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Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Superphylum: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Cladus: Craniata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Cladus: Reptiliomorpha
Cladus: Amniota
Classis: Reptilia
Cladus: Eureptilia
Cladus: Romeriida
Subclassis: Diapsida
Cladus: Sauria
Infraclassis: Lepidosauromorpha
Superordo: Lepidosauria
Ordo: Squamata
Subordo: Serpentes
Infraordo: Caenophidia
Superfamilia: Viperoidea

Familia: Viperidae
Subfamilia: Crotalinae
Genus: Bothrops
Species: B. alcatraz - B. alternatus - B. ammodytoidesB. asper - B. atrox - B. barnetti – B. bilineatus – B. brazili - B. caribbaeus – B. chloromelas – B. colombiensis – B. cotiara – B. diporus – B. erythromelas - B. fonsecaiB. insularis – B. itapetiningae – B. jararaca – B. jararacussu – B. jonathani – B. lanceolatus – B. leucurus – B. lutzi – B. marajoensis – B. marmoratus – B. mattogrossensis – B. medusa – B. monsignifer – B. moojeni – B. muriciensis – B. neuwiedi – B. oligobalius – B. oligolepis – B. osbornei – B. otavioi – B. barnetti – B. pauloensis – B. pictus – B. pirajai – B. barnetti – B. pubescens – B. pulcher – B. punctatus – B. sanctaecrucis – B. sazimai – B. sonene – B. taeniatusB. venezuelensis


Bothrops Wagler, 1824

Synonym: Bothriopsis Peters, 1861

Primary references

Wagler, J. 1824: Serpentum Brasiliensium species novae, ou histoire naturelle des espèces nouvelles de serpens. In: Jean de Spix, Animalia nova sive species novae. Natrix bahiensis: 27, Monaco, Typis Franc. Seraph. Hübschmanni, vii + 75 pp.

Additional references

Barbo, F.E., Gasparini, J.L., Almeida, A.P., Zaher, H., Grazziotin, F.G., Gusmão, R.B., Ferrarini, J.M.G. & Sawaya, R.J. 2016. Another new and threatened species of lancehead genus Bothrops (Serpentes, Viperidae) from Ilha dos Franceses, Southeastern Brazil. Zootaxa 4097(4): 511–529. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4097.4.4 Paywall Reference page.
Barbo, F.E., Gasparini, J.L., Almeida, A.P., Zaher, H., Grazziotin, F.G., Gusmão, R.B., Ferrarini, J.M.G. & Sawaya, R.J. 2016. ERRATUM. Fausto E. Barbo, João Luiz Gasparini, Antonio P. Almeida, Hussam Zaher, Felipe G. Grazziotin, Rodrigo B. Gusmão, José Mário G. Ferrarini & Ricardo J. Sawaya (2016) Another new and threatened species of lancehead genus Bothrops (Serpentes, Viperidae) from Ilha dos Franceses, Southeastern Brazil. Zootaxa 4097 (4): 511–529. Zootaxa 4105(5): 500–500. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4105.5.7 Open access Reference page.
Carrasco, P.A., Mattoni, C.I., Leynaud, G.C. & Scrocchi, G.J. 2012. Morphology, phylogeny and taxonomy of South American bothropoid pitvipers (Serpentes, Viperidae). Zoologica Scripta 41(2): 109–124. DOI: 10.1111/j.1463-6409.2011.00511.x.Reference page.
Carrasco, P.A., Grazziotin, F.G., Santa Cruz-Farfán, R., Koch, C., Ochoa, J.A., Scrocchi, G.J., Leynaud, G.C. & Chaparro, J.C. 2019. A new species of Bothrops (Serpentes: Viperidae: Crotalinae) from Pampas del Heath, southeastern Peru, with comments on the systematics of the Bothrops neuwiedi species group. Zootaxa 4565(3): 301–344. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4565.3.1 Paywall Reference page.
Dal Vechio, F., Prates, I., Grazziotin, F.G., Graboski, r. & Rodrigues, M.T., 2021.Molecular and phenotypic data reveal a new Amazonian species of pit vipers (Serpentes: Viperidae:Bothrops). Journal of Natural History 54: 2415-2437. DOI: 10.1080/00222933.2020.1845835 Reference page.
Hamdan, B., Guedes, T.B., Carrasco, P.A. & Melville, J. 2020. A complex biogeographic history of diversification in Neotropical lancehead pitvipers (Serpentes, Viperidae). Zoologica Scripta 49: 145–158. DOI: 10.1111/j.1463-6409.2011.00511.x Paywall Reference page.
Machado, T.; Silva, V.X.; Silva, M.J. de J. 2013: Phylogenetic relationships within Bothrops neuwiedi group (Serpentes, Squamata): Geographically highly-structured lineages, evidence of introgressive hybridization and Neogene/Quaternary diversification. Molecular phylogenetics and evolution 71: 1–14. DOI: 10.1016/j.ympev.2013.10.003 Reference page.
Silva da, V.X. & M.T. Rodrigues, 2008: Taxonomic revision of the Bothrops neuwiedi complex (Serpentes, Viperidae) with description of a new species. Phyllomedusa 7 (1): 45–90. Full article: [1].
Timms, J., Chaparro, J.C., Venegas, P.J., Salazar-Valenzuela, D. & Scrocchi, G., Cuevas, J., Leynaud, G., Carrasco, P.A., 2019. A new species of pitviper of the genus Bothrops (Serpentes: Viperidae: Crotalinae) from the Central Andes of South America. Zootaxa 4656(1): 99-120. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4656.1.4 Reference page.

