Tropidolaemus wagleri

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Tropidolaemus wagleri
Tropidolaemus wagleri, Wagler's palm pit viper - Takua Pa District, Phang-nga Province (48238132136).jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Viperidae
Genus: Tropidolaemus
T. wagleri
Binomial name
Tropidolaemus wagleri
(F. Boie, 1827)
  • C[ophias]. Wagleri
    H. Boie, 1826
    (nomen nudum)
  • [Cophias] Wagleri
    F. Boie, 1827
    (nomen conservandum)
  • Tropidolaemus wagleri
    Wagler, 1830
  • Trigonoc[ephalus]. wagleri
    Schlegel, 1837
  • Trimesurus maculatus
    Gray, 1842
  • Trimesurus Philippensis
    Gray, 1842
  • Trimesurus subannulatus
    Gray, 1842
  • Trigonocephalus Wagleri var. Celebensis
    Gray, 1849
  • Trigonocephalus Wagleri var. Sumatrensis
    Gray, 1849
  • Tropidolaemus hombronii
    Guichenot In Jacquinot & Guichenot, 1853
  • Tropidolaemus wagleri
    A.M.C. Duméril, Bibron &
    A.H.A. Duméril, 1854
  • Tropidolaemus hombroni
    — A.M.C. Duméril, Bibron &
    A.H.A. Duméril, 1854
  • Tropidolaemus Schlegelii
    Bleeker, 1857
  • T[rigonocephalus]. Hombroni
    Jan, 1859
  • Tropidolaemus Philippensis
    W. Peters, 1861
  • Tropidolaemus subannulatus
    — W. Peters, 1861
  • Trimeresurus wagleri
    Günther, 1864
  • Tropidolaemus Schlegeli
    Theobald, 1868
  • Tropidolaemus subannulatus var. celebensis
    — W. Peters, 1872
  • Tropidolaemus subannulatus var. immaculatus
    W. Peters, 1872
  • Bothrops Wagleri
    F. Müller, 1880
  • Lachesis wagleri
    Boulenger, 1896
  • Trimeresurus wagleri alboviridis
    Taylor, 1917
  • Trimeresurus philippensis
    — Taylor, 1922
  • Trimeresurus wagleri wagleri
    — Taylor, 1922
  • Trimeresurus wagleri philippensis
    — Taylor, 1922
  • Trimeresurus wagleri subannulatus
    — Taylor, 1922
  • [Bothrops] philippensis
    Maslin, 1942
  • Tropidolaemus wagleri
    Hoge & Romano-Hoge, 1981
  • Tropidolaemus philippinensis
    David & Vogel, 1996
  • Trimesurus [sic] philippinensis
    — David & Vogel, 1996
    (ex errore)
  • Trimeresurus philippinensis
    — David & Vogel, 1996
  • Tropidolaemus wagleri
    — David & Vogel, 1996
Common names: Wagler's pit viper, temple viper, temple pit viper,[3] more.

Tropidolaemus wagleri is a species of venomous snake, a pitviper in the subfamily Crotalinae of the family Viperidae. The species is endemic to Southeast Asia. There are no subspecies that are recognized as being valid.[4] It is sometimes referred to as the temple viper because of its abundance around the Temple of the Azure Cloud in Malaysia.


The specific name, wagleri, is in honor of German herpetologist Johann Georg Wagler.[5]



Tropidolaemus wagleri is sexually dimorphic: the females grow to approximately 1 m (39 14 in) in total length (including tail), while males typically do not exceed 75 cm (29 12 in). It has a large triangular-shaped head, with a relatively thin body. It is almost entirely arboreal, and the tail is prehensile to aid in climbing.

It is found in a wide variety of colors and patterns, often referred to as "phases". In the past, some researchers classified the different phases as subspecies. The phases vary greatly from having a black or brown coloration as a base, with orange and yellow banding, to others having a light green as the base color, with yellow or orange banding, and many variations therein.

Lateral view of an adult male's head.

Common names[edit]

Common names for T. wagleri include Wagler's pit viper, temple viper, temple pit viper,[3] bamboo snake, temple snake, speckled pit viper,[6] and temple pitviper.[7]

Geographic range[edit]

A green phase of Wagler's pit viper in a terrarium of Reptile Park, Taman Mini Indonesia Indah, Jakarta, Indonesia.

Tropidolaemus wagleri is found in southern Vietnam from the provinces of Minh Hai and Song Be, in southern Thailand recorded from the provinces of Phang Nga, Phuket, Pattani, Surat Thani, Nakhon Si Tammarat, Narathiwat, and Yala, probably distributed throughout the Peninsula in west Malaysia, as well as the island of Penang, in Singapore and in Indonesia on Sumatra, the islands of the Riau Archipelago, Bangka, Billiton, Nias, the Mentawai Islands (Siberut), Natuna, and Karimata.[8] "In a revision by Vogel et al. (2007) the Tropidolaemus wagleri species complex was differentiated into several taxa, including the resurrection of T. subannulatus. The Western Philippine populations belong to T. subannulatus, but those from Mindanao include snakes assigned to both this species and T. philippensis. Tropidolaemus subannulatus has a wide distribution in Central Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippines, T[ropidolaemus] wagleri is restricted to mainland Southeast Asia, down to Sumatra and Bangka, West Indonesia."[9]


The preferred natural habitat of T. wagleri is forest, at altitudes from sea level to 400 m (1,300 ft).[1]


Nocturnal and arboreal, T. wagleri appears quite sluggish as it remains motionless for long periods of time waiting for prey to pass by. When prey does pass by, or if disturbed, it can strike quickly.


