Trimeresurus stejnegeri

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Trimeresurus stejnegeri
Trimeresurus stejnegeri.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Viperidae
Genus: Trimeresurus
T. stejnegeri
Binomial name
Trimeresurus stejnegeri
Schmidt, 1925
  • Trimeresurus stejnegeri
    Schmidt, 1925
  • Trimeresurus gramineus stejnegeri
    Stejneger, 1927
  • Trimeresurus gramineus formosensis
    Maki, 1931
  • Trimeresurus gramineus kodairai
    Maki, 1931
  • Trimeresurus stejnegeri stejnegeri
    Pope, 1935
  • Trimeresurus stejnegeri makii
    Klemmer, 1963
  • Trimeresurus stejnegeri formosensis
    Welch, 1988
  • Trimeresurus stejnegeri kodairai
    — Welch, 1988[2]
  • Trimeresurus stejnegeri
    Cox et al., 1998
  • Viridovipera stejnegeri
    Malhotra & Thorpe, 2004
  • Trimeresurus (Viridovipera) stejnegeri
    David et al., 2011

Trimeresurus stejnegeri is a species of venomous pit viper endemic to Asia. Two subspecies are currently recognized, including the nominate subspecies described here.[3]

Common names for this pit viper include Stejneger's pit viper, Chinese pit viper, Chinese green tree viper,[4] bamboo viper, Chinese bamboo pitviper, 69 bamboo viper, and Chinese tree viper.[5] For other common, non-scientific names, see § Common names below.


The specific name, stejnegeri, is in honor of Leonhard Stejneger, the Norwegian-born, American herpetologist who worked at the Smithsonian Institution for over 60 years.[6]



Trimeresurus stejnegeri grows to a maximum total length of 75 centimetres (30 in), which includes a tail length of 14.5 centimetres (5.7 in). The males have hemipenes that are short and spinose beyond the bifurcation.[7]

The dorsal scales are arranged in 21 longitudinal rows at midbody. There are 9–11 upper labials, of which the first are separated from nasal scales by a distinct suture. The supraoculars are single, narrow, and sometimes divided by a transverse suture. There are 11–16 scales in a line between the supraoculars. The ventrals number 150–174, and the subcaudals are 54–77. All of the subcaudals are paired.[7]

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

Bamboo vipers are carnivores: they eat small rodents, birds, frogs, and lizards.[citation needed]

Yellow colored mutants have been reported.[8]

Common names[edit]

Common names for T. stejnegeri include bamboo viper, Chinese tree viper,[5] bamboo snake, Chinese green tree viper, Chinese bamboo viper, Stejneger's pit viper, Stejneger's palm viper, red tail snake,[4] Stejneger's bamboo pitviper,[9]

Geographic range[edit]

Trimeresurus stejnegeri is found in Northeast India) and Nepal through Myanmar and Laos to much of southern China (Yunnan, Sichuan, Gansu, Jiangxi, Jiangsu, Hunan, Hubei, Guizhou, Guangxi, Guangdong, Hainan, Fujian, Anhui, Zhejiang), Vietnam, and Taiwan.[1] The type locality was originally listed as "Shaowu, Fukien Province, China", and later emended to "N.W. Fukien Province" by Pope & Pope (1933) (Fukien being the former romanization of Fujian).[2]


The preferred natural habitat of T. stejnegeri is forest, at altitudes from sea level to 2,000 m (6,600 ft).[1]


Trimeresurus stejnegeri has a potent hemotoxin. The wound usually feels extremely painful, as if it had been branded with a hot iron, and the pain does not subside until about 24 hours after being bitten. Within a few minutes of being bitten, the surrounding flesh dies and turns black, highlighting the puncture wounds. The wound site quickly swells, and the skin and muscle become black due to necrosis. The size of the necrotic area depends on the amount of venom injected and the depth of the bite.[citation needed]


T. stejnegeri is viviparous.[3]


Subspecies[3] Taxon author[3] Common name[9] Geographic range[9]
T. s. chenbihuii Zhao, 1997 Chen's pit viper China, Hainan Island: on Mount Diaoluo at 225–290 m elevation (Lingshui County) and on Wuzhi Mountain at 500 m elevation (Qiongzhong County).
T. s. stejnegeri Schmidt, 1925 Stejneger's pit viper China (in eastern Sichuan, Guizhou, Hubei, Anhui, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Jiangxi, Hunan, Fujian, Gansu, Guangdong and Guangxi), Taiwan, and Vietnam.


  1. ^ a b c Jiang, J.; Zhou, Z.; Lau, M.W.N.; Guo, P. (2012). "Trimeresurus stejnegeri". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2012: e.T192136A2045355. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2012-1.RLTS.T192136A2045355.en. Retrieved 19 November 2021.
  2. ^ 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).
  3. ^ a b c d e Trimeresurus stejnegeri at the Reptile Database. Accessed 8 August 2020.
  4. ^ a b U.S. Navy (1991). Poisonous Snakes of the World. New York: US Government / Dover Publications Inc. 203 pp. ISBN 0-486-26629-X.
  5. ^ a b Mehrtens JM (1987). Living Snakes of the World in Color. New York: Sterling Publishers. 480 pp. ISBN 0-8069-6460-X.
  6. ^ Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michael; Grayson, Michael (2011). The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. xiii + 296 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. (Trimeresurus stejnegeri, pp. 252-253).
  7. ^ 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". Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences 54 (24): 407-462.
  8. ^ Everington, Keoni (13 February 2023). "Rare mutant yellow Taiwan bamboo pit viper spotted on trail". Taiwan News. Retrieved 14 February 2023.
  9. ^ a b c Gumprecht A, Tillack F, Orlov NL, Captain A, Ryabov S (2004). Asian Pitvipers. First Edition. Berlin: Geitje Books. Berlin. 368 pp. ISBN 3-937975-00-4.

Further reading[edit]

  • Creer S, Malhotra A, Thorpe RS, Chou WH (2001). "Multiple causation of phylogeographical pattern as revealed by nested clade analysis of the bamboo viper (Trimeresurus stejnegeri) within Taiwan". Molecular Ecology 10 (8): 1967-1981.
  • 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 stejnegeri, p. 68).
  • Malhotra A, Thorpe RS (2004). "Maximizing information in systematic revisions: a combined molecular and morphological analysis of a cryptic green Pit Viper complex (Trimeresurus stejnegeri)". Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 82 (2): 219.
  • Parkinson CL (1999). "Molecular systematics and biogeographical history of Pit Vipers as determined by mitochondrial ribosomal DNA sequences". Copeia 1999 (3): 576–586.
  • Guo P, Zhang F (2001). "Comparative studies on hemipenes of four species of Trimeresurus (sensu stricto) (Serpentes: Crotalinae)". Amphibia-Reptilia 22 (1): 113-117.
  • Schmidt KP (1925). "New Reptiles and a New Salamander from China". American Museum Novitates (157): 1-5. ("Trimeresurus stejnegeri, new species", p. 4).
  • Tu M-C 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.