Micrurus ruatanus


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Micrurus ruatanus
Species Authority: (Günther, 1895)
Common Name(s):
English Roatan Coral Snake
Spanish Coral De La Isle De Roatán, Coral Roatanense
Elaps fulvius Boulenger, 1896
Elaps ruatanus Günther, 1895
Micrurus nigrocinctus subspecies ruatanus (Günther, 1895)
Taxonomic Notes: Micrurus pyrrhocryptus has sometimes been considered a subspecies of M. nigrocinctus (Roze 1983). However, Roze (1996) confirmed that M. pyrrhocryptus was a separate species.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered B1ab(iii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2012-05-08
Assessor(s): Townsend, J.H., McCranie, J.R. & Stafford, P.
Reviewer(s): Bowles, P.
Contributor(s): De Silva, R., Milligan, H.T., Wearn, O.R., Wren, S., Zamin, T., Sears, J., Wilson, P., Lewis, S., Lintott, P. & Powney, G.
Micrurus ruatanus has been assessed as Critically Endangered because its extent of occurrence is less than 100 km², all individuals are in a single location, and there is a continuing decline in the extent and quality of its habitat due to the tourism trade. Further research into the population of M. ruatanus is urgently required.
2010 Critically Endangered

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is endemic to the western portion of Isla Roatán in Honduras, where it has an elevation range from sea level to 20 m asl (McCranie et al. 2005, McCranie 2011). It has an estimated extent of occurrence of 90 km2.
Honduras (Honduran Caribbean Is.)
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: This is a rare species that is presumed to be declining due to expanding tourist infrastructure development.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This snake has a limited distribution in Caribbean hardwood forest. It is a semifossorial species (McCranie et al. 2005, McCranie 2011). The species probably does not persist in developed areas.
Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: As far as is known, this species is not captured for the pet trade, or otherwise utilized.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The natural habitat of Roatan Island has been severely degraded in the past due to urban and agricultural expansion. The recent increase in tourist activity on the island has contributed to further habitat loss, and is ongoing in the area of the island where this snake is found. Because it is a venomous species, this snake is probably persecuted by inhabitants of the island.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no known species-specific conservation measures in place for this species. Conservation needs are a protected area to buffer against encroachment, and surveys are needed to determine a practical conservation area where this species is still found. This need is urgent because of the rate at which habitat is currently being destroyed on Isla Roatan.

Citation: Townsend, J.H., McCranie, J.R. & Stafford, P. 2013. Micrurus ruatanus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <>. Downloaded on 01 April 2015.
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