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Cladus: Eukaryota
Supergroup: Opisthokonta
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Cladus: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Classis: Reptilia
Subclassis: Diapsida
Infraclassis: Lepidosauromorpha
Superordo: Lepidosauria
Ordo: Squamata
Subordo: Serpentes
Infraordo: Caenophidia
Superfamilia: Viperoidea
Familia: Viperidae
Subfamilia: Crotalinae
Genus: Bothriechis
Species: B. aurifer - B. bicolor - B. lateralis - B. marchi - B. nigroviridis - B. rowleyi - B. schlegelii - B. thalassinus


Bothriechis Peters, 1859

Vernacular Names
Deutsch: Palmlanzenottern
English: Palm Vipers

Bothriechis is a genus of venomous pitvipers found predominantly in Mexico and Central America, although one species, B. schlegelii, ranges as far south as Colombia and Peru. All members are relatively slender and arboreal. The name Bothriechis is derived from the Greek words bothros and echis that mean "pit" and "viper" respectively.[3] Nine species are currently recognized and no subspecies.[4]


Species that belong to this genus typically reach lengths of 60-80 cm, while B. aurifer, B. bicolor and B. lateralis are known to grow to 1 m or more.[3]

General characteristics include a sharply defined canthus rostralis, an unelevated snout, a rostral scale that is not as high as it is broad, and a prehensile tail that accounts for at least 15% of the body length.[3]

The color pattern usually consists of a green ground color that may or may not include pale or dark markings. B. schlegelii is an exception to this rule.[3]

Geographic range

Occurs in southern Mexico (southeastern Oaxaca and the northern highlands of Chiapas), through Central America to northern South America (Colombia, western Venezuela, Ecuador and northern Peru.[1]


As a general rule, species found above 1,500 m altitude tend to be diurnal, while those found below 1,000 m tend to be active at night. Those found between 1,000 and 1,500 m may be active at any time of the day.[3]


Bothriechis venom is primarily a haemotoxin which causes severe pain, swelling, bleb formation, bruising, and quite often necrosis. If untreated it can lead to loss of a limb, or even death. Each year several farmers and plantation workers are bitten by eyelash vipers, sometimes resulting in fatalities. Wyeth in the United States and Instituto Clodomiro Picado in Costa Rica both manufacture different polyvalent antivenins which can be used to treat eyelash viper envenomations.


Species[4] Taxon author[4] Common name[3] Geographic range[1]
B. aurifer (Salvin, 1860) Yellow-blotched palm-pitviper Mexico, in the mountains of eastern Chiapas, in northern Guatemala. Occurs in cloud forest at 1200-2300 m altitude.
B. bicolor (Boucourt, 1868) Guatemalan palm-pitviper The Pacific slope of southeastern Chiapas in Mexico, eastward to south-central Guatemala. Also known from several locations in Honduras, including the southern part of the Sierra del Merendón and Cerro Santa Bárbara. Occurs in cloud forests at 500-2000 m altitude.
B. lateralis Peters, 1862 Side-striped palm-pitviper The mountains of Costa Rica and western Panama, including the Cordillera de Tilarán, the Cordillera Central and the Cordillera de Talamanca to the provinces of Chiriquí Province and Veraguas. Occurs at 850-980 m altitude.
B. marchi (Barbour & Loveridge, 1929) Honduran palm-pitviper The Atlantic versant of northwestern Honduras and eastern Guatemala. Occurs in mesic forest at elevations of 500-1500 m altitude.
B. nigroviridisT Peters, 1859 Black-speckled palm-pitviper The mountains of Costa Rica and Panama. Also found in the cloud forests of the Cordillera Central and the Cordillera de Talamanca at 1150-2400 m altitude.
B. rowleyi (Bogert, 1968) Mexican palm-pitviper Mexico in southeastern Oaxaca and northern Chiapas. Occurs in cloud forests at 1500-1830 m altitude.
B. schlegelii (Berthold, 1846) Eyelash palm-pitviper From southern Mexico (northern Chiapas), southeastward on the Atlantic slope and lowlands through Central America to northern South America in Colombia and Venezuela. Also found on the Pacific versant and lowlands in parts of Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. Occurs in mesic forest at elevations almost from sea level to 2640 m altitude.
B. supraciliaris (Taylor, 1954) Blotched palm-pitviper Only found in a mountainous area in southwestern Costa Rica. Occurs in lower montane wet forest and cloud forest at elevations from 800 m to 1,700 m.[5]
B. thalassinus Campbell & Smith, 2000 Merendon palm-pitviper Guatemala, Honduras at 1370–1750 m altitude.

T type species[1]


A new species from Guatemala and Honduras, B. thalassinus, was described by Campbell & Smith (2000). Campbell and Lamar (2004) recognize this species, as well as a ninth addition to the genus: B. supraciliaris, which was first described by Taylor (1954) as a subspecies of B. schlegelii, and is found in southwestern Costa Rica.[3]

See also

* List of crotaline species and subspecies
* Crotalinae by common name
* Crotalinae by taxonomic synonyms
* Snakebite


1. ^ a b c d McDiarmid RW, Campbell JA, Touré T. 1999. Snake Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference, vol. 1. Herpetologists' League. 511 pp. ISBN 1-893777-00-6 (series). ISBN 1-893777-01-4 (volume).
2. ^ Mehrtens JM. 1987. Living Snakes of the World in Color. New York: Sterling Publishers. 480 pp. ISBN 0-8069-6460-X.
3. ^ a b c d e f g h Campbell JA, Lamar WW. 2004. The Venomous Reptiles of the Western Hemisphere. Comstock Publishing Associates, Ithaca and London. 870 pp. 1500 plates. ISBN 0-8014-4141-2.
4. ^ a b c "Bothriechis". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. http://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=585650. Retrieved 2 November 2006.
5. ^ Solórzano, Alejandro; Luis D. Gómez, Julián Monge-Nájera, Brian I. Crother (1998). "Redescription and validation of Bothriechis supraciliaris". Revista de Biología Tropical 46 (2): 1001–1013. ISSN 0034-7744. http://www.scielo.sa.cr/scielo.php?pid=S0034-77441998000200029&script=sci_arttext.

Further reading

* Campbell JA, Smith EN. 2000. A new species of arboreal pitviper form the Atlantic versant of northern Central America. Revista de Biologia Tropical, 48:1001-1013.
* Cope ED. 1860 (dated 1859). Catalogue of the venomous serpents in the museum of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, with notes on the families, genera and species. Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia 11: 332-347[338].
* Peters W. 1859. Über die von Hrn. Dr. Hoffmann in Costa Rica gesammelten und an das Königl. Zoologische Museum gesandten Schlangen. Monatsberichte der Preussischen Akademie Wissenschaften zu Berlin 1859: 275-278[278].
* Posada Arango. 1889. Anales de la Academia de Medicina de Medellin 2: 45-49[47].
* Posada Arango. 1889. Bulletin de la Société Zoologique de France. Paris. 14: 343-345[343].
* Salvin O. 1860. On the reptiles of Guatemala. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1860: 451-461[459].
* Taylor EH. 1954. Further studies on the serpents of Costa Rica. University of Kansas Science Bulletin 36(11): 673-801.

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