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Ophryacus undulatus (JAN, 1859)

IUCN Red List - Ophryacus undulatus - Vulnerable, VU

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Higher TaxaViperidae, Crotalinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Slender-horned Pitviper, Mexican Horned Pit Viper
S: Cornuda Mexicana 
SynonymTrigonocephalus (Atropos) undulatus JAN 1859
Teleuraspis undulatus — GARMAN 1884: 126
Ophryacus undulatus — FERRARI-PÉREZ 1886 (nom. nud.)
Lachesis undulatus BOULENGER 1896
Trimeresurus undulatus — SMITH 1941: 63
Ophryacus undulatus — CAMPBELL & LAMAR 1989: 311
Ophryacus undulatus — LINER 1994
Ophryacus undulatus — WELCH 1994: 95
Ophryacus undulatus — MCDIARMID, CAMPBELL & TOURÉ 1999: 314
Ophryacus undulatus — JADIN et al. 2011
Ophryacus undulatus — WALLACH et al. 2014: 508 
DistributionMexico (Guerrero, Oaxaca: Sierra Madre Oriental, Mesa del Sur, Sierra Madre del Sur; Puebla, Hidalgo, Veracruz)

Type locality: "Messico" [Mexico]. Proposed restriction to "Orizaba, Veracruz, Mexico" by Smith and Taylor, 1950: 350.  
TypesSyntypes: lost, formerly MSNM (2), Milan Museum, lost during WW II (S. Scali, pers. comm., cited in GRÜNWALD et al. 2015). 
DiagnosisDefinition and diagnosis: Rostral broader than high, moderately to distinctly concave; three preoculars, upper largest and undivided, middle not fused with supralacunal, lower small, somewhat excluded from margin of orbit; three to four supraoculars along dorsal margin of eye including supraocular spine; ten to 13 supralabials; lip margin not scalloped; nine to 14 infralabials; single scale above eye forming long, relatively slender spine, slightly compressed to sub- circular in cross section, not occupying most of dorsal margin of orbit, tip pointed; adjacent scales along dorsal ocular margin often also modified, projecting slightly; canthals and internasals often raised into short spines or with especially high keels; scales in the supraocular region small and keeled; ten to 20 (usually 12–18) intersupraoculars; top of head covered with small scales, most having tubercular keels; second supralabial usually separated from prelacunal by single small subfoveal; subocular and supralabial series separated by two to four rows of small, roundish scales; 21 mid-dorsal scale rows; mid- dorsals at midbody not noticeably broad, obtusely rounded; keel generally extending to tip of scale or nearly so, apical pits not apparent; free portion of apex of dorsal scales moderate in extent, barely over- lapping contiguous scale; interstitial epidermal fold at cranial end of scale well developed; 157–178 ventrals; 37–57 subcaudals, divided; tail spine straight, about as long as preceding two to three subcaudals, pointed or obtusely rounded.
Frontal bones with concave dorsal surface, strongly elevated margins, moderately longer than wide; post- frontals moderate in size, not contacting frontal, comprising about equal amount of dorsal perimeter of orbit as parietals; posterolateral edges of dorsal surface of parietals forming distinct flat shelf continu- ing onto parietal as a raised ridge; junction between parietal and pro-otic irregular, not particularly angular; anterior portion of ectopterygoid possessing a shallow depression on medial side accommodating attachment of ectopterygoid retractor muscle; ectop- terygoid noticeably longer than expanded, flattened base of pterygoid (posterior to articulation with ectop- terygoid) with flat shaft tapering posteriorly; apex of choanal process positioned at about midlength on palatine, process moderately reduced in height, apex broadly rounded; dorsal surface of parietal roughly triangular; zero to one (usually zero) palatine teeth, seven to ten pterygoid teeth, seven to nine dentary teeth; pterygoid teeth extending to level of articula- tion of pterygoid with ectopterygoid; maxillary fang relatively short, only slightly longer than height of maxilla; fang at rest extending to level of suture between supralabials 7 and 8; splenial and angular bones fused; haemapophyses in contact distally.
Dorsum with zig-zag pattern; ground colour olive- brown, green, or grey, sometimes orange or yellow pigment present; dorsal scales usually finely mottled or speckled with black [from JADIN et al. 2011]. 

Habitat: forests

Synonyms: Bothrops sphenophrys SMITH 1960 has been removed from the synonymy of O. undulatus by GRÜNWALD et al. 2015.

Sympatry: O. sphenophrys and O. undulatus have been collected within 7 km of one another.

Type species: Trigonocephalus undulatus JAN 1859 is the type species of the genus Ophryacus COPE 1887. 
EtymologyEtymology (genus): The generic name is derived from the Greek ophrys, meaning brow, and the Latin acus, meaning pointed, obviously in reference to the distinctive supraocular spine-like scale. 
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  • Jan, G. 1859. Plan d'une iconographie descriptive des ophidiens et description sommaire de nouvelles espèces de serpents. Rev. Mag. Zool., Paris (2) (11-12): 122-130 - get paper here
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