Vernacular names
English: Lanceheads
português do Brasil: Jararacas

Bothrops is a genus of highly venomous pit vipers endemic to Central and South America.[1] The generic name, Bothrops, is derived from the Greek words βόθρος, bothros, meaning "pit", and ώπς, ops, meaning "eye" or "face", together an allusion to the heat-sensitive loreal pit organs. Members of this genus are responsible for more human deaths in the Americas than any other group of venomous snakes.[2] Currently, 45 species are recognized.[3]


These snakes range from small, never growing to more than 50–70 cm (19.5–27.5 in), to large at over 200 cm (6.6 ft) in total length. Most are characterized by having a sharp canthus rostralis and an unelevated snout.[2]

The arrangement of the scales on top of the head is extremely variable; the number of interorbital scales may be 3-14. Usually there are 7-9 supralabials and 9-11 sublabials. There are 21-29 rows of dorsal scales at midbody, 139-240 ventral scales, and 30-86 subcaudals, which are generally divided.[2]

Common names

Lacépède originally applied the name "lanceheads"[2] to all of these snakes, which he considered conspecific. Thus, older writings, as well as popular and sometimes scientific writings (including the American Heritage, Merriam-Webster, and New Shorter Oxford dictionaries), still often call them fer-de-lance (French, "spearhead"). However, many scientists and hobbyists now restrict this name to the Martinican species, B. lanceolatus. Other common names include American lanceheads and American lance-headed vipers.[4]
Geographic range

Found in northeastern Mexico (Tamaulipas) southward through Central and South America to Argentina, Bothrops species also occur on the islands of Saint Lucia and Martinique in the Lesser Antilles, as well as on Ilha da Queimada Grande off the coast of Brazil.[1] B. atrox is also found on the island of Trinidad in the Southern Caribbean off the eastern coast of Venezuela.

