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Bothriopsis taeniata (3).jpg
Speckled forest pitviper, B. taeniata
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Viperidae
Subfamily: Crotalinae
Genus: Bothriopsis
W. Peters, 1861[1]
Common names: forest-pitvipers.[2]

Bothriopsis is a genus of venomous pitvipers found in eastern Panama and most of northern South America.[1] The name is derived from the Greek words bothros for "pit", and -opsis for "face" or "appearance"; obviously an allusion to the heat-sensitive loreal pit organs.[2] Seven species are currently recognized.[3]


Members of this genus vary in size from small to as much as 150 cm (59 inches) in total length. All have a prehensile tail and cryptic color patterns that are typically arboreal adaptations. These color patterns may include a lot of green, and may or may not include pale or dark markings.[2]

Geographic range[edit]

Found in eastern Panama and most of northern South America, including the Pacific lowlands of Colombia and Ecuador, the Andes Mountains from Venezuela and Colombia to Bolivia, the Amazon Basin and the Atlantic forests of Brazil.[1]


Species[3] Taxon author[3] Subsp.*[3] Common name[2] Geographic range[1]
B. bilineata (Wied-Neuwied, 1825) 1 Two-striped forest-pitviper Amazon region of South America: Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Surinam, French Guiana, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. An isolated population is known from the Atlantic versant of southeastern Brazil.
B. medusa (Sternfeld, 1920) 0 Venezuelan forest-pitviper Venezuela, including the Cordillera de la Costa (coastal range), the Federal District and the states of Aragua, Bolívar and Carabobo.
B. oligolepis (F. Werner, 1901) 0 Peruvian forest-pitviper Eastern slopes of the Andes in Peru and Bolivia.
B. peruviana (Boulenger, 1903) 0 Southeastern Peru.
B. pulchra (W. Peters, 1862) 0 Andean forest-pitviper Eastern slopes of the Andes from south-central Colombia to southern Ecuador.
B. punctata (García, 1896) 0 Chocoan lancehead From the Darién of Panama along the Pacific slope of Colombia and Ecuador to extreme northern Peru.
B. taeniataT (Wagler, 1824) 1 Speckled forest-pitviper Widespread in the equatorial forests of Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Brazil, Peru and Bolivia.

*) Not including the nominate subspecies.
T) Type species.[1]

Taxonomic comment[edit]

Bothriopsis taeniata

The status of this genus is controversial: several studies have shown that Bothriopsis is nested within Bothrops, rendering the latter paraphyletic.[4][5][6] Some authors[5][6] have argued that Bothriopsis should therefore be synonymised with Bothrops, while others have preferred to continue recognising the genus as valid, with the expectation of future generic splits in Bothrops.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e McDiarmid RW, Campbell JA, Touré T. 1999. Snake Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference, Volume 1. Herpetologists' League. 511 pp. ISBN 1-893777-00-6 (series). ISBN 1-893777-01-4 (volume).
  2. ^ a b c d e Campbell JA, Lamar WW. 2004. The Venomous Reptiles of the Western Hemisphere. Comstock Publishing Associates, Ithaca and London. 870 pp. 1500 plates. ISBN 0-8014-4141-2.
  3. ^ a b c d "Bothriopsis". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 18 April 2008. 
  4. ^ Werman, S.D. (1992) Phylogenetic relationships of Central and South American pitvipers of the genus Bothrops (sensu lato): cladistic analysis of biochemical and anatomical characters. In Biology of the Pitvipers (J.A. Campbell & E.D. Brodie, Jr., eds.), pp. 21-40. Selva Publishing, Tyler, Texas.
  5. ^ a b Salomão, M.G., W. Wüster, R.S. Thorpe & B.B.B.S.P. (1997) DNA evolution of South American pitvipers of the genus Bothrops. In R.S. Thorpe, W. Wüster & A. Malhotra (Eds.), Venomous Snakes: Ecology, Evolution and Snakebite. Symposia of the Zoological Society of London, No. 70, Pp. 89-98. Clarendon Press, Oxford.
  6. ^ a b Wüster, W., M.G. Salomão, J.A. Quijada-Mascareñas, R.S. Thorpe & B.B.B.S.P. (2002) Origin and evolution of the South American pitviper fauna: evidence from mitochondrial DNA sequence analysis. In Biology of the Vipers (G.W. Schuett, M. Höggren, M.E. Douglas & H.W. Greene, eds.), pp. 111-128. Eagle Mountain Publishing, Eagle Mountain, Utah.

External links[edit]