Atheris chlorechis

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Atheris chlorechis
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Viperidae
Genus: Atheris
A. chlorechis
Binomial name
Atheris chlorechis
(Pel, 1851)
  • Vipera chlorechis Pel, 1851
  • Vipera chloroechis Schlegel, 1855
  • Vipera (Echis) chloroechis
    Jan, 1859
  • Tox[icoa]. chloroëchis Cope, 1860
  • Vipera chloroechis — Cope, 1862
  • E[chis]. chlorechis — Jan, 1863
  • Atheris polylepis W. Peters, 1864
  • Atheris chloroëchis
    — W. Peters, 1864
  • Atheris proximus Rochebrune, 1885
  • Atheris chlorechis Boulenger, 1896
  • Atheris chloraechis Cansdale, 1961
  • Atheris chlorechis Broadley, 1996[2]
Common names: western bush viper,[3] West African leaf viper,[4] more.

Atheris chlorechis is a viper species found only in the forests of West Africa.[1][3][5] No subspecies are currently recognized. It is the type species of its genus.[5][6] It is venomous.[5]


Adults average 50 cm (20 inches) in total length (body + tail), with a maximum total length of 70 cm (28 in). The tail is relatively long. The body is relatively slender, with 25-36 midbody rows of dorsal scales. These are heavily keeled, with the keels ending in a swelling at the end of each scale.[3]

Adults have a uniform light green ground color, overlaid with a series of faint yellow, roughly paired spots running dorsally along the length of the body and about 2.5 cm (about 1 in) apart. The belly is pale green in color.[3] Newborns are tan-brown in color, but this changes to a yellow-green hue with irregular dark spots within 24 hours.[7] This second color phase has been described as the reverse of that of the adults and is only seen in individuals less than 25 cm (9.8 in) in total length.[3][7]

Common names[edit]

Western bush viper,[3] West African leaf viper,[4] West African tree viper.[8]

Geographic range[edit]

Atheris chlorechis is found in West Africa from Sierra Leone through Guinea, Liberia, Ivory Coast, and Ghana to southern Togo. Records from Nigeria, Cameroon, and Gabon are considered erroneous.[1]

The type locality is listed as "Boutre, Ghana".[2][5]


Found in forests, in dense foliage about 1–2 m (about 3–6 ft) above the ground.[3]


Said to feed on rodents, lizards and tree frogs.[3]


Gives birth to 6–9 young in March to April. Newborns are 131–151 mm (about 5–6 inches) in total length.[7]


  1. ^ a b c Penner, J.; Luiselli, L.; Rödel, M.-O.; Segniagbeto, G.; Joger, U.; LeBreton, M.; Chippaux, J.-P.; Chirio, L. (2021). "Atheris chlorechis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2021: e.T178495A126509345. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2021-3.RLTS.T178495A126509345.en. Retrieved 23 November 2022.
  2. ^ a b McDiarmid RW, Campbell JA, Touré T. 1999. Snake Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference, Volume 1. Washington, District of Columbia: Herpetologists' League. 511 pp. ISBN 1-893777-00-6 (series). ISBN 1-893777-01-4 (volume).
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Mallow D, Ludwig D, Nilson G. 2003. True Vipers: Natural History and Toxinology of Old World Vipers. Malabar, Florida: Krieger Publishing Company. 359 pp. ISBN 0-89464-877-2.
  4. ^ a b Mehrtens JM. 1987. Living Snakes of the World in Color. New York: Sterling Publishers. 480 pp. ISBN 0-8069-6460-X.
  5. ^ a b c d Atheris chlorechis at the Reptile Database. Accessed 23 November 2022.
  6. ^ "Atheris chlorechis". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 23 November 2022.
  7. ^ a b c Spawls S, Branch B. 1995. The Dangerous Snakes of Africa. Ralph Curtis Books. Dubai: Oriental Press. 192 pp. ISBN 0-88359-029-8.
  8. ^ Brown JH. 1973. Toxicology and Pharmacology of Venoms from Poisonous Snakes. Springfield, Illinois: Charles C. Thomas. 184 pp. LCCCN 73-229. ISBN 0-398-02808-7.

Further reading[edit]

  • Boulenger GA. 1896. Catalogue of the Snakes in the British Museum (Natural History). Volume III., Containing the...Viperidæ. London: Trustees of the British Museum (Natural History). (Taylor and Francis, printers.) xiv + 727 pp. + Plates I.- XXV. (Atheris chlorechis, pp. 508–509.)
  • Cansdale GS. 1961. West African Snakes. London: Longman's. 96 pp. ISBN 058260849X.
  • Pel, H.S. (1851). "Over de jagt aan de Goudkust, volgens eene tienjarige eigene ondervinding". Nederlands Tijdschrift Jagtkunde. 1: 149–173. (Vipera chlorechis)

External links[edit]