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Atheris chlorechis (PEL, 1852)

IUCN Red List - Atheris chlorechis - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaViperidae, Viperinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common Names 
SynonymVipera chlorechis PEL 1852: 172
Vipera chloroechis — SCHLEGEL 1855: 317
Toxicoa chloroechis — COPE 1859: 341
Echis chloroechis — JAN 1863: 122
Atheris polylepis PETERS 1864: 642
Atheris chlorechis — PETERS 1864: 645
Atheris chloroechis [sic] — BRISCOE 1949
Atheris squamiger chlorechis — HARDING & WELCH 1980
Atheris chloroechis [sic]— MATTISON 1995: 159
Atheris chlorechis — BROADLEY 1998: 125
Atheris chlorechis — MCDIARMID, CAMPBELL & TOURÉ 1999: 355
Atheris chlorechis — RÖDEL & MAHSBERG 2000
Atheris chloroechis [sic] — MATTISON 2007: 161
Atheris chlorechis — WALLACH et al. 2014: 61
Atheris chlorechis — SENTER & CHIPPAUX 2022 
DistributionGuinea (Conakry), Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Nigeria, Cameroon

Type locality: Butre, Ghana (designated by HUGHES & BARRY 1969)  
TypesLectotype: RMNH 1648 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (genus): Habitus slender, body laterally compressed, with high ventral and subcaudal counts and a short square head. Dorsal head scales small to moderate, more or less keeled; rostral fragmented, so that a wide shallow rostral is surmounted by 2-8 suprarostrals between the nasals and below the transverse series of internasals that marks the beginning of the dorsal surface of the head; transverse dorsal scale rows with frequent duplications or fusions as one moves from ventrum to dorsum; subcaudals single. Palatine-pterygoid articulation a simple overlapping joint; intra-pulmonary bronchus short (Broadley 1998). 

Type species: Vipera chlorechis PEL 1851 is the type species of the genus Atheris COPE 1862. Williams and Wallach 1989 list Toxicoa squamata COPE 1859 as the type species of the genus Atheris COPE 1862. See McDiarmid et al. 1999: 353 for a discussion of this issue.

Synonymy: Kaiser et al. 2013 considered the generic name Woolfvipera Hoser 2012 invalid and rejected its use instead of Atheris.

Habitat: trees (arboreal)

Phylogenetics: for a recent phylogeny of this and related Viperinae see Šmíd & Tolley 2019.

Key: Ceriaco et al. 2020 provide an updated key to all species of Atheris.

Distribution: probably Benin (Hughes 2013) 
EtymologyNamed after Greek “chloros” = green, fresh, and Greek “echis” = snake.

