It was obviously a coral snake, from its general appearance and twitchy behavior, but which species of coral snake was not so obvious. It didn't resemble anything in the Bartletts' Amazon herps field guide, nor anything in the various photo-grid PDFs of local herps that we had available to us. Our trip leader Matt Cage had never seen this snake personally, but thought that it looked like the snake he remembered from the cover of Campbell & Lamar's Venomous Reptiles of the Western Hemisphere. And indeed that's the species that it turned out to be. It's a particularly interesting coral snake because there are populations with a wide variety of different color patterns. Some of them are more like the traditional tricolored coral snakes, some look like this one, some are mostly black with thin white bands, etc. Matt considered this snake the best find of the trip.
Here is a complete list of the herps I saw in the wild on my 2014 MT Amazon Expeditions trip.
- Micrurus langsdorffi account on The Reptile Database
- Bartlett, R.D., and Bartlett, P. 2003. Reptiles and Amphibians of the Amazon: An Ecotourist's Guide
- Campbell, J. A., Lamar, W. W. 2004. The Venomous Reptiles of the Western Hemisphere
- Dixon, J. R. and Soini, P. 1986. The Reptiles of the Upper Amazon Basin, Iquitos Region, Peru