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Protobothrops kaulbacki (SMITH, 1940)

IUCN Red List - Protobothrops kaulbacki - Data Deficient, DD

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Higher TaxaViperidae, Crotalinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Kaulback’s lance-headed pitviper
G: Kaulbacks Grubenotter
Chinese: 缅北原矛头蝮 
SynonymTrimeresurus kaulbacki SMITH 1940: 485
Trimeresurus kaulbacki — SMITH 1943: 512
Trimeresurus kaulbacki — WELCH 1994: 117
Protobothrops kaulbacki — KRAUS et al. 1996
Protobothrops kaulbacki — LEVITON et al. 2003
Protobothrops kaulbacki — GUMPRECHT et al. 2004
Protobothrops kaulbacki — WALLACH et al. 2014: 572 
DistributionN Myanmar (= Burma), China (Yunnan ?), India (Arunachal Pradesh, Papum Pare District)

Type locality: Pangnamdim, north of the Triangle, Upper Burma.  
Reproductionoviparous (Smith 1940) 
TypesHolotype: BMNH 1946.1.19.23–24); 1943:512 
DiagnosisDIAGNOSIS (DIAGNOSTIC CHARACTERS). Scales in 23–25 longitudinal rows at midbody; body elongate, head long, massive, with narrow snout; canthus rostralis sharp; single large, squarish loreal; first upper labial completely separated from nasal by a suture; second upper labial anteriorly bordering facial pit; 8–10 scales in line between supraoculars; supraoculars usually single, flat, without a vertical projection; dull grayish or olive green with large, blackish rhombohedral dorsal blotches, either distinct or united to one another; smaller spots on sides; symmetrical yellow lines on head; subcaudals paired; ventrals 201–212; subcaudals 66–78, some of the anterior scutes may be single, others paired; hemipenes with spines. Total length males 1340 mm, females 1410 mm; tail length males 225 mm, females 230 mm. [after LEVITON 2003] 

Distribution: see map in Guo et a. 2016: 383 (Fig. 1). Possibly in Yunnan (China) but records from there are questionable (Wang et al. 2022).

Habitat: partly arboreal (Harrington et al. 2018). 
EtymologyNamed after Lieutenant-Colonel Ronald John Henry Kaulback (1909-1995), a British intelligence officer, botanist and explorer who travelled extensively in Myanmar, Tibet, and China. The name has also been spelled s “Kaulbach”, e.g. in the National Portrait Gallery, London. 
  • Beolens, Bo; Michael Watkins, and Michael Grayson 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA - get paper here
  • Bhide, K.S.; Captain, A.; Bhatt, B.B.; Gumprecht, A. & Tillack, F. 2008. Protobothrops kaulbacki (SMITH). Sauria 30 (2): 2 - get paper here
  • Dowling, H.G., & Jenner, J.V. 1988. Snakes of Burma: checklist of reported species and bibliography. Smithsonian Herp. Inf. Serv. (76): 19 pp. - get paper here
  • Gumprecht, A.; Tillack, F.; Orlov, N.L.; Captain, A. & Ryabow, S. 2004. Asian pitvipers. Geitje Books, Berlin, 368 pp.
  • Guo, Peng, Anita Malhotra, Pi P. Li, Catharine E. Pook and Simon Creer. 2007. New evidence on the phylogenetic position of the poorly known Asian pitviper Protobothrops kaulbacki (Serpentes: Viperidae: Crotalinae) with a redescription of the species and a revision of the genus Protobothrops. The Herpetological Journal 17 (4):237-247 - get paper here
  • GUO, PENG; QIN LIU, TAO WEN, RONG XIAO, MING FANG, GUANGHUI ZHONG, NGUYEN Q. TRUONG, FEI ZHU, ROBERT C. JADIN, CAO LI 2016. Multilocus phylogeny of the Asian Lance-headed pitvipers (Squamata, Viperidae, Protobothrops). Zootaxa 4093 (3): 382–390 - get paper here
  • Harrington, Sean M; Jordyn M de Haan, Lindsey Shapiro, Sara Ruane 2018. Habits and characteristics of arboreal snakes worldwide: arboreality constrains body size but does not affect lineage diversification. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 125 (1): 61–71 - get paper here
  • Leviton, Alan E.; Guinevere O.U. Wogan; Michelle S. Koo; George R. Zug; Rhonda S. Lucas and Jens V. Vindum 2003. The Dangerously Venomous Snakes of Myanmar Illustrated Checklist with Keys. Proc. Cal. Acad. Sci. 54 (24): 407–462 - get paper here
  • Orlov, Nikolai L.; Sergei A. Ryabov, and Nguyen Thien Tao 2009. Two New Species of Genera Protobothrops Hoge et Romano-Hoge, 1983 and Viridovipera Malhotra et Thorpe, 2004 (Ophidia: Viperidae: Crotalinae) from Karst Region in Northeastern Vietnam. Part I. Description of a New Species of Protobothrops Genus. Russ. J. Herpetol. 16 (1): 69-82 - get paper here
  • PAN, Hujun; Basundhara CHETTRI, Daode YANG, Ke JIANG, Kai WANG, Liang ZHANG and Gernot VOGEL 2013. A New Species of the Genus Protobothrops (Squamata: Viperidae) from Southern Tibet, China and Sikkim, India. Asian Herpetological Research 4 (2): 109–115 - get paper here
  • Rao D. & Zhao E. 2005. A NEW RECORD FROM CHINA-PROTOBOTHROPS KAULBACKI (REPTILIA, SERPENTES, VIPERIDAE). Acta Zootaxonomica Sinica 2005 30 (1), 209 - 211
  • Smith, M.A. 1940. The Amphibians and Reptiles obtained by Mr. Ronald Kaulback in Upper Burma. Records of the Indian Museum 42: 465-486 - get paper here
  • Smith, M.A. 1943. The Fauna of British India, Ceylon and Burma, Including the Whole of the Indo-Chinese Sub-Region. Reptilia and Amphibia. 3 (Serpentes). Taylor and Francis, London. 583 pp.
  • Vasaruchapong, T., Laoungbua, P., Tangrattanabul, K., Tawan, T. and Chanhome, L. 2017. Protobothrops mucrosquamatus (Cantor, 1839), A highly venomous species added to the snake fauna of Thailand (Squamata: Viperidae). Tropical Natural History 17 (2): 111-115 - 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.
  • Wang K, Lyu ZT, Wang J, Qi S, Che J 2022. Updated Checklist and Zoogeographic Division of the Reptilian Fauna of Yunnan Province, China. Biodiversity Science 30 (4): 21326, 1–31 - get paper here
  • Wang, Kai; Jinlong Ren, Hongman Chen, Zhitong Lyu, Xianguang Guo Ke Jiang, Jinmin Chen, Jiatang Li, Peng Guo, Yingyong Wang, Jing Che 2020. The updated checklists of amphibians and reptiles of China. Biodiversity Science 28 (2): 189-218 - get paper here
  • YANG, JIAN-HUAN; NIKOLAI L. ORLOV & YING-YONG WANG 2011. A new species of pitviper of the genus Protobothrops from China (Squamata: Viperidae). Zootaxa 2936: 59–68 - get paper here
  • Zhao, E.M. 2006. The snakes of China [in Chinese]. Hefei, China, Anhui Sience & Technology Publ. House, Vol. I, 372 pp., Vol. II (color plates), 280 pp.
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