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Ornate Coral Snake

Micrurus ornatissimus


There is no question as to how this snake got its name “ornatissimus.” The pattern and colors are “ornate” to say the least. It is a smallish coral snake of about 40-60 cm, (15-23 in.) although I have measured one 77 cm. (30 in.) long. It has alternating black and red rings of approximately the same width separated by a row of white dots. Many times the red rings will appear quite dark, showing hints of melanism.


This specimen was found in a garden area of the Amazon rainforest in SE Ecuador (700 masl).


It is not uncommon for coral snakes to twitch violently, throwing themselves from side to side and showing a curled tail and the bright colors of the underside when upset, which this one clearly was 😊 (photo #4).

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Tukup 2 years ago

Hi Mark. Seems I missed this when you posted it. I did catch it on Facebook. Thanks much for the honor of a nomination. Perhaps someday . . . . :-)

Tukup 2 years ago

Thanks Ingrid. Good subjects make for good pics.

Ingrid3 2 years ago

Fabulous snake! nice series of pics!

Tukup 2 years ago

Thanks Maria. Normally they just flash the tip, but sometimes they get carried away with their thrashing around. I guess it was pretty upset 😃

Maria dB
Maria dB 2 years ago

Love the last photo showing both sides!

Leuba Ridgway
Leuba Ridgway 2 years ago

I was thinking of bracelets and necklaces. Not surprised the natives would do that.

Tukup 2 years ago

Thanks Leuba. I think it's a first on PN although not sure. When I search for Micrurus it only finds 3 of the 6 I've posted :-) The natives use the same name for this as they do the necklaces and bracelets made from tiny colored beads. A real beauty.

Leuba Ridgway
Leuba Ridgway 2 years ago

A real beauty ! I can think of a number of reasons why it would turn it flatten the tail end and turn it over - good trick.

Tukup 2 years ago

Thanks Sukanya. They flash it in an attempt to warm off or scars off enemies. It is pretty.

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 2 years ago

Your spotting has been nominated for the Spotting of the Week. The winner will be chosen by the Project Noah Rangers based on a combination of factors including: uniqueness of the shot, status of the organism (for example, rare or endangered), quality of the information provided in the habitat and description sections. There is a subjective element, of course; the spotting with the highest number of Ranger votes is chosen. Congratulations on being nominated!

SukanyaDatta 2 years ago

Wonderful! The ventral surface is pretty beautiful too.

Tukup 2 years ago

Yes. Many times unless they move I really have a hard time seeing them. Thanks Sergio.

Sergio Monteiro
Sergio Monteiro 2 years ago

The most interesting thing about these beauties is that they are so conspicuous in plain sight, but almost disappear among the fallen leaves. Great spotting Tukup.

Spotted by

Morona-Santiago, Ecuador

Spotted on Mar 2, 2014
Submitted on Feb 3, 2021

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