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Trimeresurus puniceus (BOIE, 1827)

IUCN Red List - Trimeresurus puniceus - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaViperidae, Crotalinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Ashy Pit Viper, Flat-nosed pitviper 
SynonymCophias punicea BOIE 1827: 561
Vipera punicea SCHLEGEL 1826: 239 (nomen nudum)
Atropos puniceus — WAGLER 1830
Trigonocephalus puniceus — SCHLEGEL 1837
Atropos acontia (nec Vipera acontia LAURENTI 1768) — GRAY 1842
? Atropos puniceus — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1854: 1519
Atropophis puniceus — PETERS 1872
Bothrops puniceus — LIDTH DE JEUDE 1890
Trimeresurus puniceus — BOETTGER 1892
Lachesis puniceus — BOULENGER 1896
Lachesis puniceus — DE ROOIJ 1917: 286
Trimeresurus puniceus — GRANDISON 1972: 97
Trimeresurus puniceus — HARDING & WELCH 1980
Trimeresurus puniceus — WELCH 1994: 115
Trimeresurus puniceus — COX et al. 1998: 24
Trimeresurus puniceus — MCDIARMID, CAMPBELL & TOURÉ 1999: 341
Trimeresurus puniceus — TU et al. 2000
Trimeresurus puniceus — MALHOTRA & THORPE 2004
Trimeresurus (Craspedocephalus) puniceus — DAVID et al. 2011
Craspedocephalus puniceus — WALLACH et al. 2014: 188
Craspedocephalus puniceus — GUO et al. 2018 
DistributionIndonesia (Java, Sumatra, Simalur, Mentawai, Natuna Archipelago)

Type locality: “Java”  
TypesSyntypes: RMNH 1557 and RMNH 1558a–b, all females; Based on a specimen in the "Musee des Pays-Bas" and possibly a description in the unpublished manuscript titled Erpetologie de Java. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. A species of the genus Trimeresurus from Java Island and South Sumatra, characterized by the combination of the following characters: (1) an overall grey or brown pattern with 20–30 darker crossbands, distinctly related to the sex: in males, background colour in various shades of grey or yellowish-brown, with darker, irregular, constricted, dorsolateral blotches, often heavily powdered with cream and dark dots, giving an “ashy”1293 or lichen-like appearance; in females, pattern much less contrasted in shades of grey or yellowhish-brown with more or less brown subrectangular dorsolateral blotches; males are more brightly colored, with a more complex and contrasted pattern than females, but not overally darker or lighter than females; (2) a distinctly projected and raised snout, strongly obliquely truncated when seen from the side, rounded or subrectangular seen from above; (3) internasals normal or weakly bilobate, either sligthly raised or upturned, or flat; (4) 21 or 23 (rarely 19) DSR at midbody; (5) 1st supralabial distinct from nasal; (6) 2nd supralabials never bordering the loreal pit, topped by a prefoveal scale; (7) 2–5 small, distinctly raised supraoculars; (8) VEN: 153–167, SC: 41–59; (9) occipital and temporal scales distinctly keeled in both sexes; (10) IL of the first pair not in contact each with the other; (11) hemipenes short, reaching 11–13th SC, nearly entirely spinose [from DAVID et al. 2006]. 
CommentVenomous! The relationships of this species with T. borneensis and T. brongersmai are still under discussion (see these species). Old Bornean reports of Trimeresurus puniceus often refer to T. borneensis (both species are very similar). Not in Thailand fide GUMPRECHT & BULIAN 2003.