Bothrops caribbaeus

Most species are nocturnal, although a few found at higher altitudes are active during the day. Otherwise, they may be seen on cloudy days or during periods of rain. Most are terrestrial, though all are capable of climbing. One species, B. insularis, which is endemic to Ilha da Queimada Grande, is considered to be semi arboreal. This species, unlike most Bothrops, preys primarily on birds, due to the absence of native mammal species on Queimada Grande. This feeding habit probably accounts for their more arboreal lifestyle compared with their mainland cousins.[2] Many species of Bothrops exhibit tail vibration behavior when disturbed.[5]

Members of this genus are responsible for more fatalities in the Americas than any other group of venomous snakes. In this regard, the most important species are B. asper, B. atrox and B. jararaca. Without treatment, the fatality rate is estimated to be about 7%, but with treatment this is reduced to 0.5-3%.[2]
Bothrops ammodytoides

Typical symptoms of bothropic envenomation include immediate burning pain, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, sweating, headache, massive swelling of the bitten extremity, hemorrhagic blebs, local necrosis, bleeding from the nose and gums, ecchymosis, erythemia, hypotension, tachycardia, coagulopathy with hypofibrinogenemia and thrombocytopenia, hematemesis, melena, epistaxis, hematuria, intracerebral hemorrhage and kidney failure secondary to hypotension and bilateral cortical necrosis. There is usually some discoloration around the bite site, and rashes may develop on the torso or the extremities.[2]

In general, death results from hypotension secondary to blood loss, kidney failure, and intracranial hemorrhage. Common complications include necrosis and kidney failure secondary to shock and the toxic effects of the venom.[2]

