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Tropidolaemus laticinctus (KUCH, GUMPRECHT & MELAUN, 2007)

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Higher TaxaViperidae, Crotalinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Broad-banded Temple Pitviper 
SynonymTrimeresurus laticinctus KUCH, GUMPRECHT & MELAUN 2007
Lachesis wagleri variety E — BOULENGER 1896
Lachesis wagleri — BOULENGER 1897 (part)
Trimeresurus wagleri, "bunte, rotgebänderte Form" — AHL 1933
Trimeresurus wagleri — LEVITON 1964 (part)
Tropidolaemus wagleri — HOGE & ROMANO-HOGE 1981 (part)
Tropidolaemus wagleri celebensis — ISKANDAR & COLIJN 2001 (part)
Tropidolaemus wagleri, "red form" — DE LANG & VOGEL 2005
Tropidolaemus subannulatus (celebensis morph 2) — VOGEL 2006
Tropidolaemus wagleri, "red form" — DE LANG & VOGEL 2006
Trimeresurus laticinctus — KOCH 2008
Tropidolaemus laticinctus — WALLACH et al. 2014: 748 
DistributionIndonesia (Sulawesi)

Type locality: between L. Posso and Tomini Bay, Celebes" [= between Lake Poso and Tomini Bay, Province of Sulawesi Tengah, Indonesia.  
TypesHolotype: BMNH (= The Natural History Museum, London, United Kingdom), subadult or adult male, collected by P. & F. Sarasin. Paratypes: ZMB. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: A species of Tropidolaemus, an Asian pitviper genus characterized by strongly keeled gular scales, a splenial that is separate from the angular (Burger 1971), and a unique dorsal scale microdermatoglyphic pattern of rounded cells that are strongly covered with longitudinal parallel lines and comb-like ridges (Hoge & Romano-Hoge 1983; striocristate pattern subtype sensu Price 1982, verified in ZMB 47809). Tropidolaemus laticinctus differs from all congeners by the following combination of characters: lack of pronounced sexual or ontogenetic differences in color pattern; presence of ornate head pattern with brown dorsal markings on green ground that are bordered by cream scales and are largest on the posterior head; wide brown pre- and postocular stripe that extends to lower side of head beyond angle of jaw; ornate labial pattern consisting of brown spots bordered by white or black, on green to cream ground color; conspicuous large brown spot extending from anteroventral corner of eye and posteroventral margin of pit to lower margin of supralabials; lower side of head with similar pattern as dorsal side of head, or mottled with numerous brown and black spots and streaks; dorsal body pattern consisting of broad brick-red to brown rings that may be incomplete dorsally or laterally and are about as wide as or wider than the cream to white interspaces; anterodorsal part of light interspaces of body pattern containing wide green bands; brown rings across belly connected midventrally to form midventral stripe (if brown rings incomplete ventrally, venter heavily spotted, with chessboardlike pattern); base of tail with whitish and brown rings, tip of tail lighter reddish brown with no or only indistinct bands. Tropidolaemus wagleri differs from T. laticinctus in having distinct sexual differences in color pattern, in females undergoing a dramatic ontogenetic color change from a bright green ground color to a largely black and yellow coloration with or without green components, in lacking an extensively patterned venter, and in lacking an ornate labial pattern. Juvenile females of T. wagleri further differ from T. laticinctus in having a dorsal pattern of very narrow red and white bands on bright green ground color and in lacking a dorsal head pattern; male T. wagleri of all ages differ from T. laticinctus in having a dorsal pattern of tiny red and white spots and in lacking a dorsal head pattern. Members of the T. subannulatus complex (including the types of Trimesurus [sic] philippensis Gray, 1842, Trimesurus [sic] subannulatus Gray, 1842, and Trigonocephalus wagleri var. celebensis Gray, 1849) differ from T. laticinctus in lacking a well-defined ornate head pattern with light-bordered dorsal markings and in lacking an ornate labial pattern, in lacking a ventral pattern of brown rings and/or midventral stripe, and in having a dorsal pattern of narrow bands or spots (vs. broad brickred to brown rings). Both sexes of sympatric members of the T. subannulatus complex differ from T. laticinctus in having a uniform or near-uniform green dorsal head color (fig. 8C in KUCH et al. 2007, vs. ornate brown head pattern), a narrower bluish (vs. wide brown) pre- and postocular stripe and largely patternless labial region (fig. 7C, vs. ornate labial pattern), the presence (vs. absence) of well-defined, black-edged ocelli on outer posterior margins of ventral scales (fig. 7C), and an otherwise uniform green to bluish green venter (vs. heavily patterned venter with brown rings and midventral stripe). Sympatric members of the T. subannulatus complex further differ from T. laticinctus in having narrow white and bluish or reddish bands or spots on uniform green ground color (fig. 11C, vs. broad brick-red to brown rings), and in having a tail pattern consisting of narrow bluish bands and wide green interspaces at the base and nearly equidistant, distinct narrow black and white bands on brownish to greyish ground towards the tail tip (fig. 11C, vs. well-defined, approximately equidistant light and brown rings on base of tail, and light reddish brown tail tip with no or only indistinct bands). Adult females of sympatric members of the T. subannulatus complex also differ from the adult female T. laticinctus illustrated by de Lang & Vogel (2005, 2006) in having a yellow to golden (figs. 7C, 11C; vs. reddish) eye color. In characters of scalation, the specimens of the available small series of T. laticinctus (N=5) differ from the examined T. subannulatus complex members from Sulawesi (N=16) in having a slightly convex anterior margin of the mental scale (vs. centrally concave when viewed from the same angle, or indented at the level of the tongue), and in having higher ventral scale counts (139–146 vs. 134–139, respectively). The females of T. laticinctus (N=3) also differ from the majority of examined T. subannulatus complex females from Sulawesi (11 of 13) in having a higher number of dorsal scale rows at midbody (25 vs. 23, respectively). 

