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Lachesis melanocephala SOLÓRZANO & CERDAS, 1986

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Higher TaxaViperidae, Crotalinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Subspecies 
Common NamesE: Black-headed bushmaster
G: Schwarzkopf-Buschmeister 
SynonymLachesis muta melanocephala SOLÓRZANO & CERDAS 1986
Crotalus mutus LINNAEUS 1766 (part.)
Lachesis mutus — DAUDIN 1803 (part.)
Lachesis muta melanocephala — WELCH 1994: 69
Lachesis melanocephala — ZAMUDIO & GREENE 1997
Lachesis melanocephala — MCDIARMID, CAMPBELL & TOURÉ 1999: 312
Lachesis melanocephala — SAVAGE 2002
Lachesis melanocephala — WALLACH et al. 2014: 355 
DistributionSW Costa Rica (Pacific coast, especially Osa peninsula), NW Panama

Type locality: "tropical rainforest 9 km northern [sic] of Ciudad Neily in southeastern Provincia de Puntarenas, Costa Rica."  
Reproductionoviparous 
TypesNeotype: UCR (given as MZUCR) 23185, adult male, designated by Solórzano & Sasa 2020. Holotype: ICP (also as MICP, Universidad de Costa Rica) 301, apparently now lost; paratypes: MICP 302–307. Entiauspe-Neto 2021 stated that the neotype designation by Solórzano & Sasa (2020) is invalid as it did not clarify the taxonomic status or the type locality (Article 75.3.1). 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. Distinguished from other species of Lachesis by having the dorsum of the head completely black. 
CommentVenomous!

Distribution: see maps in González-Maya et al. 2014, Solórzano & Sasa 2020, and Barrio-Amorós et al. 2020 (Fig. 28). 
EtymologyThe specific name melanocephala is derived from the Greek melanos (= black) and kephalos (= head), an allusion to the solid black top of the head in this species. 
References
  • Barrio-Amorós, Cesar L.; Greivin Corrales, Sylvia Rodríguez , Jaime Culebras, Quetzal Dwyer, Diego Alejandro Flores 2020. The Bushmasters (Lachesis spp.): Queens of the rainforest. An overview of the taxonomy, distribution, natural history, lore, and conservation of the largest vipers in the world. IRCF Reptiles & Amphibians 27 (3): 358-381 - get paper here
  • De Plecker, R. and Dwyer, Q. 2020. First breeding of the black-headed bushmaster (Lachesis melanocephala) in Costa Rica. Herpetological Review 51: 57-64. - get paper here
  • Dwyer, Q. & M. Perez 2009. Geographic distribution: Lachesis melanocephala. Herpetological Review 40 (1): 114 - get paper here
  • ENTIAUSPE-NETO, O. M. 2021. Damsel in distress: is the nomenclature of Lachesis melanocephala Solórzano & Cerdas, 1986 (Serpentes, Viperidae) in need of rescue? Bionomina, 24(1): 51-53
  • Fernandes, D.S.; Franco, F.L. & Fernandes, R. 2004. Systematic revision of the genus Lachesis DAUDIN 1803 (Serpentes: Viperidae). Herpetologica 60 (2): 245-260 - get paper here
  • González-Maya, José; Fernando Castañeda, Rufino González, Jesús Pacheco, and Gerardo Ceballos 2014. Distribution, Range Extension, and Conservation of the Endemic Black-headed Bushmaster (Lachesis melanocephala) in Costa Rica and Panama. Herp. Cons. Biol. 9 (2): 369-377 - get paper here
  • Laita, Mark 2013. Serpentine. Abrams and PQ Blackwell, Auckland, New Zealand, 200 unnumbered pages
  • McDiarmid, R.W.; Campbell, J.A. & Touré,T.A. 1999. Snake species of the world. Vol. 1. [type catalogue] Herpetologists’ League, 511 pp.
  • O’Shea, M. 2018. The Book of Snakes. Ivy Press / Quarto Publishing, London, - get paper here
  • Porras, L.W. & Solórzano, A. 2006. Costa Rica’s venomous snakes. Reptilia (GB) (48): 11-17 - get paper here
  • Porras, L.W. & Solórzano, A. 2006. Die Schlangen Costa Ricas. Reptilia (Münster) 11 (61): 20-27 - get paper here
  • Savage, J.M. 2002. The Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica: A Herpetofauna Between Two Continents, Between Two Seas. University of Chicago Press, 934 pp. [review in Copeia 2003 (1): 205]
  • Solorzano, A. 2004. Serpientes de Costa Rica - Snakes of Costa Rica. Editorial INBio, Costa Rica, 792 pp.
  • Solórzano,A. & CERDAS,L. 1986. A new subspecies of the bushmaster, Lachesis muta, from Southeastern Costa Rica. Journal of Herpetology 20 (3): 463-466 - 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.
  • Zamudio, KELLY R. & HARRY W. GREENE 1997. Phylogeography of the bushmaster (Lachesis muta: Viperidae): implications for neotropical biogeography, systematics, and conservation. Biol. J. Linnean Soc. 62 (3): 421-442 - get paper here
 
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