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Volume 18, Number 2
February 26, 2011

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nature

Also in this section:
Consider these things to have an honest and intelligent debate on hydroelectric dams
Coral snakes: the old adage can kill you in Panama
Mapping the Arctic Ocean
Fish ID guide free on iTunes
An upcoming supernova
Childhood mortality
This dry season: Angling in Panama
Fossil mammals from up and down Chile
Transforming the tuna industry



This one's a coral snake, and you do not want it to bite you

"Red next to yellow kills a fellow, red next to black my friend Jack..."

An old jingle that can get you killed


The old method of distinguishing the dangerously venomous coral snakes from their non-venomous imitators works well in the southeastern United States. Sometimes, but not all of the time, it applies in Panama as well. Above we see red next to yellow, and indeed it's a coral snake, a small reptile whose neurotoxic venom can cause paralysis, respiratory failure and death.

In the video immediately below, we see red next to black in one of Panama's non-venomous false coral snakes. Another useful way to distinguish  a tricolor coral snake from a tricolor false coral is tthat the false corals have larger eyes. Of course, having one of each in front of you to compare might not be so convenient on your walk through the jungle.

But in the photo at the bottom, there is no yellow, just red next to black. It's Micrurus Stewarti, a coral snake only found in parts of Panama whose bite is quite deadly.

Panama has 11 species of coral snakes (not counting the nonpoisonous mimics) and although they are small and shy, their bites are dangerous.


Red next to black, on a false coral snake


Red next to black, and this is the deadly Micrurus Stewarti coral snake.
STRI photo by Marcos Guerra







    

Also in this section:
Consider these things to have an honest and intelligent debate on hydroelectric dams
Coral snakes: the old adage can kill you in Panama
Mapping the Arctic Ocean
Fish ID guide free on iTunes
An upcoming supernova
Childhood mortality
This dry season: Angling in Panama
Fossil mammals from up and down Chile
Transforming the tuna industry


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© 2011 by Eric Jackson
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