissimus
  • 56. Micrurus ortonii
  • 57. Micrurus pacaraimae
  • 58. Micrurus pachecogili
  • 59. Micrurus paraensis
  • 60. Micrurus peruvianus
  • 61. Micrurus petersi
  • 62. Micrurus potyguara
  • 63. Micrurus proximans
  • 64. Micrurus psyches
  • 65. Micrurus putumayensis
  • 66. Micrurus pyrrhocryptus
  • 67. Micrurus remotus
  • 68. Micrurus renjifoi
  • 69. Micrurus ruatanus
  • 70. Micrurus sangilensis
  • 71. Micrurus scutiventris
  • 72. Micrurus serranus
  • 73. Micrurus silviae
  • 74. Micrurus spixii
  • 75. Micrurus spurrelli
  • 76. Micrurus steindachneri
  • 77. Micrurus stewarti
  • 78. Micrurus stuarti
  • 79. Micrurus surinamensis
  • 80. Micrurus tamaulipensis
  • 81. Micrurus tener
  • 82. Micrurus tikuna
  • 83. Micrurus tschudii

 

Slowinski (1995) integrates the genus Leptomicrurus (Slender coral snakes: L. collaris, L. narducci, L. renjifoi and L. scutiventris) into the genus Micrurus (new species: Micrurus collaris, Micrurus narducci, Micrurus renjifoi and Micrurus scutiventris) -> see Leptomicrurus spp.

 

M. hemprichii is splitt into three species: M. hemprichii, M. boicora and M. ortonii (Bernarde et al. 2018).

 

M. nigrocinctus mosquitensis is declared as new species: M. mosquitensis

 

M. pyrrhocryptus tricolor is seen as a separate species by Da Silva and Sites (1999): M. tricolor

 

Taxonomy

Serpentes; Elapidae; Elapinae

Common names

 

Coral snakes, Cobra corals, Corals, Korallenottern

  • 1. White-ringed coral snake
  • 2. Allen's coral snake
  • 3. Uruguayan coral snake
  • 4. Regal coral snake
  • 5. Annellated coral snake
  • 6. Black-headed coral snake
  • 7. Mesopotamian coral snake
  • 8. Blotched coral snake
  • 9. Ecuadorian coral snake
  • 10. Bogert's coral snake
  • 12. Brazilian coral snake
  • 13. Brown's coral snake
  • 15. Catamayo coral snake
  • 16. Trinidad coral snake
  • 17. Clark's coral snake
  • 18. Guyana blackback coral snake
  • 19. Painted coral snake
  • 20. Decorated coral snake
  • 21. Diana's coral snake
  • 22. Variable coral snake
  • 23. Pygmy coral snake
  • 24. West Mexican coral snake
  • 25. Trinidad coral snake, Coral Acintada Trinitaria
  • 26. Dumeril's coral snake
  • 27. Elegant coral snake
  • 28. Oaxacan coral snake
  • 29. Slender coral snake
  • 30. Cerrado coral snake
  • 31. Harlequin coral snake, Harlekin-Korallenotter
  • 32. Hemprich's coral snake
  • 33. Mayan coral snake
  • 34. Ibiboboca, Caatinga coral snake
  • 35. Venezuelan coral snake
  • 36. Langsdorff's coral snake
  • 37. Balsan coral snake
  • 38. Long-ringed coral snake
  • 39. Ibiboboca, South American coral snake
  • 40. Tuxtlan coral snake
  • 41. Speckled coral snake
  • 42. Medem's coral snake
  • 43. Merida pygmy coral snake
  • 44. Mertens' coral snake
  • 45. Red-tailed coral snake
  • 47. Many-banded coral snake
  • 48. Cauca coral snake
  • 49. Andean blackback coral snake
  • 50. Natterer's coral snake
  • 51. Ixtlan coral snake
  • 52. Central American coral snake
  • 53. Bolivian coral snake
  • 54. Tambo coral snake
  • 55. Ornate coral snake
  • 58. Zapotitlan coral snake
  • 59. Para coral snake
  • 60. Peruvian coral snake
  • 61. Peter's coral snake
  • 63. Nayarit coral snake
  • 64. Daudin's coral snake
  • 65. Putumayo coral snake
  • 66. Argentinian coral snake
  • 67. Neblina coral snake
  • 69. Roatan coral snake
  • 70. Santander coral snake
  • 71. Pigmy black backed coral snake
  • 72. Bolivian coral snake
  • 74. Amazonian coral snake
  • 75. Colombian coral snake
  • 76. Steindachner's coral snake
  • 77. Panamanian coral snake
  • 78. Stuart's coral snake
  • 79. Aquatic coral snake
  • 81. Texas coral snake
  • 83. Desert coral snake

 

 


  Fig. 4.56 Micrurus fulvius.

 

Distribution

Southern USA, Mexico, Central America and South America. See link "Distribution" at the top of the page for detailed information.

 

  Map 27 Micrurus spp., Leptomicrurus spp. and Microruides euryxanthus.

 

Biology

Coral snakes are the only elapids found on the American continents. While some species have uniform colouring or simple banding, most coral snakes possess a characteristic warning colouring consisting of black, red and yellow cross bands. A number of harmless or only weakly venomous American colubrids have deceptively similar colour patterns (Lampropeltis sp., Pliocercus sp., Chionactis sp. and Chilomeniscus sp.). In the USA, coral snakes differ from harmless colubrids with similar colouring; in coral snakes the red and yellow (or beige, or white) rings are adjacent (see Fig. 4.56 above), whereas in colubrids the red and black rings are adjacent.

Slender body with a small head hardly distinct from the body. Length usually under 1 m, although some can be up to 1.5 m or longer (M. spixii, M. ancoralis, M. isozonus, M. lemniscatus). The venom fangs are small and tapering, such that in some circumstances they will not even puncture human skin during a bite.

Coral snakes are ground-dwelling, and mostly nocturnal, although some are also regularly seen in the daytime. The vast majority of species live in mesic to dry forests, from sea level up to altitudes of over 2,000 m in some cases; M. fulvius, M. frontalis and Micruroides euryxanthus tend to live in stony and sandy arid areas. Some species (in particular M. mipartitus and M. spixii) are regularly found close to human settlements (often close to coffee plantations). Most species feed on smaller snakes.

When threatened, the end of the tail is raised in the air and moved back and forth, while the head is usually kept as inconspicuous as possible or even hidden under the coils of the body. They do not bite readily.  

Risk

Although coral snakes possess potent neurotoxic venoms, envenoming occurs only rarely, due to their non-aggressive behaviour, their seclusive way of life and their small venom fangs. In the USA they are responsible for fewer than 2% of all snakebites (Van Mierop 1976).

In Latin America as well, the epidemiological significance of coral snakes is becoming smaller and smaller (Jutzy et al. 1953, Ambrose 1956, Sass 1979, Kerrigan 1991). The incidence of coral snake bites in Brazil is estimated to comprise 0.7% of all snakebites, with mortality of 0.7% (Bucaretchi 1990).

Literature (biological)

Bernarde et al. 2018, Campbell and Lamar 1989, 2004, Chippaux 1986, Da Silva and Sites 1999, Di-Bernardo et al. 2007, Lancini 1986, Lavin-Murcio and Dixon 2004, Morata de Carvalho 2002, O'Shea 2005, Pérez-Santos and Moreno 1988, Renjifo and Lundberg 2003, Roze 1974, 1982, Russell 1983, Slovinski 1995, Villa 1984, Wallach et al. 2014

The Reptile Database