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Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless otherwise credited.
Copyright ゥ Ecology Asia 2020

 
 
     
   
   

 

   
   
 
MacClelland's Coral Snake
   
   

Family : ELAPIDAE
Species : Sinomicrurus macclellandi
Maximum Size : 84 cm

MacClelland's Coral Snake inhabits forested lowlands, hills and montane habitats up to at least 2000 metres elevation. It is nocturnal in habits, and is exclusively terrestrial or subfossorial, searching beneath leaf litter or loose soil for its prey which comprises other snakes and lizards.

As befitting a fossorial lifestyle, its body is moderately slender, cylindrical, and the head is short, blunt and barely larger than the body.

Its body is reddish brown above, with up to 40 narrow, pale-edged, black bars across the body and tail. In some populations the bars are reduced to a series of transverse spots, and sometimes there may be narrow, black stripe along the vertebral line.

The head is patterned with a series of bars typically comprising a narrow black bar extending across the eyes (though this may be absent in some populations), a thick white or cream bar extending to the start of the neck, behind which there is another black bar extending onto the nape.

Four subspecies are recognised. The subspecies which occurs in Southeast Asia (i.e. northern Burma, northern Thailand  and Vietnam) is S. m. macclellandi. Beyond Southeast Asia the same subspecies also occurs in parts of Nepal, northern India, Bangladesh and southern China. Other subspecies occur in montane parts of the Himalayas, and in Taiwan and the Ryukyu Islands of Japan.


Figs 1 and  2 : Specimen from Taiwan  (subspecies S. m. swinhoei).  Photos thanks to Noel Thomas.


References : H12
 

Fig 1
  
ゥ  Noel Thomas
Fig 2
  
ゥ  Noel Thomas