Species of Thailand
Blue Malaysian coral snake
Thai: งูพริกท้องแดง, ngu phrik thong daeng
Binomial name: Calliophis bivirgatus, Friedrich Boie, 1827
Calliophis bivirgata, commonly called the blue Malayan coral snake is a species of venomous elapid snake found in South East Asia.
Geographic range and distribution
This terrestrial snake is restricted to South East Asia and occurs between 100-1100m above sea level.
There are currently three subspecies known. The first sub species C. b. bivirgatus which is found in Java-western Indonesia. The second sub species C. b. flaviceps is found across Indonesia (Sumatra, Borneo, Bangka Is., Lingga Archipelago, Nias, Mentawai Archipelago, Riau Archipelago; Cambodia; West Malaysia (Malaya); Singapore and Thailand. The third sub species C. b. tetrataenia is found in Borneo, .
It is a medium-sized coral snake with a slender body which was assigned to the new world coral snake genus Maticora until phylogenetic studies revealed this species to be nested within the tropical coral snake species clade Calliophis and sister species to Calliophis intestinalis.
Adult snakes are usually about 140 cm sigfig=1 long. Dorsal coloration is indigo or deep blue with light blue or white stripes along each side of the body (C. b. flaviceps). It has a blunt snout and small eyes. The head, venter, and tail are usually bright red. The dorsal part of the tail has a black stripe running till the tip, .
The snake, especially when juvenile, is often confused with the pink-headed reed snake (Calamaria schlegeli) as they share similar habitat and appearance. But the latter is much smaller, maximum 50 cm, than fully grown Calliophis bivirgatus. It may be dangerous to confuse these two species as the reed snake is a nonvenomous snake, whereas the blue Malaysian coral snake has a potentially lethal venom, .
Pictures of Blue Malayan Coral Snake (above) and Pink Headed Reed Snake (below) for comparison.
This uncommon snake is considered semi-fossorial and is found in the leaf litter of primary and secondary forests.
Behavior and ecology
It primarily feeds on snakes, including its own species. When disturbed, it attempts to flee away. Like many other snakes including the New World coral snakes (genus Micrurus), they appear to use aposematic displays for defense. When threatened, they flip over and expose the brightly colored ventral side defends itself by displaying its brightly colored body. They sometimes coil themselves and keep their tail erect to scare away potential threats such as predators.
The venom is very potent and has caused deaths. Like other Elapidae, its venom is primarily neurotoxic. The bite initially has few or even no symptoms. However, after several minutes, the victim may feel numbness near the wound and lip. Soon, the victim may feel difficulty in breathing. Death is a result of respiratory failure. The venom glands of this species are exceptionally long and extend beyond the jaw for one-third the length of the body.
A chemical analysis of the venom by fractionation with a Sephadex column has identified five different fractions, S1-S5. Fraction S2 contains two phospholipases A2 — PLA2 I and PLA2 II; fraction S3 contains four cytotoxin homologues — maticotoxins A, C, D1 and D2; and fractions S4 and S5 contain a large amount (about 1 mg/specimen) of adenosine with smaller amounts of inosine and guanosine. The amino-terminal amino acid sequences of PLA2, I, PLA2 II and maticotoxin A suggest that Calliophis bivirguatus is closely related to Bungarinae, especially to genera Hemachatus and Naja.
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Videos of Blue Malaysian coral snake
- Calliophis bivirgatus
- German: Blaue Bauchdrüsenotter
- Blue Malaysian coral snake
- Blue long-glanded coral snake
- Thai: งูพริกท้องแดง, ngu phrik thong daeng
Calliophis bivirgata bivirgata, Friedrich Boie, 1827
Range: Indonesia (Java)
Calliophis bivirgata flaviceps, Theodore Edward Cantor, 1839
Range: South Thailand, W Malaysia, Singapore, Burma, Indonesia (fide Merel J. Cox et al.)
Calliophis bivirgata tetrataenia, Pieter Bleeker, 1859
Range: Indonesia (Kalimantan, Borneo); Brunei Darussalam; Malaysia (East Malaysia)
- Calliophis bivirgatus, Van Stanley Bartholomew Wallach et al. (2014)
- Calliophis bivirgata flaviceps, Livigni (2013)
- Calliophis bivirgatus, David J. Gower et al. (2012)
- Maticora bivirgata flaviceps, Gernot Vogel & Freed (2006)
- Maticora bivirgata tetrataenia, Mark Auliya (2006)
- Calliophis bivirgata tetrataenia, Rudolf Malkmus et al. (2002)
- Calliophis bivirgatus, Joseph Bruno Slowinski et al. (2001)
- Calliophis bivirgata (tetrataenia), Joseph Bruno Slowinski et al. (2001)
- Maticora bivirgata flaviceps, Tanya Chan-Ard et al. (1999)
- Maticora bivirgata flaviceps, Merel J. Cox et al. (1998)
- Maticora bivirgata, Ulrich Manthey & Wolfgang Grossmann (1997)
- Maticora bivirgata bivirgata, Kenneth R. G. Welch (1994)
- Maticora bivirgata flaviceps, Kenneth R. G. Welch (1994)
- Maticora bivirgata tetrataenia, Kenneth R. G. Welch (1994)
- Maticora bivirgata bivirgata, Arthur Loveridge (1944)
- Maticora bivirgata flaviceps, René Léon Bourret (1936)
- Maticora bivirgata, Leonhard Hess Stejneger (1922)
- Doliophis bivirgatus var. C, Lange & Nelly de Rooij (1910)
- Doliophis bivirgatus var. C, Schenkel (1901)
- Doliophis bivirgatus var. flaviceps, Oskar Boettger (1898)
- Bioliophis bivirgatus, George Albert Boulenger (1896)
- Doliophis bivirgatus var. C, George Albert Boulenger (1896)
- Doliophis bivirgatus, Stanley Smyth Flower (1896)
- Adeniophis bivirgatus, Oskar Boettger (1887)
- Adeniophis flaviceps, Adolf Bernhard Meyer (1886)
- Calliophis flaviceps, Johann Gustav Fischer (1885)
- Adeniophis (Callophis) bivirgatus, Ferdinand Stoliczka (1873)
- Callophis bivirgatus, Adolf Bernhard Meyer (1869)
- Callophis bivirgatus, Albert Charles Lewis Günther (1864)
- Elaps tetrataenia, Pieter Bleeker (1859)
- Calliophis bivirgata tetrataenia, Pieter Bleeker (1859)
- Doliophis flaviceps, Charles Frédéric Girard (1857)
- Calliophis bivirgata flaviceps, Theodore Edward Cantor (1839)
- Elaps flaviceps, Theodore Edward Cantor (1839)
- Elaps bivirgatus, Friedrich Boie (1827)
- Elaps bi virgatus, Friedrich Boie (1827)
- Calliophis bivirgata bivirgata, Friedrich Boie (1827)
Least Concern (IUCN3.1)
- Kaeng Krachan National Park
- Khao Chong
- Saba Yoi District, Songkhla
- Sadao District, Songkhla
- Thale Ban National Park
- Ton Nga-Chang Wildlife Sanctuary
- Waeng District, Narathiwat
- Yan Ta Khao District, Trang
Range map of Calliophis bivirgatus in Thailand
Important note; our range maps are based on limited data we have collected. The data is not necessarily accurate or complete.
Special thanks to Ton Smits and Parinya Pawangkhanant for their help with many range data.
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