Ovophis monticola

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Ovophis monticola
Indo-malayan Mountain Pitviper (Ovophis monticola convictus) (18085351724).jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Viperidae
Genus: Ovophis
O. monticola
Binomial name
Ovophis monticola
(Günther, 1864)
Ovophis monticola distribution.png
  • Parias maculata - Gray, 1853
  • Trimeresurus monticola - Günther, 1864
  • Crotalus Trimeres[urus]. monticola - Higgins, 1873
  • Trimeresurus monticola - Boulenger, 1890
  • Lachesis monticola - Boulenger, 1896
  • Trimeresurus monticola monticola - Mell, 1931
  • Agkistrodon monticola - Pope, 1932
  • Trimeresurus tonkinensis - Bourret, 1934 (possible nomen nudum)
  • Trimeresurus tonkinensis - Bourret, 1934
  • T[rimeresurus]. m[onticola]. tonkinensis - Deuve, 1970
  • Trimeresurus monticola - Saint-Girons, 1972
  • Ovophis monticola - Burger In Hoge & Romano-Hoge, 1981
  • Ovophis monticola monticola - Hoge & Romano-Hoge, 1981
  • Ovophis tonkinensis - Hoge & Romano-Hoge, 1981
  • Ovophis tonkinensis - Golay et al., 1993
  • Ovophis monticola monticola - Orlov & Helfenberger, 1997[2]
Common names: mountain pitviper,[3] mountain viper,[4] more.

Ovophis monticola is a venomous pitviper species found in Asia. Currently, two subspecies are recognized, including the nominate subspecies described here.[5] Recent taxonomic work suggests that most of these should be considered as separate species.[6] IUCN has already evaluated O. m. makazayazaya as Ovophis makazayazaya.[7]


Total length of males 49 cm (19¼ inches), of females 110 cm (43¼ inches); tail length of males 8 cm (3⅛ inches), of females 15 cm (5⅞ inches).[8]

The head has a short snout, a little more than twice the length of the diameter of the eye. The crown is covered by small scales rather than large shields, while the scales are usually smooth, feebly imbricate. The first upper labial is not fused to the nasal and is completely separated by a suture. The supraoculars are large, 5-9 scales in a line between them. The internasals are usually not in contact with one another, separated by 2 small suprapostrostral scales. There are 7-10 upper labials, the second of which is usually fused to the scale bordering the facial sensory pit anteriorly. The fourth and fifth upper labials are beneath the eye, but separated from orbit by a series of 2-4 small scales.[8]

The body is stout. The dorsal scales are smooth or weakly keeled, in 23-25, occasionally in 19 or 21 longitudinal rows at midbody. Ventral scales and subcaudals (Myanmar, northeastern India and adjacent areas of China and Thailand) 137-176 and 36-62 respectively, subcaudals mixed paired and single, occasionally all unpaired (ventrals and subcaudals for southern China, Vietnam, Laos: 127-144 and 36-54, and Malaysian Peninsula: 133-137 and 22-28 respectively [fide Smith 1943:509]).[8]

Common names[edit]

Mountain pitviper,[3] mountain viper, Chinese pit viper, spotted pit viper, Arisan habu,[4] mountain pit viper, Chinese mountain pit viper.[9] Bengali name: পাহাড়ী বোড়া সাপ (Pahari boda sap).

Geographic range[edit]

Found in Asia in Nepal, India (Assam, Sikkim, Mizoram, Nagaland), Bangladesh[10] (already stated on the subspecies table), Myanmar, China (Zhejiang, Fujian, Sichuan, Yunnan, Tibet), Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, West Malaysia and Indonesia (Sumatra). The type locality is described as "Sikkim" (India).[2]


Subspecies[5] Taxon author[5] Common name[3] Geographic range[3]
O. m. monticola (Günther, 1864) Mountain pitviper Bangladesh (Chittagong Hill Tracts), China (Sichuan, Tibet Autonomous Region, Yunnan, India (Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Mizoram, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Sikkim, Uttarakhand and West Bengal), Myanmar (Chin, Kachin and Shan) and Nepal.
O. m. makazayazaya (Takahashi, 1922) Taiwanese mountain pitviper Taiwan (Majia, Pingtung, Chiayi Alishan), China (Southeast), Vietnam
O. m. zhaokentangi Zhao, 1995 Gaoligong mountain pitviper Goaligong Shan, north of Pianma, Lushui County, Yunnan Province, China.


Little is known about the venom of this species but it is presumed to contain hemorrhagins and procoagulants. There has been one recorded fatality from the bite of this species.(another person from Meghalaya, India died in 2017 due to mountain pit viper bite).[11]


  1. ^ Malhotra, A. (2010). "Ovophis monticola". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2010: e.T178669A7592174. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2010-4.RLTS.T178669A7592174.en. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  2. ^ 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).
  3. ^ a b c d Gumprecht A, Tillack F, Orlov NL, Captain A, Ryabov S. 2004. Asian Pitvipers. GeitjeBooks Berlin. 1st Edition. 368 pp. ISBN 3-937975-00-4.
  4. ^ a b U.S. Navy. 1991. Poisonous Snakes of the World. US Govt. New York: Dover Publications Inc. 203 pp. ISBN 0-486-26629-X.
  5. ^ a b c "Ovophis monticola". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 24 August 2007.
  6. ^ Malhotra, A.; Dawson, K.; Guo, P.; Thorpe, R. S. (2011). "Phylogenetic structure and species boundaries in the mountain pitviper Ovophis monticola (Serpentes: Viperidae: Crotalinae) in Asia". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 59 (2): 444–457. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2011.02.010. PMID 21315823.
  7. ^ Lau, M.; Zhou, Z. & Guo, P. (2012). "Ovophis makazayazaya". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2012: e.T196010A2441839. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2012-1.RLTS.T196010A2441839.en. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  8. ^ a b c Leviton AE, Wogan GOU, Koo MS, Zug GR, Lucas RS, Vindum JV. 2003. The Dangerously Venomous Snakes of Myanmar, Illustrated Checklist with Keys. Proc. Cal. Acad. Sci. 54 (24):407-462. PDF Archived 2006-08-30 at the Wayback Machine at Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Division of Amphibians and Reptiles. Accessed 8 August 2006.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ "Ovophis monticola".
  11. ^ Venomous Snakes of the World by Mark O'Shea, Page number 104

Further reading[edit]

  • Günther, A. 1864. The Reptiles of British India. The Ray Society. London. (Taylor & Francis, Printers.) xxvii + 452 pp. (Trimeresurus monticola, p. 388 + Plate XXIV., fig. B.)
  • Tillack, F.; Shah, K.B.; Gumprecht, A. & Husain, A. 2003 Anmerkungen zur Verbreitung, Morphologie, Biologie, Haltung und Nachzucht der Berg-Grubenotter Ovophis monticola monticola (Günther, 1864) (Serpentes, Viperidae, Crotalinae). Sauria 25 (4): 29-46

External links[edit]