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Citation: Midtgaard, Rune. RepFocus - A Survey of the Reptiles of the World. (www.repfocus.dk).
Latest update: March 2nd, 2024.

Taxonomy of the family Colubridae
Bibliography of the genus Pliocercus
Biodiversity of the family Colubridae


Big-scaled False Coral Snakes


Storskællede Koralsnoge

1860 Pliocercus Cope (type species: Pliocercus elapoides Cope 1860)
1860 Elapochrus Peters (type species: Elapochrous deppei Peters 1860; syn. Smith & Chiszar 2001)
1863 Cosmiosophis Jan (type species: Liophis tricinctus Jan 1863; syn. Smith & Chiszar 2001)
Contents: 5 species, of which 2 (40.0%) are endemic.
Endemism: 0% 100%
Remarks: The taxonomy of Pliocercus has been a matter of controversy. Sometimes regarded as a synonym of Urotheca (e.g., Savage & Crother 1989; Lee 1996; Bolaños, Savage & Gerardo 2010), but most authors now regard Pliocercus as a valid genus. Revalidated by Myers & Cadle (1994), supported by Smith, Wallach & Chiszar (1995). Some authors recognize only two species (elapoides, euryzonus), whereas others have accepted as many as seven. Pending a comprehensive review of the genus, five species are recognized herein, following Smith & Chiszar (2001b, 2001c, 2001d, 2001e, 2001f, 2001g). The exact publication dates of Pliocercus Cope 1860 and Elapochrus Peters 1860 were discussed by Williams & Wallach (1989), who believed that the latter preceeded the former, in which case suppression of Elapochrus is needed to conserve Pliocercus. Records of this genus (of euryzonus) from Brazil (e.g., Amaral 1929; Peters & Orejas-Miranda 1970) are regarded as erroneous (Smith & Chiszar 2001b).
Distribution: E. Mexico, Central America, NW. South America.
Reported from: Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico (Campeche, Chiapas, Hidalgo, Oaxaca, Puebla, Quintana Roo, San Luis Potosi, Tabasco, Tamaulipas, Veracruz, Yucatan), Nicaragua, Panama.

Pliocercus andrewsi

Yucatan False Coral Snake, (Andrews' False Coral Snake)



1942 Pliocercus andrewsi Smith
Pliocercus bicolor andrewsi Smith & Chiszar 1996

Remarks: Status uncertain. Sometimes regarded as a synonym of elapoides (e.g., Green & McDiarmid 1981; Savage & Crother 1989; Wilson & Johnson 2010; Wilson, Mata-Silva & Johnson 2013; Wallach, Williams & Boundy 2014; González-Sánchez, Johnson, García-Padilla, Mata-Silva, DeSantis & Wilson 2017 [by implication]).
Distribution: Mexico (Quintana Roo, Yucatan).

Pliocercus bicolor

Northern False Coral Snake

Nördliche Halloweennatter

Nordlig Koralsnog

1941 Pliocercus bicolor Smith
Pliocercus euryzonus bicolor Stuart 1948
Pliocercus aequalis bicolor Pérez-Higareda & Smith 1986
1943 Pliocercus elapoides celatus Smith (Smith & Chiszar 2001d)
1960 Pliocercus elapoides hobartsmithi Liner (Smith & Chiszar 2001d)
Pliocercus bicolor hobartsmithi Smith & Chiszar 1996

Other common names:
bicolor: Tamaulipan False Coral Snake
hobartsmithi: Plateau False Coral Snake
Remarks: Status uncertain. Revalidated by Pérez-Higareda & Smith (1986) and Smith & Chiszar (1996, 2001d), but often regarded as a synonym of elapoides (e.g., Savage & Crother 1989; Wilson & Johnson 2010; Wilson, Mata-Silva & Johnson 2013; Wallach, Williams & Boundy 2014; Woolrich-Piña, García-Padilla, DeSantis, Johnson, Mata-Silva & Wilson 2017 [by implication]). Not mentioned for San Luis Potosi by Lemos-Espinal, Smith & Woolrich-Piña (2018). Not listed for Veracruz by Torres-Hernandez, Ramirez-Bautista, Cruz-Elizalde, Hernandez-Salinas, Berriozabal-Islas, DeSantis, Johnson, Rocha, Garcia-Padilla, Mata-Silva, Fucsko & Wilson (2021).
Distribution: Mexico (Hidalgo, Puebla, San Luis Potosi, Tamaulipas, Veracruz).

