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Bitis heraldica (BOCAGE, 1889)

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Higher TaxaViperidae, Viperinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Angolan adder; Bocage's Horned Adder (after FRANK & RAMUS 1995). 
SynonymVipera heraldica BOCAGE 1889
Bitis heraldica — HARDING & WELCH 1980
Bitis heraldica — WELCH 1994: 27
Bitis heraldica — MCDIARMID, CAMPBELL & TOURÉ 1999: 364
Bitis heraldica — DOBIEY & VOGEL 2007
Bitis (Calechidna) heraldica — WITTENBERG et al. 2014
Bitis heraldica — WALLACH et al. 2014: 93
Bitis (Calechidna) heraldica — BARLOW et al. 2019
Bitis (Macrocerastes) heraldica — CERIACO et al. 2020 
DistributionC Angola

Type locality: “affluents du Cunene, entre Ie 13° et 14° parallele al'est de Caconda." [Calai River (tributary of the Kunene), Cacanda, Angola].  
TypesHolotype: MB 2127 (Museu Bocage, destroyed). 

Synonymy: Sometimes considered to be synonymous with Bitis peringueyi BOULENGER 1896.

Photo in KUCHARZEWSKI 2011.

This species is hornless.

Distribution: see map in Ceriaco et al. 2020: Fig. 1. 
EtymologyThe word heráldica is borrowed from the French word héraldique, which means "heraldic". Heraldry is the practice of devising, blazoning, and granting armorial insignia. In Latin it comes from the Latin word heraldus. It references the unique pattern of the head of the species which resembles a specific symbol which appeared on the coat-of-arms in France. Per Bocage's original description, "Le dessus de la tête se fait remarquer par un dessin fort complique dont la pièce centrale rapelle le symbole héraldique de la fleur de lys [The top of the head is distinguished by a very complicated design, the central piece of which recalls the heraldic symbol of the fleur-de-lys]". (The fleur-de-lis was the symbol of Île-de-France, the core of the French kingdom. It has appeared on the coat-of-arms of other historical provinces of France.) [courtesy of Masud Salimian] 
  • Barlow A, Wüster W, Kelly CMR, Branch WR, Phelps T, Tolley KA. 2019. Ancient habitat shifts and organismal diversification are decoupled in the African viper genus Bitis (Serpentes: Viperidae). J Biogeogr. 46: 1234– 1248 - get paper here
  • Bauer, A. M., Ceríaco, L. M. P., Marques, M. P., & Becker, F. S. 2023. Highland reptiles of Angola and Namibia. Namibian Journal of Environment, 8, 259-276 - get paper here
  • Bocage, J.V.B. de 1889. Mélanges erpétologiques. II. Sur une vipère apparemment nouvelle d'Angola. Journ. Sci., Lisboa (2), 2: 127-128 - get paper here
  • Ceríaco, Luis MP; Krystal A Tolley, Mariana P Marques, Matthew P Heinicke & Aaron M Bauer 2020. A dwarf among giants: phylogenetic position of the elusive Angolan Adder (Bitis heraldica) and biogeographic affinities of Angolan Afromontane regions,. African Journal of Herpetology, DOI: 10.1080/21564574.2020.1782484 - 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
  • Dobiey, M. & Vogel, G. 2007. Venomous Snakes of Africa - Giftschlangen Afrikas. Edition Chimaira, Terralog 15, 150 pp. - get paper here
  • Gonçalves, F M P; Braine, D; Bauer, A M; Valério, H M; Marques, M P & Ceríaco, L M P; 2019. Rediscovery of the poorly known Angola Adder, Bitis heraldica (Bocage, 1889) (Serpentes: Viperidae): new records, live photographs, and first case history of envenomation. Herpetological Review 50 (2): 241-246 - get paper here
  • KUCHARZEWSKI, C 2011. OLD WORLD VIPERS. A natural history of the Azemiopinae and Viperinae von Tony PHELPS – Anmerkungen, Ergänzungen, Korrekturen. Sauria 33 (3): 19-42 - get paper here
  • Marques, Mariana P.; Luis M. P. Ceríaco , David C. Blackburn , and Aaron M. Bauer 2018. Diversity and Distribution of the Amphibians and Terrestrial Reptiles of Angola -- Atlas of Historical and Bibliographic Records (1840–2017). Proc. Cal. Acad. Sci. (Ser. 4) 65: 1-501 (Supplement II)
  • Martínez del Mármol, G. 2020. The phenotypic variability of the Genus Bitis Gray 1842, with remarks in its resemblance to other vipers. In: Martínez, G., León, R., Jiménez-Robles, O., González De la Vega, J. P., Gabari, V., Rebollo, B., Sánchez-Tójar, A., Fernández-Cardenete, J. R., Gállego, J. (Eds.). Amphibians and Reptiles of Morocco and Western Sahara - get paper here
  • McDiarmid, R.W.; Campbell, J.A. & Touré,T.A. 1999. Snake species of the world. Vol. 1. [type catalogue] Herpetologists’ League, 511 pp.
  • Mertens, R. 1958. Bitis heraldica, eine oft verkannte Otter aus Angola. Senckenbergiana biologica 39 (3/4): 145-148
  • Phelps, T. 2010. Old World Vipers. Edition Chimaira, Frankfurt, 558 pp. [critical review in Sauria 33 (3): 19 and HR 43: 503]
  • 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.
  • 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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