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Trimeresurus buniana (GRISMER, GRISMER & MCGUIRE, 2006)

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Higher TaxaViperidae, Crotalinae, Colubroidea, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes) 
Common NamesThe Fairy Pitviper 
SynonymPopeia buniana GRISMER, GRISMER & MCGUIRE 2006
Trimeresurus bunianus — DAVID et al. 2009
Trimeresurus (Popeia) buniana — DAVID et al. 2011
Popeia buniana — WALLACH et al. 2014: 575 
DistributionWest Malaysia (Pahang: Pulau Tioman)

Type locality: Tekek-Juara Trail at 2° 49’.18.0”N x 104° 10’28.5”E at 295 m elevation, Pulau Tioman, Pahang State, West Malaysia.  
TypesHolotype: ZRC 2.6176, adult male.
Paratypes: BMNH 

Diagnosis. Popeia buniana is significantly different (p<0.008) from all other species of the popeiorum complex by having more ventral scales (170–174, x=171.8; sd=2.06); the facial pit being closer to the eye (DETP/DETN: 0.22–0.33, x=0.28, sd=0.027); and having a relatively thinner internasal scale (WInN/WsupOc: 0.9–1.2, x=1.08, sd=0.06). Male P. buniana differ from male P. barati, P. popeiorum, and P. sabahi in having significantly fewer subcaudal scales (76–78, x=77.3, sd=1.62). Male P. buniana have a significantly shorter head (HL/SVL; 0.44–0.47, x=0.46, sd=0.023) than that of male P. barati or P. nebularis and they have a significantly longer tail (Tal/TL: 0.22–0.23, x=0.22, sd=0.006) than that of male P. nebularis and P. popeiorum. Male P. buniana differ from male P. barati, P. nebularis, and P. sabahi in having a postorbital stripe as opposed to lacking a stripe; from P. fucata in lacking white, vertebral spots as opposed to having spots; and from P. nebularis in having a bicolored, ventrolateral stripe as opposed to having a white or blue stripe. Female P. buniana differ from female P. barati and P. nebularis in having a white, ventrolateral stripe as opposed to not having stripes. Popeia buniana differs from P. popeiorum in that the ventrolateral stripe covers 50% of the scale in the first dorsal scale row as opposed to covering 100% of the scale [from GRISMER et al. 2006]. 
EtymologyThe specific epithet is derived from the Malay word “bunian”, which is a small, feminine, mischievous, elf or fairy-like spirit believed to inhabit the forests. 
  • Das, I. 2012. A Naturalist's Guide to the Snakes of South-East Asia: Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Myanmar, Borneo, Sumatra, Java and Bali. Oxford J, ohn Beaufoy Publishing - get paper here
  • David, P., Petri, M., Vogel, G. & G. Doria 2009. A new species of pitviper of the genus Trimeresurus (Popeia) from northern Sumatra (REPTILIA, SQUAMATA, VIPERIDAE). Annali del Museo Civico di Storia Naturale "G. Doria", Genova 100: 323-346
  • DAVID, PATRICK; GERNOT VOGEL & ALAIN DUBOIS 2011. On the need to follow rigorously the Rules of the Code for the subsequent designation of a nucleospecies (type species) for a nominal genus which lacked one: the case of the nominal genus Trimeresurus Lacépède, 1804 (Reptilia: Squamata: Viperidae). Zootaxa 2992: 1–51 - get paper here
  • Grismer, L.L. 2011. Amphibians and reptiles of the Seribuat Archipelago. Edition Chimaira, Frankfurt, 239 pp.
  • GRISMER, L.L.; J.L. GRISMER & J.A. MCGUIRE 2006. A new species of pitviper of the genus Popeia (Squamata: Viperidae) from Pulau Tioman, Pahang, West Malaysia. Zootaxa 1305: 1-19 - get paper here
  • Sumontha,M., Kunya,K., S. G. Pauwels,O., Nitikul,A., and Punnadee,S. 2011. Trimeresurus (Popeia) phuketensis, a New Pitviper (Squamata: Viperidae) from Phuket Island, Southwestern Thailand. Russ. J. Herpetol. 18 (3): 11-17 - get paper here
  • 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.
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