Middle American indigo snake

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Middle American indigo snake
Drymarchon melanurus Tropicario.JPG
Drymarchon melanurus
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Colubridae
Genus: Drymarchon
D. melanurus
Binomial name
Drymarchon melanurus

D. m. erebennus (Cope, 1860)
D. m. melanurus A.M.C. Duméril, Bibron & A.H.A. Duméril, 1854[2]

  • Spilotes melanurus A.M.C. Duméril, Bibron & A.H.A. Duméril, 1854
  • Spilotes corais melanurus Cope, 1893
  • Drymarchon corais melanurus
    Amaral, 1929
  • Drymarchon melanurus
    – Wüster et al., 2001

The Middle American indigo snake (Drymarchon melanurus), also known as the blacktail cribo, is a large, nonvenomous, colubrid snake species found in the southwestern United States, Mexico, Central America, and northern South America. In addition to the nominotypical subspecies, it has one recognized subspecies, D. m. erebennus commonly known as the Texas indigo snake.[3]


This is a large species that can grow to lengths from 1.80 m (6 ft) to over 2.40 m (8 ft). This species has predominantly olive-brown glossy scales evolving to black at the tail. The underside is a lighter olive-yellow, olive-tan color. D. melanurus has distinctive dark markings round the eyes, a vertical dark slash just behind the jaw. and a heavy diagonal dark slash on both sides of the neck.[4] The subspecies D. m. erebennus is predominantly solid black, though there can be lighter shaded variations.

Range and habitat[edit]

Its range extends from southern Texas southwards through the Gulf Coast of Mexico, the Yucatan peninsula, Guatemala and Belize. On the Pacific coast its range extends from Sinaloa in Mexico, southward to Guatemala, as far as Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador.[1][4] Its elevational distribution goes from near sea level up to around 1,900 m asl (6,230 feet).[1] The subspecies D. m. erebennus is found in southern Texas and southwards into Mexico as far as Veracruz.


There are two recognized subspecies, including the nominate subspecies:[3]

  • D. m. erebennus (Cope, 1860)
  • D. m. melanurus (Dumeril, Bibron & Dumeril, 1854)


  1. ^ a b c Lee, J.; Calderón Mandujano, R.; Lopez-Luna, M.A.; Vasquez Díaz, J. & Quintero Díaz, G.E. (2007). "Drymarchon melanurus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.4. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 8 February 2011.
  2. ^ The Reptile Database. www.reptile-database.org.
  3. ^ a b "Drymarchon melanurus". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 2011-02-06.
  4. ^ a b Wüster, Wolfgang; José Luís Yrausquin; Abraham Mijares-Urrutia (2001). "A new species of indigo snake from north-western Venezuela (Serpentes: Colubridae: Drymarchon)" (PDF). Herpetological Journal. 11: 157–165. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-02-05.