Atheris nitschei

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Atheris nitschei
Atheris nitschei.jpg
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Viperidae
Genus: Atheris
Species: A. nitschei
Binomial name
Atheris nitschei
Tornier, 1902
  • Atheris nitschei
    Tornier, 1902
  • Atheris woosnami
    Boulenger, 1906
  • Atheris nitschei
    — Boulenger, 1915
  • Atheris nitschei nitschei
    Bogert, 1940
  • [Atheris] nitschei
    Broadley, 1996
Common names: Great Lakes bush viper, Nitsche's bush viper,[2][3] more.

Atheris nitschei is a venomous viper species found in Africa from Uganda and adjacent DR Congo to Rwanda, Tanzania and Burundi.


The former subspecies Atheris nitschei rungweensis from southwestern Tanzania, northeastern Zambia and northern Malawi was elevated to species rank (Atheris rungweensis).


The specific name, nitschei, is in honor of German zoologist Hinrich Nitsche (1845–1902).[4]

The 1906 junior synonym, A. woosnami, was in honor of Kenyan game ranger Richard Bowen Woosnam (1880–1915), who later fought in World War I and was killed in action at Gallipoli.[4]


Atheris nitschei

A. nitschei is a relatively large and stout bush viper, growing to an average total length (body + tail) of 63 cm (25 in) and a maximum total length of at least 73 cm (29 in). The males are smaller than the females.

Common names[edit]

Common names for A. nitschei include Great Lakes bush viper, Nitsche's bush viper,[2][3] black and green bush viper, Nitsche's tree viper.[5] sedge viper, green viper, bush viper.[6]

Geographic range[edit]

A, nitschel is found in forests of the Central African Albertine Rift, in eastern DR Congo, Uganda, western Tanzania, Rwanda, and Burundi.

The type locality is listed as "Mpororosumpf, Deutsch-Ost-Afrika" [Mpororo swamp, Tanzania-Rwanda border].[1]


Preferred habitats of A. nitschei are wetland and meadow areas, and elephant grass marshes, along small streams, sometimes in scrub and bush in valleys at higher elevations, and in mountain forests up to the bamboo zone at 1,600–2,800 m (5,200–9,200 ft) altitude. It is common in papyrus reed around small lakes.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b McDiarmid RW, Campbell JA, Touré TA (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).
  2. ^ a b Spawls S, Branch B (1995). The Dangerous Snakes of Africa. Dubai: Oriental Press / Ralph Curtis Books. 192 pp. ISBN 0-88359-029-8.
  3. ^ a b c 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 Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michael; Grayson, Michael (2011). The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. xiii + 312 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. (Atheris nitschei, p. 191; A. woosnami, p. 289).
  5. ^ Mehrtens JM (1987). Living Snakes of the World in Color. New York: Sterling Publishers. 480 pp. ISBN 0-8069-6460-X.
  6. ^ 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]

  • Tornier G (1902). "Herpetologisch Neues aus Deutsch-Ost-Afrika ". Zoologische Jahrbücher. Abtheilung für Systemaik, Geographie und Biologie der Thiere (Jena) 15: 578-590. (Atheris nitschei, new species, pp. 589–590). (in German).

External links[edit]