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Ovophis monticola (GÜNTHER, 1864)

IUCN Red List - Ovophis monticola - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaViperidae, Crotalinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Chinese Mountain Pit Viper (orientalis: Oriental mountain pitviper, zhaokentangi: Gaoligong mountain pitviper)
G: Berg-Grubenotter
Chinese: 山烙铁头蛇 
SynonymTrimeresurus monticola GÜNTHER 1864: 388
Trimeresurus monticola — ANDERSON 1871: 194
Lachesis monticola — VENNING 1910: 775
Lachesis monticola — DE ROOIJ 1917: 282
Trimeresurus monticola monticola — MELL 1929
Trimeresurus monticola meridionalis BOURRET 1935
Trimeresurus monticola — SMITH 1943: 508
Trimeresurus monticola — HARDING & WELCH 1980
Ovophis monticola meridionalis — HOGE & ROMANO-HOGE 1981
Trimeresurus monticola meridionalis — ISKANDAR 1986
Ovophis monticola monticola — GOLAY et al. 1993
Ovophis monticola monticola — WELCH 1994: 95
Ovophis monticola meridionalis — WELCH 1994: 95
Ovophis monticola — MANTHEY & GROSSMANN 1997: 406
Ovophis monticola — MCDIARMID, CAMPBELL & TOUIRÉ 1999: 316
Trimeresurus monticola — SHARMA 2004
Ovophis monticola — MALHOTRA et al. 2004
Ovophis monticola monticola — GUMPRECHT et al. 2004
Ovophis monticola monticola — ZHAO 2006: 132
Ovophis monticola — WALLACH et al. 2014: 514 
Distributionmonticola: Bangladesh (? not confirmed); India (Assam, Sikkim, West Bengal, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland); Myanmar (Bago, Mandalay, Sagaing and Tanintharyi regions, and Chin, Kachin, Kayah, Kayin, Shan states), Nepal; Bhutan, China (Xizang Autonomous Region, Yunnan Province), S Laos, N/C Vietnam, NE/SW Cambodia, Thailand (southward up to Chumphon Province).

(meridionalis): Cambodia, Laos, West Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam

orientalis: China (Fukien, Chekiang), Hong Kong

Type locality: Nepal and Sikkim.  
TypesSyntypes: BMNH 1946.1.18.76 and 1946.1.19.91 
DiagnosisDIAGNOSIS (DIAGNOSTIC CHARACTERS).— Body stout; snout short, a little more than twice the length of the diameter of the eye; head covered above by small scales rather than large shields, scales usually smooth, feebly imbricate; first upper labial not fused to nasal, completely separated by a suture; body scales, smooth or weakly keeled, in 23–25, occasionally 19 or 21 longitudinal rows at midbody; supraoculars large, 5–9 scales in a line between them; internasals usually not in contact with one another, separated by 2 small suprapostrostral scales; 7–10 upper labials, second usually fused to the scale bordering the facial sensory pit anteriorly, fourth and fifth beneath eye but separated from orbit by 2–4 series of small scales; ventrals and subcaudals (Myanmar, northeastern India and adjacent areas of China and Thailand) 137–176 and 36–62 respectively, subcaudals mixed paired and single, occasionally all unpaired (ventrals and subcaudals for southern China, Vietnam, Laos: 127–144 and 36–54, and Malaysian Peninsula: 133–137 and 22–28 respectively [fide Smith 1943:509]). Total length males 490 mm, females 1100; tail length males 80 mm, females 150 mm. [after LEVITON 2003]

Diagnosis: third supralabial larger than the fourth, paired subcaudals, 135–152 ventral scales (Malhotra et al. 2011, Appendix G) 

Synonymy: Ovophis monticola orientalis has been synonymized with Ovophis makazayazaya.

Subspecies: GOLAY et al. (1993) recognized four subspecies, monticola, convictus, makazayazaya, and zayuensis while DAVID & VOGEL (1996) mentioned only 3 (monticola, orientalis, and zhaokentangi). MCDARMID et al. (1999) didn’t explicitely adopt any of these arrangements by listing all of these forms in the synonymy of monticola. However, they “prefer to treat zayuensis as a subspecies of O. monticola.” Ovophis monticola zayuensis (JIANG 1977) is treated here as a full species. Ovophis (monticola) convictus (STOLICZKA, 1870) is listed here as a valid species.

Type species: Trimeresurus monticola Günther 1864 is the type species of the genus Ovophis Burger in Hoge and Romano-Hoge, 1981:246. However, the genus Ovophis was not supported in a recent DNA analysis by TU et al. (2000).

Types: The name-bearing type specimens of Trimeresurus monticola meridionalis Bourret, 1935 are shown to be composed of two primary syntypes that are referable to Ovophis monticola (Günther, 1864) as currently conceived, and a secondary syntype that belongs to Ovophis convictus (Stoliczka, 1870). David & Vogel 2012 selected one of the primary syntypes from northwestern Vietnam as the lectotype of T. monticola meridionalis Bourret, 1935 and fixed the status of this taxon as a junior subjective synonym of Ovophis monticola.

The original description is available online (see link below).

Distribution: not in Hong Kong fide Francis 2021. 
EtymologyThe species name, ‘monticola’, is Latin for ‘inhabitant of the mountains’ (Latin “colere” = inhabiting). 
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