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Montatheris hindii (BOULENGER, 1910)

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Higher TaxaViperidae, Viperinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Kenya Montane Viper 
SynonymVipera hindii BOULENGER 1910: 513
Bitis hindii BOULENGER 1910
Vipera hindii — LOVERIDGE 1936: 44
Hindius hindii — REUSS 1939 (nom. nud.)
Atheris hindii — MARX & RABB 1965
Atheris hindii — WELCH 1994: 21
Montatheris hindii — BROADLEY 1996
Montatheris hindii — MCDIARMID, CAMPBELL & TOURÉ 1999: 386
Montatheris hindii — DOBIEY & VOGEL 2007
Montatheris hindii — WALLACH et al. 2014: 457
Montatheris hindii — SPAWLS et al. 2018: 594 
DistributionKenya (Mt. Kenya and the Aberdare range), elevation up to 3500 m.

Type locality: Aberdare Mountains, Kenya Colony;  
TypesHolotype: BMNH 1946.1.18.10 (formerly BMNH 1908.9.17.7). 

Loveridge (1957) described the range as "The Kingangpop and Aberdare Mountains, Kenya". Other authors (Welch, 1982; Pook, 1990) have repeated this. Spawls (1990) found this to be literally incorrect since Kingangpop is not a mountain range, but rather an area of plateau and valley that lie 500 m below and to the southwest of the Aberdare moorlands. Spawls stated that while there are no records of M. hindii from this region it is not impossible that it is found there. An area of montane forest/dwarf bamboo lies between the summits of the Aberdares and Kingangpop and may act as a natural barrier (Spawls 1990; cited after M. Jacobi, pers. comm.)

Type species: Vipera hindii BOULENGER 1910: 513 is the type species of the genus Montatheris BROADLEY 1996.

Phylogenetics: for a recent phylogeny of this and related Viperinae see Šmíd & Tolley 2019.

Conservation: one of the 30 most endangered viper species (Maritz et al. 2016). 
EtymologyNamed after the collector, Dr. Sidney Langford Hinde (1863-1931), Medical Officer in British East Africa. 
  • Angel, Fernand 1925. Résultats Scientifiques. Vertebrata. Reptiles et Batraciens. [Mabuia (Mabuiopsis) jeanneli, Lygosoma graueri quinquedigitata, Ablepharus massaiensis]. In: Voyage de Ch. Alluaud et R. Jeannel en Afrique Orientale (1911-1912). - Paris, 2: 1-63.
  • Beolens, Bo; Michael Watkins, and Michael Grayson 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA - get paper here
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1910. Descriptions of four new African snakes in the British Museum. [Helicops gendri]. Ann. Mag. nat. Hist. (8) 5: 512- 513 - get paper here
  • Broadley, D.G. 1996. A review of the tribe Atherini (Serpentes: Viperidae), with the descriptions of two new genera. African Journal of Herpetology 45: 40-48. - get paper here
  • Demos, Terrence C., Bernard Agwanda and Edward A. Myers. 2013. Montatheris hindii (Kenya montane viper) diet. Herpetological Review 44 (3): 524-525 - get paper here
  • Dobiey, M. & Vogel, G. 2007. Venomous Snakes of Africa - Giftschlangen Afrikas. Edition Chimaira, Terralog 15, 150 pp. - get paper here
  • Ionides, CJ.P. & C.R.S. PITMAN 1965. Notes on two East-African venomous snake populations: Echis carinatus pyramidium (Geoffroy), Egyptian Saw-Scaled Viper and Vipera hindii Boulenger, Montane Viper. J. E. Afr. nat. Hist. Soc. natn. Mus. 25 (2-111): 116-121.
  • Kramer, E. 1961. Uber zwei afrikanische Zwergpuffottem, Bitis hindii (Boulenger, 1910) und Bitis superciliaris (Peters, 1854). Vierteljschr. naturf. Ges. Zürich 106: 419-423.
  • Loveridge, A. 1936. African reptiles and amphibians in the Field Museum of Natural History. Zool. Ser. Field Mus. Nat. Hist., Chicago, 22 (1): 1-122 - get paper here
  • Loveridge, Arthur 1929. East African reptiles and amphibians in the United States National Museum. Bull. US Natl. Mus. (151): 1-135 - get paper here
  • Mallow, D. Ludwig, D. & Nilson, G. 2003. True Vipers: Natural History and Toxinology of Old World Vipers. Krieger, Malabar, Florida, 410 pp. [review in HR 35: 200, Reptilia 35: 74]
  • Maritz, Bryan; Johannes Penner, Marcio Martins, Jelka Crnobrnja-Isailović, Stephen Spear, Laura R.V. Alencar, Jesús Sigala-Rodriguez, Kevin Messenger, Rulon W. Clark, Pritpal Soorae, Luca Luiselli, Chris Jenkins, Harry W. Greene 2016. Identifying global priorities for the conservation of vipers. Biological Conservation, doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2016.05.004 - get paper here
  • Marx, H. & G.B. RABB 1965. Relationships and zoogeography of the viperine snakes (Family Viperidae). Fieldiana: Zoology 44 (21): 161-206 - 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.
  • Meek, Seth Eugene;Cory, Charles B. 1910. Batrachians and reptiles from British East Africa. Publication of the Field Museum of Natural history 7 (11): 403-414 - get paper here
  • O’Shea, M. 2018. The Book of Snakes. Ivy Press / Quarto Publishing, London, - get paper here
  • Phelps, T. 2010. Old World Vipers. Edition Chimaira, Frankfurt, 558 pp. [critical review in Sauria 33 (3): 19 and HR 43: 503]
  • Reuss,T. 1939. Berichtigungen und Ergänzungen zu meinen Arbeiten über Toxicophidier, 1938. Z. Aquar. Terr. Ver. 1: 14
  • Spawls, S. 1990. Further comments on Atheris. British Herpetological Society Bulletin 34: 44-45
  • Spawls, S.; Howell, K.; Drewes, R.C. & Ashe, J. 2002. A field guide to the reptiles of East Africa. Academic Press, 543 pp. [reviews in HR 34: 396 and Afr. J. Herp. 51; 147] - get paper here
  • Spawls, Steve; Kim Howell, Harald Hinkel, Michele Menegon 2018. Field Guide to East African Reptiles. Bloomsbury, 624 pp. - get paper here
  • Šmíd, Jiří;, & Krystal A. Tolley 2019. Calibrating the tree of vipers under the fossilized birth-death model. Scientific Reports 9:5510 - get paper here
  • Ukuwela, K.D.B., de Silva, A., Sivaruban, A. et al. 2022. Diversity, distribution, and natural history of the marine snakes of Sri Lanka. Marine Biodiversity 52, 24 (2022) - 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.
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