Image[3] Species[3] Subsp.*[3] Common name[2] Geographic range[1]
Bothrops alcatraz.jpg B. alcatraz Marques, Martins, & Sazima, 2002 0 Alcatrazes Island, São Paulo state, Southeastern Brazil.
Bothrops alternatus Instituto Butantã (3).jpg B. alternatus A.M.C. Duméril, Bibron & A.H.A. Duméril, 1854 0 Urutu, yarará, víbora de la cruz Southeastern Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and northern Argentina (in the provinces of Buenos Aires, Catamarca, Córdoba, Corrientes, Chaco, Entre Ríos, Formosa, La Pampa, Misiones, San Luis, Santa Fe, Santiago del Estero and Tucumán.
Bothrops ammodytoides, the Patagonian Pit Viper (9070511689).jpg B. ammodytoides Leybold, 1873 0 Patagonian lancehead Argentina in the provinces of Buenos Aires, Catamarca, Córdoba, Chubut, La Pampa, La Rioja, Mendoza, Neuquén, Río Negro, San Juan, San Luis, Santa Cruz and Tucumán
Bothrops asper (Panama) coiled.jpg B. asper (Garman, 1884) 0 terciopelo (preferred), Fer-de-lance (commonly used, but incorrect) Atlantic lowlands of eastern Mexico and Central America, including Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama, a disjunct population occurs in southeastern Chiapas (Mexico) and southwestern Guatemala, northern South America in Colombia and Ecuador West of the Andes, westernmost Venezuela, and Tumbes, Peru.[2]
Fer-de-Lance (Bothrops atrox) (39388290454).jpg B. atrox (Linnaeus, 1758) 0 Common lancehead Tropical lowlands of South America east of the Andes, including southeastern Colombia, southern and eastern Venezuela, Trinidad, Guyana, Surinam, French Guiana, eastern Ecuador, eastern Peru, northern Bolivia and the northern half of Brazil
B. ayerbei Folleco-Fernandez, 2010 0 Patian lancehead, Ayerbe's lancehead Cauca, Colombia
B. barnetti Parker, 1938 0 Barnett's lancehead Along the Pacific coast of northern Peru at low elevations in arid, tropical scrub
B. bilineatus (Wied-Neuwied, 1825) 2 Two-striped forest-pitviper Amazon region of South America: Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Surinam, French Guiana, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. An isolated population is known from the Atlantic versant of southeastern Brazil.
Bothrops brazili.jpg B. brazili Hoge, 1954 0 Brazil's lancehead Equatorial forests of eastern Peru, eastern Ecuador, Brazil and northern Bolivia
Bothrops caribbaeus.jpg B. caribbaeus (Garman, 1887) 0 Saint Lucia lancehead St. Lucia, Lesser Antilles, apparently restricted to the low elevation periphery of all but the southern third and extreme northern tip of the island
Bothrops chloromelas.jpg B. chloromelas (Boulenger, 1912) 0 central Andes of Peru
B. cotiara (Gomes, 1913) 0 Cotiara Araucaria forests of southern Brazil in the states of São Paulo, Paraná, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul, northeastern Argentina in Misiones Province
Bothrops neuwiedi diporus fer de lance 91.jpg B. diporus Cope, 1862 0 Painted Lancehead Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia
Gfp-caatinga-lance-headed-pitviper.jpg B. erythromelas Amaral, 1923 0 Caatinga lancehead Northeastern Brazil in the states of Alagoas, Bahia, Ceará, extreme eastern Maranhão, Minas Gerais, Paraíba, Pernambuco, Piauí, Rio Grande do Norte and Sergipe
Descanso ao sol.jpg B. fonsecai Hoge & Belluomini, 1959 0 Fonseca's lancehead Southeastern Brazil in the states of northeastern São Paulo, southern Rio de Jeneiro and extreme southern Minas Gerais
Golden lancehead viper.jpg B. insularis (Amaral, 1922) 0 Golden lancehead Queimada Grande Island, São Paulo State, Brazil
Bothrops itapetiningaea.jpg B. itapetiningae (Boulenger, 1907) 0 São Paulo lancehead Southeastern Brazil in the states of Minas Gerais, Mato Grosso, São Paulo, and on the Paraná Plateau
Bothrops jararaca 02.jpg B. jararaca (Wied-Neuwied, 1824) 0 Jararaca Southern Brazil, northeastern Paraguay and northern Argentina (Misiones)
Jararacuçu (Bothrops jararacussu) por Rodrigo Tetsuo Argenton (2).jpg B. jararacussu Lacerda, 1884 0 Jararacussu Eastern Brazil (from Bahia to Santa Catarina), Paraguay, southeastern Bolivia and northeastern Argentina (Misiones Province)
B. jonathani (Harvey, 1994) 0 Cochabamba lancehead The Altiplano of central Bolivia in the departments of Cochabamba, Santa Cruz and Tarija, and in northwestern Argentina in the departments of Jujuy and Salta, occurring at elevations of 2000–3500 m in dry, rocky grassland
B. lanceolatusT (Bonnaterre, 1790) 0 Fer-de-lance, Martinique lancehead Martinique, Lesser Antilles