The primary diet of T. wagleri consists of rodents, birds, and lizards. The pits, one on each side of the head between the eye and the nostril, are capable of detecting temperature difference of as little as 0.003 of a degree Celsius (0.0054° of a degree Fahrenheit).[10]


Sexually mature females of T. wagleri bear live young by ovoviviparity. Litter size varies from 15 to 41.[11]


The venom of Tropidolaemus wagleri contains four novel peptides (Waglerins 1-4). The Waglerins produce fatal respiratory paralysis of adult mice.[12][13] An initial study indicated that micromolar concentrations of Waglerin 1 act both pre- and postsynaptically to inhibit transmission across rat neuromuscular junctions.[14] However, Waglerin-1 is a more potent inhibitor of transmission across the mouse neuromuscular junction.[15] A subsequent study demonstrated that Waglerin-1 inhibited the adult mouse endplate response to acetylcholine with an IC50 of 50 nanomolar. In striking contrast, transmission across neuromuscular junctions of neonatal or transgenic mice lacking the adult acetylcholine receptor was not altered by micromolar concentrations of Waglerin-1.[16] Biochemical studies demonstrated that the exquisite selectivity of Waglerin-1 for the adult mouse acetylcholine receptor relies upon several amino acid residues unique to the epsilon subunit of the adult mouse acetylcholine receptor.[17] Waglerin-1's selectivity for the epsilon-subunit containing acetylcholine receptor of adult mice is complemented by selectivity of small peptide toxins purified from the venom of Conus geographus and Conus pergrandis for the gamma-subunit containing acetylcholine receptor of neonatal skeletal muscle.[18][19] The Waglerins and complementary conotoxins are useful tools to discover the contribution of acetylcholine receptor subunits to synaptogenesis.[20] In addition, study of the Waglerins and related toxic peptides may lead to the discovery of novel molecular targets for drug development. While Waglerin-1 interacts with other members of the ligand-gated superfamily of ion channels, the potency is much less than for inhibition of the adult mouse muscle acetylcholine receptor.[21][22] Structural study suggests that Waglerin-1 may undergo molecular rearrangement that allows for binding to multiple receptors.[23] The actions of Waglerin-1 reverse upon removal of the peptide.

Waglerin-1 is included in some skin creams marketed as wrinkle removers.[24] There is no scientific evidence supporting the manufacturers' suggestion that the Waglerin-1 included in their products relaxes wrinkle producing skeletal muscles.


This species, T. wagleri, has undergone much taxonomic reclassification over the years and was previously placed in the genus Trimeresurus. However, its distinctly different morphology and venom characteristics sets it apart, so that eventually a new genus was erected in which it was placed together with Hutton's viper, Tropidolaemus huttoni.


