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Vogel's Green Pit Viper
   
   

Fig 1


Fig 2


Fig 3


Fig 4

  

 

Family : VIPERIDAE
Species : Trimeresurus vogeli
Maximum Size : females to 110 cm, males to 80 cm

Vogel's Green Pit Viper was first described in 2001 (David et al, 2001) : prior to that date the species was confused with Stejneger's Pit Viper. This snake, which is endemic to Thailand, has been documented mainly from moist, evergreen forest.

The images presented here are of a large, adult male specimen from Khao Yai National Park, Thailand. The snake was found at night, in low vegetation next to a mountain stream at an elevation of around 800 metres. The species is common in this popular national park (G. Vogel, pers. comm.).

The body, tail and head shape of this species are typical of green pit vipers. Vogel's Green Pit Viper can be quickly distinguished in the field from other, similar, pit vipers by the typical presence of a stripe along the lower flanks (i.e. dorsolateral stripe) which is either white, whitish blue, or whitish yellow. Pale vertebral spots are present in males, and absent in females. (David et al, 2001). Males are typically dark green and females pale green, and the eyes are yellow or yellowish green. Other distinguishing features  require close-up examination of scales and other anatomical features.

The example shown here is identified as a male based on a number of characteristics, but mainly the faint dark crossbands across the dorsum, the thin red stripe beneath the white dorsolateral stripe, and the extreme tip of the tail being reddish.

Vogel's Green Pit Viper is so far only known from  Thailand, having been documented from four provinces east of the capital Bangkok, two of which are adjacent to the Cambodia border. It also occurs in the province of Krabi in the south.


Fig 1 : Male specimen next to a mountain stream.

Fig 2 : Note the faint, dark crossbars across the body.

Fig 3 : In this image, a thin red line is evident beneath the white ventrolateral line : this may be present in some males.

Fig 4 : Close-up of the ventrolateral line and ventral scales.

All images are of the same specimen from Khao Yai National Park, Thailand.


References :

David, P., Vidal, N., & Pauwels, O. S. (2001). A morphological study of Stejneger痴 pitviper Trimeresurus stejnegeri (Serpentes, Viperidae, Crotalinae), with the description of a new species from Thailand. Russian Journal of Herpetology, 8(3), 205-222.


With grateful thanks to Gernot Vogel, after whom the species was named, for correcting the identity of the snake in these images.