Friday, August 26, 2016

Trinidad Coral Snake, Micrurus circinalis (Family Elapidae)

Size: 540 mm TL maximum 800 mm TL. Identification: Head small, about same width as neck; rostral visible from above; nasal divided; one preocular; two postoculars; seven upper labials; seven lower labials; males 174-193 ventrals; females have 194–209 ventrals; cloacal plate divided; males 40–50 subcaudals females with 30–35 subcaudals; smooth dorsal scales in 15 rows. Black rings 21–31; black rings edged with yellow and separated by long red interspaces. Female's tail with 5–8 black rings, male's tail with 8–12 black rings. Tail coloration is predominately black with some narrow white bands separating the black rings. All red and white scales are tipped with black. Distinguished from the other coral snake Micrurus lemniscatus diutius because of the very short white rings, usually less than one mid-dorsal scale in length. The absence of a loreal will readily distinguish it from all the banded colubroid snakes on Trinidad except Hydrops, which has black and red-purple bands of about equal widths. Distribution:Restricted to Trinidad and its satellite islands of Gaspar Grande and Monos; on adjacent mainland Venezuela. Habitat: Forest and savanna; but present in urban habitats. Biology: Nocturnal. Diet includes small fossorial snakes and lizards. Reproduction: Mating reported from January to May, clutches of 2–6 eggs laid from July to September.

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