Habitat: fully arboreal (Harrington et al. 2018). 
  • Boie, F. 1827. Bemerkungen über Merrem's Versuch eines Systems der Amphibien, 1. Lieferung: Ophidier. Isis von Oken 20: 508-566. - get paper here
  • Cox, Merel J.; Van Dijk, Peter Paul; Jarujin Nabhitabhata & Thirakhupt,Kumthorn 1998. A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. Ralph Curtis Publishing, 144 pp.
  • Das, I. 2012. A Naturalist's Guide to the Snakes of South-East Asia: Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Myanmar, Borneo, Sumatra, Java and Bali. Oxford J, ohn Beaufoy Publishing - get paper here
  • DAVID, PATRICK; GERNOT VOGEL & ALAIN DUBOIS 2011. On the need to follow rigorously the Rules of the Code for the subsequent designation of a nucleospecies (type species) for a nominal genus which lacked one: the case of the nominal genus Trimeresurus Lacépède, 1804 (Reptilia: Squamata: Viperidae). Zootaxa 2992: 1–51 - get paper here
  • David, Patrick; Vogel, Gernot; Vijayakumar, S.P.; Vidal, Nicolas 2006. A revision of the Trimeresurus puniceus – complex (Serpentes: Viperidae: Crotalinae) based on morphological and molecular data. Zootaxa 1293:1-78 - get paper here
  • David,P. & Vogel, G. 1996. The snakes of Sumatra. An annotated checklist and key with natural history notes. Bücher Kreth, Frankfurt/M.
  • de Rooij, N. DE 1917. The Reptiles of the Indo-Australian Archipelago. Il. Ophidia. Leiden (E. J. Brill), xiv + 334 S. - get paper here
  • Grandison, A.G.C. 1972. The Gunong Benom Expedition 1967. 5. Reptiles and amphibians of Gunong Benom with a description of a new species of Macrocalamus. Bull. Br. Mus. nat. Hist. (Zool.), London, 23: 45-101.
  • Gumprecht, A.; Tillack, F.; Orlov, N.L.; Captain, A. & Ryabow, S. 2004. Asian pitvipers. Geitje Books, Berlin, 368 pp.
  • Gumprecht,A. 2001. Die Bambusottern der Gattung Trimeresurus Lacépède Teil IV: Checkliste der Trimeresurus-Arten Thailands. Sauria 23 (2): 25-32 - get paper here
  • Gumprecht,A. & K. Tepedelen 1999. Die Bambusottern der Gattung Trimeresurus Lacépède Teil III: Die Java Palmenotter Trimeresurus puniceus (F. Boie 1827). Sauria 21 (4): 25-36 - get paper here
  • Guo, P.; Jadin, R.C.; Malhotra, A. & Li, C. 2009. An investigation of the cranial evolution of Asian pitvipers (Serpentes: Crotalinae), with comments on the phylogenetic position of Peltopelor macrolepis. Acta Zoologica 91: 402-407 - get paper here
  • Guo, Peng; Qin Liu, Guanghui Zhong, Fei Zhu, Fang Yan, Ting Tang, Rong Xiao, Min Fang, Ping Wang and Xin Fu 2015. Cryptic diversity of green pitvipers in Yunnan, South-west China (Squamata, Viperidae). Amphibia-Reptilia 36 (3): 265 - 276 - 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
  • Koetze, J. 2008. Trimeresurus puniceus. Lacerta 66 (1-3): 80-91 - get paper here
  • Kopstein, F. 1938. Ein Beitrag zur Eierkunde und zur Fortpflanzung der Malaiischen Reptilien. Bull. Raffles Mus. No 14: 81-167
  • Lang, Ruud de 2017. The Snakes of Java, Bali and Surrounding Islands. Edition Chimaira, Frankfurt am Main, Germany, 435 pp. - 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.
  • Orlov, N.; Ananjeva, N.; Barabanov, A.; Ryabov, S. & Khalikov, R. 2002. Diversity of vipers (Azemiopinae, Crotalinae) in East, Southeast, and South Asia: annotated checklist and natural history data (Reptilia: Squamata: Serpentes: Viperidae). Faun. Abh. Mus. Tierk. Dresden 23: 177-218
  • O’Shea, M. 2018. The Book of Snakes. Ivy Press / Quarto Publishing, London, - get paper here
  • Ryabov, Sergei A., Nicolai L. Orlov, Dmitry J. Panteleev and Konstantin A. Shiryaev. 2003. Trimeresurus hageni, Trimeresurus puniceus, and Trimeresurus sumatranus (Ophidia: Viperidae: Crotalinae): The data on reproductive biology and methods of captive breeding in laboratory conditions. Russ. J. Herpetol. 9 (3): 243-254 [2002] - get paper here
  • Smith, M. A. 1928. Two Vipers New to Siam. J. Nat. Hist. Soc. Siam 7: 194 - get paper here
  • TEYNIÉ, ALEXANDRE; PATRICK DAVID, & ANNEMARIE OHLER 2010. Note on a collection of Amphibians and Reptiles from Western Sumatra (Indonesia), with the description of a new species of the genus Bufo. Zootaxa 2416: 1–43 - get paper here
  • Tu, M.-C. et al. 2000. Phylogeny, Taxonomy, and Biogeography of the Oriental Pitvipers of the Genus Trimeresurus (Reptilia: Viperidae: Crotalinae): A Molecular Perspective. Zoological Science 17: 1147–1157 - 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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