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Craspedocephalus gramineus (SHAW, 1802)

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Higher TaxaViperidae, Crotalinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Common Bamboo Viper
G: Grüne Bambusotter, Gewöhnliche Bambusotter 
SynonymColuber gramineus SHAW 1802: 420
Coluber viridis BECHSTEIN 1802: 252
Vipera viridis DAUDIN 1803 (fide SMITH 1943)
Trimeresurus elegans GRAY 1853: 391 (fide STEJNEGER 1907)
Trimeresurus viridis — BEDDOME 1862 (fide SMITH 1943)
Trimeresurus gramineus — GÜNTHER 1864: 385
Trimeresurus gramineus — BOULENGER 1890: 429
Lachesis graminaeus — BOULENGER 1896: 554
Lachesis gramineus — DE ROOIJ 1917: 285
Trimeresurus gramineus — SMITH 1943: 515
Trimeresurus gramineus — MENTHEY 1983
Trimeresurus gramineus — WELCH 1994: 115
Trimeresurus gramineus — MCDIARMID, CAMPBELL & TOURÉ 1999: 334
Trimeresurus gramineus — GUMPRECHT et al. 2004
Trimeresurus gramineus — MALHOTRA & THORPE 2004
Trimeresurus (Craspedocephalus) gramineus — DAVID et al. 2011
Craspedocephalus gramineus — GUMPRECHT 2012
Craspedocephalus gramineus — WALLACH et al. 2014: 187
Craspedocephalus gramineus — GUO et al. 2018
Craspedocephalus gramineus — MALLIK et al. 2021: 603 
DistributionS India (Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra (Tung fort, Ulhas valley, Valvan, Harishchandragad fort) [A. Captain, pers. Comm.], Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Tripura)

Type locality: Vizagapatam, India [17°41’N; 83°13’E]. (based on RUSSELL 1796)  
TypesHolotype: iconotype, based on pl. 9 ("Bodroo Pam") in Russell, 1796: 13. Paratypes: (probably) BMNH 1946.1.17.64, 1946.1.17.65, 1946.1.17.68, 1946.1.17.72, 1946.1.18.82, 1946.1.19.87 
DiagnosisLineage diagnosis. A cryptic lineage (L1) belonging to the C. gramineus complex, it is distinguished from C. occidentalis (L2) as follows: lower ventral scale count 158–179 (vs.142–154). It is genetically divergent from C. occidentalis by 8.1 % and 1.0 % at cyt b and 16S respectively. This lineage is far more widespread than its parapatric sister taxon C. occidentalis, occuring almost throughout peninsular India from Odisha in the east, southern Gujarat to the north-west and as far south as the Srivilliputhur hills (Mallik et al. 2021).

Description of referred material (n=11). A species with a slender, cylindrical body of snout to vent length (SVL) up to 679 mm and a prehensile tail; dorsal scales keeled with anterior dorsal scale rows (DSR) 19–21, mid body scale rows (MSR) 19–21 and posterior scale rows (PSR) 15; head prominent, clearly distinguished from the neck with small, juxtaposed scales on the head; rostral scale sub triangular with the upper side roughly one fourth the size of the lower side with the tip visible from above; supraoculars separated by 8–11 scales, between the posterior edge of the supraocular scales; canthus rostralis distinct with three to four canthal scales on the ridge; two to three preoculars, two to three postoculars and a thin elongated crescent shaped subocular; eye with a distinct elliptical pupil; temporal scales mildly keeled; aperture of the nostril completely covered by the nasal scale, undivided and subrectangular; nasal scale bordering the first supralabial; loreal pit present in contact with the second supralabial with two scales between the nasal and the second supralabial; 10–12 supralabials and 11–13 infralabials, with 9–13 scales between the last supralabial, including the last supralabial up to the start of the ventral scales; ventrals 158–179, laterally separated from the dorsal scale rows by a slightly broader row of dorsal scales anal scale undivided, divided subcaudals 54–67; terminal scale on the tail larger than the previous scale, blunt at the tip (Mallik et al. 2021).

Colour in life. Head and dorsum colour from verdant green to leaf green, sometimes bluish green with black, alternating saddle shaped markings on the dorsum; preocular/ temporal stripe in black, sometimes green fading into black; ventrals with bright yellow, creamish yellow to a dirty white colour; the region where the ventrals meet the dorsum alternating with the ventral colour once every 2–3 scales (Mallik et al. 2021).

Craspedocephalus (Trimeresurus in my 2004 paper): possession of hemipenis with intermediate length lobes, covered to the tip with numerous long thin spines. 

Synonymy: STEJNEGER (1907) synonymizes Trigonocephalus erythrurus CANTOR, 1839 with Trimeresurus gramineus. Kaiser et al. 2013 considered the generic names Adelynhoserea Hoser 2012, Oxyus Hoser 2012 invalid and rejected their use instead of Trimeresurus. Trimeresurus occidentalis has been resurrected from synonymy by Mallik et al. 2021.

Distribution: Possibly in Bhutan (Lenz 2012).

Subspecies: Trimeresurus gramineus barati and T. g. sabahi have been elevated to species status.

Distribution: Not in Pakistan fide KHAN 2002 (pers. comm.). Not listed for the Nicobars by VIJAYAKUMAR & DAVID 2006. Not in China fide VOGEL 2006. Populations previously now belonging to other species have been identified as this species, which has resulted in reports from Pakistan, Nepal, S China, Taiwan, Andaman Islands, Nicobar Islands, Philippine Islands (fide MANTHEY 1983).

Type species: Vipera viridis Daudin, 1803 used to be considered as the type species of the genus Trimeresurus Lacépède, 1804:209. T. gramineus is also the type species of Trimeresurus LACÉPÈDE 1804 sensu strictu based on a reclassification suggested by MALHOTRA & THORPE 2004. This genus would be then diagnosed by the possession of a Type 2 spinose hemipenis, and were distributed in the ‘‘Indian subcontinent’’ (including Sri Lanka), and the Indomalayan region. However, DAVID et al. 2011 designated T. insularis as type species of the genus Trimeresurus.

Habitat: fully arboreal (Harrington et al. 2018). 
EtymologyStuebing & Inger (1999) state that the generic name is derived from “Tri” = three, “mere” = part, and “surus” from Greek “[o]ura” = tail (compare Urodela). The name may have been chosen by Lacépède (1804) because of the tripartite pattern of the snake’s tail. 
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