Thai National Parks

Due to COVID-19 outbreak, all national parks, wildlife sactuaries and other protected forest areas in Thailand are closed from 25th March until further notice. Some popular tourist destinations like Similan Islands, Surin Islands are within national parks, they too are closed. We will announce from here when the parks reopen.

Reptiles of Thailand

Species of Thailand

Blue Malaysian coral snake

Thai: งูพริกท้องแดง, ngu phrik thong daeng

Binomial name: Calliophis bivirgatus, Heinrich 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.

This article uses material from Wikipedia released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike Licence 3.0. Eventual photos shown in this page may or may not be from Wikipedia, please see the license details for photos in photo by-lines.

Scientific classification

Calliophis bivirgatus

Common names

  • German: Blaue Bauchdrüsenotter
  • English:
    • 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)

Conservation status

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Distribution map of Blue Malaysian coral snake, Calliophis bivirgatus in Thailand
  • Hala-Bala Wildlife Sanctuary
  • 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, Parinya Pawangkhanant, Ian Dugdale and many others for their contribution for range data.

It is free to use this map on various media. See the creative common license terms by clicking "CC" icon below the map. But remember, again; the map may not be accurate or complete.

Contribute or get help with ID

Please help us improving our species range maps. To add a new location to the range map we need a clear image of the specimen you have encountered. No problem if you do not know the species, we will do our best to identify it for you.

For the location, please provide the district name or the national park/ wildlife sanctuary name.

Please post your images to our Thai Biodiversity Survey & Species ID group on Facebook.