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Atheris katangensis DE WITTE, 1953

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Higher TaxaViperidae, Viperinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Katanga Mountain Bush Viper 
SynonymAtheris katangensis DE WITTE 1953: 301
Atheris katangensis — WELCH 1994: 21
Atheris katangensis — BROADLEY 1998: 125
Atheris katangensis — MCDIARMID, CAMPBELL & TOURÉ 1999: 356
Atheris katangensis — DOBIEY & VOGEL 2007
Atheris katangensis — WALLACH et al. 2014: 62
Atheris katangensis — PIETERSEN et al. 2021 
DistributionS Democratic Republic of the Congo (= Zaire: Katanga), Zambia

Type locality: Mubale-Munte, Upemba National Park, Zaire.  
TypesHolotype: IRSNB 2207 
DiagnosisDescription. Rostral three times as broad as deep, surmounted by three suprarostrals, the outer ones largest (the middle one may be split into three,two small ones below a larger one: Fig. 1h); 5 or 6 slightly rugose internasals Nasals separated from eye by 2 or 3 scales. Dorsal and lateral headshields strongly keeled, keels terminating in a knob, 9-11 interorbital scales and 20-22 across back of head between posterior supralabials. Eye moderate, its vertical diameter subequal to its distance from the lip, usually separated from the 9-12 supralabials only by the 14-17 circumorbitals. Mental about one and a half times as wide as long, infralabials 11, the flrst pair in contact behind the mental, followed by a pair of large sublinguals and five rows of gulars (the outer ones keeled) anterior to the first ventral. Dorsals keeled and pointed, the keel terminating at the tip, 23-31 rows at midbody lateral rows often duplicated and rows 4-6 very feebly serrated; ventrals
133-144; subcaudals 38-49 (Broadley 1998).

Colouration. Pale brown to olive or purple brown above, with a vertebral series of dark-bordered and dark-centred yellowish rhombic markings, tail tip yellow. Ventrum yellow anteriorly, sometimes becoming grey-green posteriorly,about every third ventral with a yellow lateral spot and a few ventrals with short black transverse bars (Broadley 1998). 

Habitat: trees (arboreal) 
EtymologyNamed after the type locality. 
  • 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
  • Broadley, Donald G. and F. P. D. Cotterill. 2004. The reptiles of southeast Katanga, an overlooked 'hot spot'. [Congo]. African Journal of Herpetology 53 (1): 35-61. - get paper here
  • Chifundera, K. 1990. Snakes of Zaire and their bites. Afr. Stud. Monogr. (Kyoto) 10(3): 137-157.
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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. [type catalogue] 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]
  • Pietersen, Darren, Verburgt, Luke & Davies, John 2021. Snakes and other reptiles of Zambia and Malawi. Struik Nature / Penguin Random House South Africa, 376 pp., ISBN 9781775847373
  • WAGNER, P. 2018. Erstnachweis von Atheris katangensis de Witte, 1953 außerhalb ihrer Typuslokalität. Sauria 40 (3): 67-70 - 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.
  • Witte, G. F. de 1953. Reptiles. Exploration du Parc National de l'Upemba. Mission G. F. de Witte en collaboration avec W. Adam, A. Janssens, L. Van Meel et R. Verheyen (1946–1949). Institut des Parcs Nationaux du Congo Belge. Brussels, vol. 6, 322 pp. - get paper here
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