  1. ^ a b Grismer L, Chan-Ard T (2012). "Tropidolaemus wagleri ". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2012: e.T192174A2051138. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2012-1.RLTS.T192174A2051138.en.
  2. ^ 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 Mehrtens JM (1987). Living Snakes of the World in Color. New York: Sterling Publishers. 480 pp. ISBN 0-8069-6460-X.
  4. ^ "Tropidolaemus wagleri ". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 25 May 2007.
  5. ^ Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michael; Grayson, Michael (26 July 2011). The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 278. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5.
  6. ^ U.S. Navy (1991). Poisonous Snakes of the World. New York: United States Government / Dover Publications Inc. 203 pp. ISBN 0-486-26629-X.
  7. ^ Gumprecht A, Tillack F, Orlov NL, Captain A, Ryabov S (2004). Asian Pitvipers. 1st Edition. Berlin: GeitjeBooks. 368 pp. ISBN 3-937975-00-4.
  8. ^ Vogel G, David P, Lutz M, van Rooijen J, Vidal N (2007). "Revision of the Tropidolaemus wagleri complex (Serpentes: Viperidae: Crotalinae). I. Definition of included taxa and redescription of Tropidolaemus wagleri (Boie, 1827)". Zootaxa. 1644: 1–40. doi:10.11646/zootaxa.1644.1.1.
  9. ^ Auliya M, Dehling M, Inger RF, Iskandar D, Vogel G, Diesmos AC, Sy E (2012). "Tropidolaemus subannulatus ". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. Downloaded on 30 August 2015.
  10. ^ "Wagler's Pit Viper Tropidolaemus wagleri". Wildlife Singapore. Archived from the original on 2008-09-25. Retrieved 2008-10-09.
  11. ^ Das, Indraneil (2006). A Photographic Guide to Snakes and other Reptiles of Borneo. Sanibel Island, Florida: Ralph Curtis Books. 144 pp. ISBN 0-88359-061-1. (Tropidolaemus wagleri, p. 58.)
  12. ^ Weinstein SA, Schmidt JJ, Bernheimer AW, Smith LA (1991). "Characterization and amino acid sequences of two lethal peptides isolated from venom of Wagler's pit viper, Trimeresurus wagleri ". Toxicon. 29 (2): 227–237. doi:10.1016/0041-0101(91)90107-3. PMID 2048140.
  13. ^ Schmidt JJ, Weinstein SA, Smith LA (1992). "Molecular properties and structure-function relationships of lethal peptides from venom of Wagler's pit viper, Trimeresurus wagleri ". Toxicon. 30 (9): 1027–1137. doi:10.1016/0041-0101(92)90047-9. PMID 1440639.
  14. ^ Aiken SP, Sellin LC, Schmidt JJ, Weinstein SA, McArdle JJ (June 1992). "A novel peptide toxin from Trimeresurus wagleri acts pre- and post-synaptically to block transmission at the rat neuromuscular junction". Pharmacology & Toxicology. 70 (6 Pt 1): 459–462. doi:10.1111/j.1600-0773.1992.tb00508.x. PMID 1359525.
  15. ^ Tsai MC, Hsieh WH, Smith LA, Lee CY (March 1995). "Effects of waglerin-I on neuromuscular transmission of mouse nerve-muscle preparations". Toxicon. 33 (3): 363–371. doi:10.1016/0041-0101(94)00158-5. PMID 7638875.
  16. ^ McArdle JJ, Lentz TL, Witzemann V, Schwarz H, Weinstein SA, Schmidt JJ (September 1999). "Waglerin-1 Selectively Blocks the Epsilon Form of the Muscle Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor". The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. 289 (1): 543–550. PMID 10087048.
  17. ^ Molles BE, Tsigelny I, Nguyen PD, Gao SX, Sine SM, Taylor P (June 2002). "Residues in the epsilon subunit of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor interact to confer selectivity of waglerin-1 for the alpha-epsilon subunit interface site". Biochemistry. 41 (25): 7895–7906. doi:10.1021/bi025732d. PMID 12069578.
  18. ^ Teichert RW, Rivier J, Torres J, Dykert J, Miller C, Olivera BM (January 2005). "A Uniquely Selective Inhibitor of the Mammalian Fetal Neuromuscular Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor". Journal of Neuroscience. 25 (3): 732–736. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4065-04.2005. PMC 6725330. PMID 15659611.
  19. ^ Teichert RW, Lopez-Vera E, Gulyas J, Maren Watkins M, Rivier J, Olivera BM (November 2006). "Definition and Characterization of the Short alphaA-Conotoxins: A Single Residue Determines Dissociation Kinetics from the Fetal Muscle Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor". Biochemistry. 45 (4): 1304–1312. doi:10.1021/bi052016d. PMID 16430227.
  20. ^ Teichert RW, Garcia CC, Potian JG, Schmidt JJ, Witzemann V, Olivera BM, McArdle JJ (June 2008). "Peptide‐Toxin Tools for Probing the Expression and Function of Fetal and Adult Subtypes of the Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor". Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 1132 (1): 61–70. Bibcode:2008NYASA1132...61T. doi:10.1196/annals.1405.015. PMID 18567854. S2CID 25290991.
  21. ^ Ye JH, Ren J, McArdle JJ (August 1999). "Waglerin-1 inhibits GABA(A) current of neurons in the nucleus accumbens of neonatal rats". Brain Research. 837 (1–2): 29–37. doi:10.1016/s0006-8993(99)01668-6. PMID 10433985. S2CID 38433826.
  22. ^ Ye JH, McArdle JJ (March 1997). "Waglerin-1 modulates gamma-aminobutyric acid activated current of murine hypothalamic neurons". The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. 282 (1): 74–80. PMID 9223541.
  23. ^ Sellin LC, Mattila K, Annila A, Schmidt JJ, McArdle JJ, Hyvonen M, Rantala TT, Kivisto T (January 1996). "Conformational analysis of a toxic peptide from Trimeresurus wagleri which blocks the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor". Biophysical Journal. 70 (1): 3–13. Bibcode:1996BpJ....70....3S. doi:10.1016/s0006-3495(96)79559-0. PMC 1224904. PMID 8770182.
  24. ^ "Euoko, Y-30 Intense Lift Concentrate". Archived from the original on 2013-08-11. Retrieved 2013-08-09.

Further reading[edit]

  • Boie F (1827). Bemerkungen über Merrem's Versuch eines Systems der Amphibien, 1te Lieferung: Ophidier. Isis von Oken 20: 508-566. (Cophias wagleri, new species, p. 562). (in German).
  • Boulenger GA (1896). Catalogue of the Snakes in the British Museum (Natural History). Volume III., Containing the ... Viperidæ. London: Trustees of the British Museum (Natural History). (Taylor and Francis, printers). xiv + 727 pp. + Plates I-XXV. (Lachesis wagleri, pp. 562–564).

External links[edit]