Lachesis melanocephala

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Lachesis melanocephala
Lachesis melanocephala.JPG
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Viperidae
Genus: Lachesis
L. melanocephala
Binomial name
Lachesis melanocephala
Solórzano & Cerdas, 1986
  • Lachesis muta melanocephala
    Solórzano & Cerdas, 1986
  • Lachesis melanocephala
    – Zamudio & Greene, 1997[1]
Common names: black-headed bushmaster.[2]

Lachesis melanocephala is a venomous pit viper species found in Costa Rica. No subspecies are currently recognized.[3][4]


Adults frequently grow to 1.9–2 m (6.2–6.6 ft) in total length. The largest reported specimens were 2.3 m (7.5 ft) by Solórzano (2004), and 2.4 m (7.9 ft) by Ripa (2001).

The top of the head is uniform black in color,[2] to which the specific name, melanocephala, refers.

Geographic range[edit]

Found in Costa Rica on the Pacific versant of southeastern Puntarenas province from near sea level to about 1500 m (about 4,900 feet). The type locality given is "tropical rainforest 9 km northern of Ciudad Neily in southeastern Provincia de Puntarenas, Costa Rica."[1]

Campbell and Lamar (2004) describe its range as southwestern Costa Rica and possibly extreme western Panama, but state that almost all locality records are from Puntarenas province.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b McDiarmid RW, Campbell JA, Touré T. 1999. Snake Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference, vol. 1. Herpetologists' League. 511 pp. ISBN 1-893777-00-6 (series). ISBN 1-893777-01-4 (volume).
  2. ^ a b c Campbell JA, Lamar WW. 2004. The Venomous Reptiles of the Western Hemisphere. 2 volumes. Comstock Publishing Associates, Ithaca and London. 870 pp. 1500 plates. ISBN 0-8014-4141-2.
  3. ^ Lachesis melanocephala at the Reptile Database. Accessed 19 March 2015.
  4. ^ "Lachesis melanocephala". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 5 August 2008.

Further reading[edit]

  • Solórzano, Alejandro, and Luis Cerdas. 1986. A new subspecies of the bushmaster, Lachesis muta, from southeastern Costa Rica. Journal of Herpetology 20 (3): 463-466. (Lachesis muta melanocephala")