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Bitis atropos (LINNAEUS, 1758)

IUCN Red List - Bitis atropos - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaViperidae, Viperinae, Colubroidea, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes) 
SubspeciesBitis atropos atropos (LINNAEUS 1758)
Bitis atropos unicolor FITZSIMONS 1959 
Common NamesE: Mountain Adder
G: Bergotter 
SynonymColuber Atropos LINNAEUS 1758: 216
Vipera montana SMITH 1826: 252
Echidna ocellata TSCHUDI 1845 (fide SCHÄTTI 1985)
Echidna atropos — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1854: 1432
Bitis atropos — WELCH 1994: 27
Bitis (Calechidna) atropos — LENK et al. 1999
Bitis atropos — MCDIARMID, CAMPBELL & TOURÉ 1999: 360
Bitis atropos — DOBIEY & VOGEL 2007
Bitis (Calechidna) atropos — WITTENBERG et al. 2014
Bitis atropos — WALLACH et al. 2014: 92 
DistributionRepublic of South Africa, Swaziland, Lesotho, E Zimbabwe, C Mozambique

Type locality: “America” (in error)

unicolor: Republic of South Africa (E Transvaal); Terra typica: Witpoort, about 20 miles north of Belfast, eastern Transvaal. Map legend:
TDWG region - Region according to the TDWG standard, not a precise distribution map.

NOTE: TDWG regions are generated automatically from the text in the distribution field and not in every cases it works well. We are working on it.
TypesSyntypes: NRM 96-97 (was Mus. Ad. Fr.", sometimes as NHRM) 

DIAGNOSIS (unicolor): Head scaling somewhat similar to that in typical atropos, but less strongly keeled and, over back of head, not so markedly elongate; outermost row of scales on body practically smooth anterioriy and but feebly keeled posteriorly; almost uniformly khaki to reddish brown above and apparently a smaller snake than typical atropos. 
  • Anonymous 1984. Die Atropos-Viper oder Bergotter. Herpetofauna 6 (30): 29 - get paper here
  • Botha, S.A. 1986. Geographical Distribution - Bitis atropos. J. Herp. Assoc. Africa (32): 31-31 - get paper here
  • Boycott, R.C. 1992. An Annotated Checklist of the Amphibians and Reptiles of Swaziland. The Conservation Trust of Swaziland - get paper here
  • Branch, William R. 1993. A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Southern Africa. Cape Town: Struik Publishers, 144 S.
  • Broadley, D. & Blaylock 2013. The Snakes of Zimbabwe and Botswana. Chimaira, Frankfurt, 387 pp. [book review in Sauria 35 (2): 59 and Copeia 2014: 388] - get paper here
  • Broadley, D.G. 1959. The herpetology of Southern Rhodesia. Part I--the snakes. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. Harvard 120 (1): 1-100 [reprint 1972] - get paper here
  • Broadley, D.G. 1962. On some reptile collections from the North-Western and North-Eastern Districts of Southern Rhodesia 1958-1961, with descriptions of four new lizards. Occ. Pap. Nat. Mus. South. Rhodesia 26 (B): 787-843
  • Dobiey, M. & Vogel, G. 2007. Venomous Snakes of Africa/Giftschlangen Afrikas. Edition Chimaira, Terralog 15, 150 pp. - get paper here
  • Duméril, A. M. C., Bibron, G. & DUMÉRIL, A. H. A., 1854. Erpétologie générale ou histoire naturelle complète des reptiles. Tome septième. Deuxième partie, comprenant l'histoire des serpents venimeux. Paris, Librairie Encyclopédique de Roret: i-xii + 781-1536 - get paper here
  • FitzSimons, V. 1959. Some new reptiles from southern Africa and southern Angola. Annals Transvaal Mus. 23:405-409 - get paper here
  • Fleck, Jürgen 2015. Klein, aber fein: Beobachtungen an der Zwergbitis Bitis atropos Terraria-Elaphe 2015 (6): 70-74 - get paper here
  • Herrmann, H. W.; Joger,U.; Lenk,P. & Wink,M. 1999. Morphological and molecular phylogenies of viperines: conflicting evidence?. Kaupia (Darmstadt) (8): 21-30 - get paper here
  • Lenk,P.; Herrmann,H. W.; Joger,U. & Wink,M. 1999. Phylogeny and taxonomic subdivision of Bitis (Reptilia: Viperidae) based on molecular evidence. Kaupia (Darmstadt) (8): 31-38 - get paper here
  • Linnaeus, C. 1758. Systema naturæ per regna tria naturæ, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Tomus I. Editio decima, reformata. Laurentii Salvii, Holmiæ. 10th Edition: 824 pp. - get paper here
  • Mallow, D. Ludwig, D. & Nilson, G. 2003. True Vipers: Natural History and Toxinology of Old World Vipers. Krieger, Malabar, Florida, 410 pp. [review in HR 35: 200, Reptilia 35: 74]
  • McDiarmid, R.W.; Campbell, J.A. & Touré,T.A. 1999. Snake species of the world. Vol. 1. Herpetologists’ League, 511 pp.
  • Phelps, T. 2010. Old World Vipers. Edition Chimaira, Frankfurt, 558 pp. [critical review in Sauria 33 (3): 19 and HR 43: 503]
  • Schätti, B. 1985. Catalogue des types et des exemplaires figurés du Musée d’Histoire Naturelle de Neuchâtel - II. Ophidiens. Bibliotheques et Muses de la Ville de Neuchatel, 1985: 98-108.
  • Smith,A. 1826. On the snakes of Southern Africa. Edinburgh New Philos. J. 1: 248-254
  • Ulber, T.;Ulber, E. 1995. Die Bergotter: eine terraristisch bislang unbekannte Farbvarietät. TI Magazin 1995 (123): 40-43
  • Wallach, Van; Kenneth L. Williams , Jeff Boundy 2014. Snakes of the World: A Catalogue of Living and Extinct Species. Taylor and Francis, CRC Press, 1237 pp.
  • Weima, André 2011. Picture: Bitis atropos. Litteratura Serpentium 31 (2): 120 - get paper here
  • Wittenberg, Rod D. & Robert C. Jadin & Allyson M. Fenwick & Ronald L. Gutberlet Jr. 2014. Recovering the evolutionary history of Africa’s most diverse viper genus: morphological and molecular phylogeny of Bitis (Reptilia: Squamata: Viperidae). Org Divers Evol, DOI 10.1007/s13127-014-0185-3
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