Tropidolaemus huttoni

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Tropidolaemus huttoni
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Viperidae
Genus: Tropidolaemus
Species: T. huttoni
Binomial name
Tropidolaemus huttoni
(M.A. Smith, 1949)
  • Trimeresurus huttoni
    M.A. Smith, 1949
  • Tropidolaemus huttoni
    — David & Vogel, 1998[1]
Common names: Hutton's pit viper.[2] Hutton's tree viper,[3]

Tropidolaemus huttoni is a little-known venomous pitviper species endemic to the Southern Western Ghats of India. No subspecies are currently recognized.[4] Little is known about this species, as this species is known only from two young individuals, based on which it was first described in 1949. Despite long-term and targeted herpetological surveys in the particular hill range (Meghamalai), it has never been re-sighted there or elsewhere since then.

A possible third specimen from the northern Western Ghats is considered to be of doubtful identity at best, as it shares several features typical of T. wagleri complex as well; and its provenance is also currently unresolved.


Its specific name, huttoni, is in honor of its discoverer, Angus Finlay Hutton, a planter and naturalist.[5]


The coloration and size of adults is unknown.

Juveniles are green dorsally, with a series of small white spots on both sides, located on the 2nd & 3rd scale rows from the vertebral row. A distinct red eye streak on both sides of the head. Ventrally they are pale green, except for the last 25 subcaudals, which are dull reddish brown.

The holotype specimen is only 136 mm (5⅜ inches) in total length, 98 mm (3⅞ inches) in snout-vent length (SVL), and the tail is 38 mm (1½ inches) long.[6]

Geographic range[edit]

The Meghamalai Hills in the southern Western Ghats, situated in Theni district of Tamil Nadu, southern India. Known only from the type locality, which is listed as "High Wavy Mountains, Theni district, southern India." According to David and Vogel (1998), this is a plateau on the western central edge of the Varushanad Hills, at 1,590 m (5,200 feet) elevation, in Theni district, Tamil Nadu.[1]

Biology and natural history[edit]

Little-known; the original description states that both the juvenile specimens were collected together under thick leaf-litter near about Ochlandra travancorica, a species of bamboo. The region was, during Hutton's days, covered by dense tropical rainforests; but is now partly covered by tea plantations.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 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).
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ Mehrtens JM. 1987. Living Snakes of the World in Color. New York: Sterling Publishers. 480 pp. ISBN 0-8069-6460-X.
  4. ^ "Tropidolaemus huttoni ". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 27 September 2006. 
  5. ^ Beolens B, Watkins M, Grayson M. 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. xiii + 296 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. (Tropidolaemus huttoni, p. 128).
  6. ^ David, Patrick; Vogel, Gernot. 1998. Redescription of Trimeresurus huttoni Smith, 1949 (Serpentes, Crotalinae), with a Discussion of its Relationships. Hamadryad 22 (2): 73-87.

Further reading[edit]

  • Boundy J. 2008. A possible third specimen of the pitviper genus Tropidolaemus from India. Hamadryad 32 (1): 59-62.
  • Chandramouli SR, Ganesh SR. 2010. Herpetofauna of Southern Western Ghats, India − reinvestigated after decades. Taprobanica 2 (2): 72-85.
  • David P, Vogel G. 1998. Redescription of Trimeresurus huttoni SMITH, 1949 (Serpentes: Crotalinae) with a discussion of its relationships. Hamadryad 22 (2): 73-87.
  • Ganesh SR, Bhupathy S, David P, Sathishkumar N, Srinivas G. 2014. Snake Fauna of High Wavy Mountains, Western Ghats, India: Species Richness, Status, and Distribution Pattern. Russian J. Herpetol. 21 (1): 53-64.
  • Hutton AF, David P. 2009. Notes on a collection of snakes from south India, with emphasis on the snake fauna of the Megamalai Hills (High Wavy Mountains). J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 105: 299–316.
  • Smith MA. 1949. A new species of pit viper from South India: Trimeresurus huttoni sp. nov. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 48 (3): 596.

External links[edit]