Trimeresurus popeorum

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Trimeresurus popeiorum
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Viperidae
Subfamily: Crotalinae
Genus: Trimeresurus
Species: T. popeiorum
Binomial name
Trimeresurus popeiorum
M.A. Smith, 1937
  • Trimesurus elegans (part)
    Gray, 1853
  • Trimeresurus gramineus (part)
    Pope & Pope, 1933
  • Trimeresurus popeiorum [sic]
    M.A. Smith, 1937
  • Trimeresurus popeorum
    M.A. Smith, 1943
  • Trimeresurus popeorum
    Taylor & Elbel, 1958
  • Trimeresurus popeorum popeorum – Regenass & Kramer, 1981
  • Trimeresurus popeorum popeorum – Golay et al., 1993[2]
  • Popeia popeiorum
    – Malhotra & Thorpe, 2004
  • Trimeresurus popeiorum
    – David et al., 2009
  • Trimeresurus (Popeia) popeiorum – David et al., 2011[3]
Common names: Pope's pit viper, Pope's tree viper,[4] Pope's bamboo pitviper.[5]

Trimeresurus popeiorum is a venomous pit viper species native to northern India, Southeast Asia, and parts of Indonesia. Three subspecies are currently recognized, including the nominate subspecies described here.[6]

Juvenile male


T. popeiorum to a total length of 770 mm (30 in), tail length 170 mm (6.7 in).[7]

Above green, below pale green to whitish, the two separated by a bright bicolored orange or brown (below) and white (above) (males) or white (females) ventrolateral stripe, which occupies the whole of the outermost scale row and a portion of the second row.[7]

Dorsal scales in 21 (rarely 23) longitudinal rows at midbody; 9-11 upper labials, first upper labials separated from nasals by a distinct suture; a single supraocular. Ventrals 155-169; subcaudals 52-76, in males the base of the tail enlarged to the level of subcaudals 20-25; hemipenes long and slender, smooth, without spines.[7]

This species is most often confused with T. s. stejnegeri (q.v.); the two have quite distinct hemipenes, which does not make identification of individuals in the field or in the laboratory any easier without recourse to (a) male individuals and (b) an examination of the hemipenes. However, the two species are not known to have overlapping distributions, at least based on available materials. Also, closely allied to T. popeiorum is T. s. yunnanensis (q.v.); ordinarily, the two are more easily told apart by the number of midbody dorsal scale rows, 21 in T. popeiorum, 19 in T. s. yunnanensis.[7]

Trimeresurus popeorum
Adult male Pope's pit viper, Trimeresurus popeiorum

Geographic range[edit]

Northern India, Burma, Thailand, West Malaysia and Vietnam. In Indonesia, it occurs on the islands of Sumatra, Mentawai Islands (Siberut, Sipora, North Pagai) and Borneo. The type locality, designated by lectotype, is listed as "Khasi Hills, Assam" (India).[2]

Gumprecht et al. (2004) consider records for Bangladesh, Cambodia and Vietnam to be highly questionable, as they are likely based on misidentifications involving other species of Trimeresurus.[5]


Subspecies[6] Taxon author[6] Common name[5] Geographic range[5]
T. p. barati Regenass & Kramer, 1981 Barat pit viper Indonesia: Sumatra (Barat District), the Mentawai Archipelago (on Siberut, North Pagai and South Pagai), and Simeulue (Simalur).
T. p. popeiorum M.A. Smith, 1937 Pope's pit viper Northeastern India, Burma, Thailand, West Malaysia, Singapore and Laos.
T. p. sabahi Regenass & Kramer, 1981 Sabah pit viper East Malaysia (Sabah and Sarawak) and Indonesia (Kalimantan).

Taxonomy & Etymology[edit]

There are differences in opinion as to the correct spelling of the specific epithet. The following is from David and Vogel (1996):[8]

This species was named in honour to Clifford H. Pope and Sarah H. Pope. The original spelling of the specific epithet, popeiorum, was corrected into popeorum by Smith (1943:518) on the basis that it was indeed a clerical error. Unfortunately, according to the Art. 32 (c, ii) of the Code (ICZN, 1985), such a change does not fall into the category of a “correction of an incorrect original spelling." According to the Art. 33 (d), the use of a termination -orum in a subsequent spelling of a species-group name that is a genitive based upon a personal name in which the correct original spelling terminates with -iorum, is an incorrect subsequent spelling, even if the change is deliberate. The original spelling, popeiorum, must therefore be conserved.


T. popeiorum is found in forests of mountainous regions.[9]


It is nocturnal and arboreal. If threatened, it will vibrate its tail.[9]


It preys upon frogs, lizards, birds, and rodents (especially rats and squirrels).[9]


This species is viviparous. In India, sexually mature females give birth in April and May, and the average clutch size is 10. The hatchlings are about 180 mm (7.1 in) long.[9]


T. popeiorum possesses a potent neurotoxic venom which is dangerous to humans.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Popeia popeiorum ".
  2. ^ 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).
  3. ^ "Trimeresurus popeiorum ". The Reptile Database.
  4. ^ United States Navy (1991). Poisonous Snakes of the World. New York: United States Government/Dover Publications Inc. 203 pp. ISBN 0-486-26629-X.
  5. ^ a b c d Gumprecht A, Tillack F, Orlov NL, Captain A, Ryabov S (2004). Asian Pitvipers. First Edition. Berlin: Geitje Books. 368 pp. ISBN 3-937975-00-4.
  6. ^ a b c "Trimeresurus popeorum ". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 5 November 2006. 
  7. ^ a b c d 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.
  8. ^ David P, Vogel G (1996). The Snakes of Sumatra: An annotated checklist and key with natural history notes. Frankfurt am Main: Edition Chimaira. 259 pp. ISBN 3-930612-08-9.
  9. ^ a b c d e Das I (2002). A Photographic Guide to Snakes and other Reptiles of India. Sanibel Island, Florida: Ralph Curtis Books. 144 pp. ISBN 0-88359-056-5. ("Trimeresurus popieorum", p. 67).

Further reading[edit]

  • Gumprecht A (2001). "Die Bambusottern der Gattung Trimeresurus Lacépède Teil IV: Checkliste der Trimeresurus-Arten Thailands ". Sauria 23 (2): 25-32.
  • Smith MA (1937). "The Names of two Indian Vipers". J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 39 (4): 730-731. (Trimeresurus popeiorum, new scientific name, p. 730).
  • Tu MC et al. (2000). "Phylogeny, Taxonomy, and Biogeography of the Oriental Pit Vipers of the Genus Trimeresurus (Reptilia: Viperidae, Crotalinae): A Molecular Perspective". Zoological Science 17: 1147-1157.

External links[edit]