Habitat: not arboreal (Harrington et al. 2018). 
  • Ahl, E. 1933. Ergebnisse der Celebes und Halmahera Expedition Heinrich 1930-32. Reptilien und Amphibien. Mit. zool. Mus. Berlin 19: 577-583 [1935]
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1896. Catalogue of the snakes in the British Museum, Vol. 3. London (Taylor & Francis), xiv + 727 pp. - get paper here
  • Gemel, R.; G. Gassner & S. Schweiger 2019. Katalog der Typen der Herpetologischen Sammlung des Naturhistorischen Museums Wien – 2018. Ann. Naturhist. Mus. Wien, B 121: 33–248
  • 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
  • Hoge & Romano-Hoge 1981. Poisonous snakes of the world. Part I. Check list of the pit vipers, Viperoidea, Viperidae, Crotalinae. Mem. Inst. Butantan 42/43 [1978-1979]: 179-309 - get paper here
  • Koch, A. 2011. The Amphibians and Reptiles of Sulawesi: Underestimated Diversity in a Dynamic Environment. In: F.E. Zachos and J.C. Habel (eds.), Biodiversity Hotspots. Springer, Berlin, p. 383-404 - get paper here
  • Koch, A. 2012. Discovery, Diversity, and Distribution of the Amphibians and Reptiles of Sulawesi and its offshore islands. Edition Chimaira, 374 pp. [ISBN 978-3-89973-432-4] - get paper here
  • Koch, Andre 2008. On the type specimens of the recently described Sulawesi pitviper Tropidolaemus laticinctus Kuch, Gumprecht & Melaun 2007 (Squamata: Viperidae). Zootaxa 1721:65-68 - get paper here
  • Kuch, U.; Gumprecht, A. & Melaun, C. 2007. A new species of Temple Pitviper (Tropidolaemus Wagler, 1830) from Sulawesi, Indonesia (Squamata: Viperidae: Crotalinae). Zootaxa 1446: 1–20 - get paper here
  • Lang, Ruud de & Vogel, G. 2006. The Snakes of Sulawesi. Herpetologica Bonnensis II: 35-38 - get paper here
  • Leviton, A.E. 1964. Contributions to a review of Philippine snakes. V. The snakes of the genus Trimeresurus. Philippine J. Sci. 93: 251-276 - get paper here
  • Vogel, G. 2006. Venomous snakes of Asia - Giftschlangen Asiens. Edition Chimaira, Terralog 14, 148 p. - 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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