Morphologically it is known for multiple forms of patterns and colors, usually can be identified by checking broken or unbroken stripes along the body which is uniformly slender and thin. In scalation it can be differentiated from its closest species Beddome's Coral (C. beddomei) by checking no contact of supralabial with prefrontal which exists in later.
Average length- 60cm.
Maximum length- 114cm.
This is the largest Calliophis (Coral Snake) of India.
Body much longer than thickness, uniformly slender or cylindrical and covered with subequal smooth scales. There are three major forms found in South India. First (pentalineatus) have three or five prominent transverse stripes of black color on brick red, light red, reddish brown or yellow dorsal body which reduces to three on tail. In second form stripes are hardly visible and gives feel of uniformly bluish-black dorsal body. First row of dorsal body similar to belly color in this form. In third variety (khandallensis) upper side bluish-black above with broken and indistinct stripes margined with white. The top stripe usually remain most connect and other one or two on each side may remain broken in series of patch form.
Belly uniform warm red or reddish-orange with black or brown edge sometimes.
Head moderate, blunt on snout and scarcely broader than neck. Ground colour black with more or less indistinct yellowish-brown patches at random places arranged in symmetrical manner. Nape bears a thick black bar which is origin of dorsal stripes. A more or less visible V shaped collar present between bar and head which is disconnected on top. Upper lip scales yellow or pinkish, scales under eyes and angle of mouth black. Eyes small and entirely black.
Short and thick tails ends with rounded tip. Dorsal stripes (if any) continue here in visible form. Tail in the first and third form reduced to only three stripes. Underside of it have white color with reddish patches in comb manner.