Monday, December 12, 2011

West Mexican Coral Snake-Micurus Distans and Westrn Coral Snake

Micurus Distans Snakes or West Mexican Coral Snake of the genus Micrurus  are secretive and largely fossorial, and are often found under cover objects such as leaves, stones, and logs (Roze 1996. Coral Snakes of the Americas: Biology, Identification, and Venoms. Krieger Publ., Malabar, Florida). To our knowledge, there are no records of arboreality for this species. On 24 September 2001, at 1230 h, while conducting
a survey on the herpetofauna of the Cuixmala-Chamela Biosphere Reserve on the coast of Jalisco, México, we observed a Micurus Distans (790 mm TL) climbing a mature tree at ca. 4.5 m above the ground.

The tree was part of a small patch of remnant dry forest immersed in a matrix of livestock grazing plots in different stages of regeneration. Air temperature was 29.1°C and humidity was 84.6%. Upon discovery the snake climbed down the tree and disappeared under the ground litter (specimen was photographed while climbing down). This observation suggests that this typically ground dwelling species of coral snake may occasionally climb trees, perhaps to hunt prey not readily available on the ground. Two previous publications report the presence of Micurus distans or West Mexican Coral Snake in the area we describe herein but make no reference to arboreal habits.

We thank Javier Alvarado Díaz, Alfredo Estrada Virgen, Miriam Quintero-Mora, and Karla Grissel Jaimez Novas for assistance in field work and the Coordinación de Investigación Científica, UMSNH project 5.5 for financial assistance. We thank E. N. Smith for his editorial help and Antonio Hernández for photographic


Kandy Blaisdell said...

the second photo is a King snake not a Coral snake. Red touches yellow, kills a fellow. Red touches black, friend of Jack.
Red touches yellow, kills a fellow. Red touches black, venom lack.
Red touches yellow, death says hello. Black touches red, keep your head.
Yellow touches red, you be dead. Red touches black, eat Cracker Jack.

bytecom said...

Correction: second snake has same coloration as a King snake, but the snake shown is a Sinaloan Milksnake; a King snake has bands that are more evenly sized.

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