New Coral snake species discovered on Fazenda Sao Nicolau

Micrurus boicora (Crédits: Bernarde, Turci, Abegg et Franco)

This unexpected discovery was made thanks to a reptile and amphibian inventory carried out in 2011. The specimen found in proximity to parcel 1 in the programme for biodiversity research (PPBio), located in the indigenous forest of São Nicolau did not correspond to any other known species.

Micrurus boicora, a new species to science, has a distinctive set of five body triads separated by yellow or brown body bands, and a small number of ventral scales. These features separate it from other known species in the region, such as Micrurus hemprichii and Micrurus ortoni.

The specimen found in 2011 was sent to Butantan Institute specialists and to the Federal University of

Mato Grosso (UFMT). More than two years of analytical work were needed in order to classify Micrurus boicora as a new species to science. The name refers to the word “Boicorá” of Tupi-Guarani origin; a term commonly used by indigenous populations for coral snakes.   The snake is the twentieth new species described on the Fazenda site, but it is probably not the last… To be continued!

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