Pliocercus dimidiatus

Central American False Coral Snake

Zentralamerikanische Halloweennatter

Centralamerikansk Koralsnog

1865 Pliocercus dimidiatus Cope
Elapochrus dimidiatus Günther 1893
Urotheca dimidiata Gaige, Hartweg & Stuart 1937
Pliocercus euryzonus dimidiatus Dunn & Bailey 1939
Pliocercus aequalis dimidiatus Pérez-Higareda & Smith 1986
1951 Pliocercus annellatus Taylor (Smith & Chiszar 2001e)
1954 Pliocercus arubricus Taylor (Smith & Chiszar 2001e)

Remarks: Status uncertain. Sometimes regarded as a synonym of euryzonus (e.g., Savage & Crother 1989; Sasa, Chaves & Porras 2010; Sunyer & Köhler 2010; Townsend & Wilson 2010b; Wallach, Williams & Boundy 2014). A record from Panama (Peters & Orejas-Miranda 1970) is regarded as erroneous, following Smith & Chiszar (2001e) who consider Costa Rica as the southern range limit of the species.
Distribution: Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua.

Pliocercus elapoides

Variegated False Coral Snake, Long-tailed False Coral Snake


Langhalet Koralsnog

1860 Pliocercus elapoides Cope
Urotheca elapoides Boulenger 1894
1860 Elapochrus deppei Peters (Smith & Chiszar 2001f)
Pliocercus deppei Günther 1862
1861 Pleiocercus aequalis Salvin (Smith & Chiszar 2001f)
Pliocercus aequalis Cope 1862
Elapochrus aequalis Müller 1878
Liophis elapoides aequalis Bocourt 1886
Urotheca elapoides aequalis Werner 1896
Urotheca aequalis Gadow 1911
Pliocercus euryzonus aequalis Stuart 1948
Pliocercus elapoides aequalis Smith & Chiszar 1996
1863 Liophis tricinctus Jan (Smith & Chiszar 2001f)
1878 Pliocercus salvinii Müller (Smith & Chiszar 2001f)
Pliocercus elapoides salvinii Stuart 1948
1881 Pliocercus sargii Fischer (Smith & Chiszar 2001f)
1886 Liophis elapoides diastema Bocourt (Smith & Chiszar 2001f)
Pliocercus elapoides diastemus Smith 1941
1941 Pliocercus elapoides laticollaris Smith (Smith & Chiszar 2001f)
Pliocercus laticollaris Liner 1960
1941 Pliocercus elapoides semicinctus Schmidt (Smith & Chiszar 2001f)
1942 Pliocercus elapoides schmidti Smith (Smith & Chiszar 2001f)
1952 Pliocercus elapoides salvadorensis Mertens (Smith & Chiszar 2001f)
1965 Pliocercus elapoides occidentalis Smith & Landy (Smith & Chiszar 2001f)
1957 Pliocercus andrewsi pacificus Smith & Chrapliwy (Smith & Chiszar 2001f)
1996 Pliocercus psychoides Smith & Chiszar (Smith & Chiszar 2001f)
1996 Pliocercus wilmarai Smith, Perez-Higareda & Chiszar (Smith & Chiszar 2001f)
Pliocercus elapoides wilmarai Smith & Chiszar 2000

Other common names:
aequalis: Salvin's False Coral Snake
diastema: Bocourt's False Coral Snake
elapoides: Deppe's False Coral Snake
occidentalis: MacDougall's False Coral Snake
wilmarai: Mara's False Coral Snake
Remarks: Some authors regard andrewsi as a synonym of elapoides. Smith & Chiszar (2001) tentatively corrected the type locality of psychoides to western central Guatemala and synonymized it with P. elapoides aequalis. The nominal species had previously been thought to originate from Brazil or Venezuela.
Distribution: Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico (Campeche, Chiapas, Oaxaca, Puebla, Quintana Roo, San Luis Potosi, Tabasco, Veracruz, Yucatan).

Pliocercus euryzonus

Southern False Coral Snake, Black Halloween Snake, Halloween Snake, (Cope's False Coral Snake)

Südliche Halloweennatter

Sydlig Koralsnog

1862 Pliocercus euryzonus Cope
Elapochrus euryzona Günther 1893
Urotheca euryzona Boulenger 1894
Urotheca elapoides euryzona Amaral 1929
Pliocercus aequalis euryzonus Pérez-Higareda & Smith 1986
1863 Liophis splendens Jan (Smith & Chiszar 2001g)
1996 Pliocercus euryzonus burghardti Smith & Chiszar

Other common names:
burghardti: Panamanian False Coral Snake, (Burghardt's False Coral Snake)
euryzonus: Andean False Coral Snake
Remarks: Some authors regard dimidiatus as a synonym of euryzonus. Records from Costa Rica, Honduras and Nicaragua refer to dimidiatus. Records from Brazil (e.g., Amaral 1929; Peters & Orejas-Miranda 1970) are regarded as erroneous (Smith & Chiszar 2001b; Stafford & Castro 2010), although perpetuated in some works (e.g., Costa & Bernils 2015).
Distribution: Colombia, Ecuador, Panama.

Pliocercus euryzonus
© Henrik Bringsøe