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Lachesis melanocephala SOLÓRZANO & CERDAS, 1986

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Higher TaxaViperidae, Crotalinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
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."  
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. 

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. 
  • 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
  • Solórzano, A., & Sasa, M. 2020. Redescription of the snake Lachesis melanocephala (Squamata: Viperidae): Designation of a neotype, natural history, and conservation status. Revista de Biología Tropical, 68(4), 1384-1400 - 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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