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Lachesis muta (LINNAEUS, 1766)

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Higher TaxaViperidae, Crotalinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: South American Bushmaster
G: Südamerikanischer Buschmeister
rhombeata: Atlantic Forest bushmaster
NL: Bosmeester
Portuguese: Bico-de-Jaca, Cobra-Topete, Cuiama-Pina, Daya, Pico-de-Jaca, Surucucu, Surucucu-Bico-de-Jaca, Surucucu-Cospe-Fogo, Surucucu-de-Fogo, Surucucu-Pico-de-Jaca, Surucucu-Rabo-de-Mucura, Surucucutinga, Surucutinga, Verrugosa
S: Cuaima; Guayma concha de piña 
SynonymCrotalus mutus LINNAEUS 1766: 373
Coluber crotalinus GMELIN 1789: 1094
Scytale catenatus LATREILLE in SONNINI and LATREILLE 1802: 162
Scytale ammodytes LATREILLE in SONNINI and LATREILLE 1802: 165
Coluber alecto SHAW 1802: 405
Lachesis mutus — DAUDIN 1803: 351
Lachesis ater — DAUDIN 1803: 354
Trigonocephalus ammodytes — OPPEL 1811: 390
Cophias crotalinus — MERREM 1820: 144
Trigonocephalus crotalinus — SCHINZ 1822: 144
Lachesis muta — SCHINZ 1822: 144
Lachesis atra — SCHINZ 1822: 144
Scytale catenata — SCHINZ 1822: 144
Bothrops Surucucu WAGLER 1824: 59
Bothrops Sururucu WAGLER 1824 (misspelled in FRANZEN & GLAW 2007: 262)
Lachesis rhombeata WIED 1824
Crasedocephalus crotalinus — GRAY 1825: 205
Lachesis mutus — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1854: 1485
Craspedocephalus brasiliensis — WUCHERER 1863: 243
Trigonocephalus (Lachoesis) brasiliensis LIAIS 1872: 306
Trigonocephalus rhumbeatus — LIAIS 1872: 306
Lachoesis rhumbeata — LIAIS 1872: 306
Lachesis muta — BEEBE 1946: 47
Lachesis muta — HARDING & WELCH 1980
Lachesis muta — VILLA et al. 1988
Lachesis mutus — BOULENGER 1896: 534
Lachesis muta muta — TAYLOR 1951: 184
Lachesis muta noctivaga HOGE 1966
Lachesis muta muta — PETERS & OREJAS-MIRANDA 1970: 136
Lachesis muta muta — DUELLMAN 1978: 265
Lachesis muta rhombeata — HOGE & ROMANO 1978: 54
Lachesis muta — MCDIARMID, CAMPBELL & TOURÉ 1999: 312
Lachesis muta — GORZULA & SEÑARIS 1999
Lachesis muta muta — BOOS 2001
Lachesis muta — WALLACH et al. 2014: 355
Lachesis muta rhombeata — MARQUES et al. 2016
Lachesis muta — NOGUEIRA et al. 2019 
DistributionColombia, E Ecuador, Brazil (Minas Gerais, Acre, Amapéa, amazonas, Pará, Rondonia, Mato Grosso, Goiás, Alagoas, Ceará, Pernambuco, Paraíba, Bahia, Espírito Santo, Rio de Janeiro, Roraima), Venezuela, Suriname, French Guiana, Guyana, Trinidad, NE/E Peru, N Bolivia

rhombeata: Brazil (Alagoas, Bahia, Rio de Janeiro, Ceará; Espirito Santo, Zona da Mata of Minas Gerais State, Bahia, Alagoas, Sergipe, Pernambuco, Paraiba, Rio Grande do Norte (CAMPBELL & LAMAR 2004, Rodrigo C.G de Souza, pers. comm.).

Type locality: Suriname; restricted to Vitória, ES, Brazil, by FERNANDES et al. 2004.  
Reproductionoviparous; one of the few snakes that show a form of parental care. After laying eggs in underground burrows it remains curled around them for some time. 
TypesHolotype: NRM = NHRM. According to Andersson 1899: 27, there are two jars labeled as Crotalus horridus, one of which contains a head in rather bad condition which does not belong to any Crotalus and "possibly it is the head of a Lachesis mutus." (McDiarmid et al. 1999); Type unknown fide PETERS 1960.
Holotype: ZSM, uncatalogued specimen(s) (lost), “Habitat non rarus in Brasiliae sylvis humidis ac densis sub arborum fronde delapsa” [Brazil] according to the original description and Vanzolini (1981), collected by Spix and Martius expedition to Brazil, 1817-1820 [Surucucu] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Distinguished from L. stenophrys and L. melanocephala by having more ventral scales (215–234 in females and 213– 236 in males), compared to 197–211 in females and 198–204 in males of L. stenophrys and 211–214 in females and 209–214 in males of L. melanocephala. Additionally, the head of L. muta is not uniformly black as in L. melanocephala, but has dark blotches over much of its surface; the head of L. stenophrys is nearly immaculate. The dorsal blotches in Lachesis muta do not form vertical bars laterally as in L. stenophrys and L. melanocephala.

Diagnosis (genus): The only oviparous New World crotaline genus. Dorsal scales verrucate, parietals tuberculate, hemipenes with more than 70 spines per lobe, and twice-divided distal subcaudals.

The diagnostic external morphological features of the genus include tuberculate, almost pyramidal dorsal scales and the twice-divided distal subcaudal scales (Campbell and Lamar 1989).

See also Barrio-Amorós et al. 2020 for another description and images of key characters. 

Synonymy: Lachesis muta has been split into three separate species by Zamudio & Greene 1997. Synonymy mainly after PETERS & OREJAS-MIRANDA 1970 and FERNANDES et al. (2004), who reject any subspecies in L. muta.

Type species: Lachesis mutus is the type species of the genus Lachesis DAUDIN 1803.

Distribution: see map in Barrio-Amorós et al. 2020 (Fig. 28). See map in Nogueira et al. 2019. 
EtymologyThe specific name muta is from the Latin mutus(= mute), probably a reference to the species’ superficial simi-larity with rattlesnakes in the genus Crotalus, to which the species was originally assigned by Linnaeus (1766); but lack-ing a rattle it was presumed to be silent or mute (Barrio-Amorós et al. 2020). 
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