The genus name is from Greek “athér” for the ear of corn, or generally “tip”, referring to the pointed scales. ICZN Opinion 1634 (1991:84) states that Atheris is feminine, although Cope and others disagreed. 
  • Akeret, B. 2010. Terrarienpflanzen. Draco 11 (41): 4-21 - get paper here
  • Böhme, Wolfgang, Mark-Oliver Rödel, Christian Brede & Philipp Wagner 2011. The reptiles (Testudines, Squamata, Crocodylia) of the forested southeast of the Republic Guinea (Guinée forestière), with a country-wide checklist. Bonn zoological Bulletin 60 (1): 35-61 - get paper here
  • Branch, W.R. & Rödel, M.-O. 2003. Herpetological survey of the Haute Dodo and Cavally forests, western ivory Coast, Part II: Trapping, results and reptiles. Salamandra 39 (1): 21-38 - get paper here
  • Briscoe, M.S. 1949. Notes on Snakes Collected in Liberia. Copeia 1949 (1): 16-18 - get paper here
  • Broadley, D.G. 1989. Atheris Cope 1862 (Reptilia, Serpentes): proposed conservation, and proposed confirmation of Vipera chlorechis Pel [1851] as the valid name of the type species. Bull. zool. Nomenclature 46 (4): 264-266 - get paper here
  • Broadley, D.G. 1998. A review of the genus Atheris Cope (Serpentes: Viperidae), with the description of a new species from Uganda. The Herpetological Journal 8: 117-135. - get paper here
  • Ceríaco, Luis M. P.; Mariana P. Marques and Aaron. M. Bauer. 2020. The Bush Vipers, Genus Atheris Cope, 1862 (Squamata: Viperidae) of Bioko Island, Gulf of Guinea, with the Description of A New Species. Zootaxa 4838 (4): 581–593 - get paper here
  • Chippaux, Jean-Philippe & Kate Jackson 2019. Snakes of Central and Western Africa. Johns Hopkins University Press, 448 pp. [detaileld review in HR 51 (1): 161] - get paper here
  • Cope, E.D. 1860. Catalogue of the venomous serpents in the Museum of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, with notes on the families, genera and species. Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia 1859: 332-347 - get paper here
  • Cope, E.D. 1862. Notes upon some reptiles of the Old World. Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia 14: 337-344 - get paper here
  • Dobiey, M. & Vogel, G. 2007. Venomous Snakes of Africa - Giftschlangen Afrikas. Edition Chimaira, Terralog 15, 150 pp. - get paper here
  • Ernst, R. & Rödel, M. O. 2002. A new Atheris species (Serpentes: Viperidae), from Taï National Park, Ivory Coast. The Herpetological Journal 12: 55-61 - 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
  • Hoser, R.T. 2012. A division of the African tree viper genus Atheris Cope, 1860 into four subgenera (Serpentes: Viperidae). Australasian J. Herpetol. 12:32–35. - get paper here
  • Hughes, B. 2013. Snakes of Bénin, West Africa. Bull. Soc. Herp. France 144: 101-159
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  • ICZN 1991. Opinion 1634: Atheris Cope 1862 (Reptilia, Serpentes): conserved. Bull. Zool. Nomenclature 48 (1): 84 - get paper here
  • Jan, G. 1863. Elenco Sistematico degli Ofidi descriti e disegnati per l'Iconografia Generale. Milano, A. Lombardi. vii + 143 pp. - get paper here
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  • Menzies, J.I. 1966. The snakes of Sierra Leone. Copeia 1966 (2): 169-179. - get paper here
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  • PAUWELS, OLIVIER; LAURENT CHIRIO & WOUTER DEKONINCK. 2022. Diet records for snakes from Guinea, West Africa. Bulletin of the Chicago Herpetological Society 57(6): 117–123. - get paper here
  • Pel, H.S. 1852. Over de jagt aan de Goudkust, volgens eene tienjarige eigene ondervinding. Ned. Tijdschr. Jagtkunde. 1: 149-173
  • Peters, Wilhem Carl Hartwig 1864. Eine neue Art der Baumvipern, Atheris polylepis, aus Liberia. Monatsber. königl. Akad. Wiss. Berlin. 1864 (November): 642-64 - get paper here
  • Phelps, T. 2010. Old World Vipers. Edition Chimaira, Frankfurt, 558 pp. [critical review in Sauria 33 (3): 19 and HR 43: 503]
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  • Rödel, M.O. 1999. Über die Folgen eines Bisses von Atheris chlorechis (Pel, 1851). Herpetofauna 21 (123): 21-24 - get paper here
  • Schlegel, H. 1855. Over eenige nieuwe soorten van vergiftige slangen van de Goudkust. Verslagen en Mededeelingen der Koninklijke Akademie van Wetenschapen Amsterdam, (Afdeeling Natuurkunde), 3: 312- 317
  • Segniagbeto GLazcano. H., Trape J. F., David P., Ohler A., Dubois A. & Glitho I. A. 2011. The snake fauna of Togo: systematics, distribution and biogeography, with remarks on selected taxonomic problems. Zoosystema 33 (3): 325-360. DOI: 10.5252/z2011n3a4 - get paper here
  • Senter, P. J., & Chippaux, J. P. 2022. Biogeography of snakes in Liberia: Review and synthesis of current knowledge. Ghana Journal of Science, 63(1), 29-62 - get paper here
  • Šmíd, Jiří;, & Krystal A. Tolley 2019. Calibrating the tree of vipers under the fossilized birth-death model. Scientific Reports 9:5510 - get paper here
  • TRAPE, JEAN-FRANÇOIS & CELLOU BALDÉ 2014. A checklist of the snake fauna of Guinea, with taxonomic changes in the genera Philothamnus and Dipsadoboa (Colubridae) and a comparison with the snake fauna of some other West African countries. Zootaxa 3900 (3): 301–338 - get paper here
  • Wallach, Van; Kenneth L. Williams , Jeff Boundy 2014. Snakes of the World: A Catalogue of Living and Extinct Species. [type catalogue] Taylor and Francis, CRC Press, 1237 pp.
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