Whitetail Lancehead 01.jpg B. leucurus Wagler, 1824 0 Bahia lancehead Eastern Brazil along the Atlantic coast from northern Espírito Santo north to Alagoas and Ceará, occurs more inland in several parts of Bahia, uncertain identity of disjunct populations west of the Rio São Francisco
B. lutzi (Miranda-Ribeiro, 1915) 0 Cerrado lancehead Northeastern Brazil in northern Piaui state
B. marajoensis Hoge, 1966 0 Marajó lancehead Northern Brazil in the coastal lowlands of the Amazon Delta
Bothrops marmoratus Instituto Butantã.jpg B. marmoratus Da Silva & Rodrigues, 2008 0 Marbled lancehead Goiás, Brazil
Mato Grosso Lancehead (Bothrops matogrossensis) (30701582853).jpg B. mattogrossensis Amaral, 1925 0 Brazil, Bolivia, Argentina, Peru
B. medusa (Sternfeld, 1920) 0 Venezuelan forest-pitviper Venezuela, including the Cordillera de la Costa (coastal range), the Federal District and the states of Aragua, Bolívar and Carabobo.
B. monsignifer Timms, Chaparro, Venegas, Salazar-Valenzuela, Scrocchi, Cuevas, Leynaud, & Carrasco, 2019 0 Eastern slopes of the Andes of Bolivia and southern Peru
Bothrops moojeni - Jardim Zoológico de Brasília - DSC09978.JPG B. moojeni Hoge, 1966 0 Brazilian lancehead Central and southeastern Brazil, eastern Paraguay, northeastern Argentina (Misiones) and likely eastern Bolivia
B. muriciensis Ferrarezzi & Freire, 2001 0 Mata de Murici, Alagoas state, Northeastern Brazil
Bothrops neuwiedi.jpg B. neuwiedi Wagler, 1824 7 Neuwied's lancehead South America east of the Andes and south of 5°S, including Brazil (southern Maranhão, Piauí, Ceará, Bahia, Goiás, Mato Grosso, an isolated population in Amazonas, Rondônia and all southern states), Bolivia, Paraguay, Argentina (Catamarca, Córdoba, Corrientes, Chaco, Entre Ríos, Formosa, Jujuy, La Pampa, La Rioja, Mendoza, Misiones, Salta, San Juan, San Luis, Santa Fe, Santiago del Estero and Tucumán) and Uruguay
B. oligobalius Dal Vechio, Prates, Grazziotin, Graboski & Rodrigues, 2021 0 Amazonian forests of southern Colombia, southern Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, French Guyana and Brazil north of the Amazon/Solimões
B. oligolepis (F. Werner, 1901) 0 Peruvian forest-pitviper Eastern slopes of the Andes in Peru and Bolivia.
B. osbornei Freire-Lascano, 1991 0 Western Ecuador, Northwestern Peru
B. otavioi Barbo, Grazziotin, Sazima, Martins, & Sawaya, 2012 0 Vitória Island, São Paulo, Brazil
Jararaca (Bothrops pauloensis - Jovem).jpg B. pauloensis Amaral, 1925 0 Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia
B. pictus (Tschudi, 1845) 0 Desert lancehead Peru on the hills of the Pacific coastal region and versant up to about 1800 m elevation
B. pirajai Amaral, 1923 0 Piraja's lancehead Brazil in central and southern Bahia state and possibly also Minas Gerais
B. pubescens (Cope, 1870) 0 Brazil, Uruguay
B. pulcher (W. Peters, 1862) 0 Andean forest-pitviper Eastern slopes of the Andes from south-central Colombia to southern Ecuador.
B. punctatus (García, 1896) 0 Chocoan lancehead From the Darién of Panama along the Pacific slope of Colombia and Ecuador.
B. sanctaecrucis Hoge, 1966 0 Bolivian lancehead Bolivia in the Amazonian lowlands from the departments of El Beni to Santa Cruz
B. sazimai Barbo, Gasparini, Almeida, Zaher, Grazziotin, Gusmão, Ferrarini, & Sawaya, 2016 0 Franceses Island lancehead Ilha dos Franceses, Espírito Santo, Brazil
B. sonene Carrasco, Grazziotin, Cruz-Farfan, Koch, Ochoa, Scrocchi, Leynaud, & Chaparro, 2019 0 Madre de Dios, Peru
B. taeniatus (Wagler, 1824) 2 Speckled forest-pitviper Widespread in the equatorial forests of Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Brazil, Peru and Bolivia.
Bothrops venezuelensis by Danny Siwek.JPG B. venezuelensis Sandner-Montilla, 1952 0 Venezuelan lancehead Northern and central Venezuela, including the Cordillera de la Costa (coast range) and the states of Aragua, Carabobo, the Federal District, Miranda, Mérida, Trujillo, Lara, Falcón, Yaracuy and Sucre, and Colombia (Norte de Santander and Boyacá departments

*) Not including the nominate subspecies.
T) Type species[1]

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).
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.
"Bothrops". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 3 November 2006.
U.S. Navy. 1991. Poisonous Snakes of the World. US Govt. New York: Dover Publications Inc. 203 pp. ISBN 0-486-26629-X.
Allf, Bradley C., Paul AP Durst, and David W. Pfennig. "Behavioral Plasticity and the Origins of Novelty: The Evolution of the Rattlesnake Rattle." The American Naturalist 188.4 (2016): 475-483


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