The genus Ophryacus is endemic to Mexico, where it ranges along the Sierra Madre Oriental from Hidalgo and northern Veracuz south to the Sierra Madre del Sur in Guerrero and Oaxaca. We obtained new material of Ophryacus and compared it to specimens from all previously documented populations of O. undulatus. We examined scutellational characters and proportional differences, and found strong evidence to support the existence of at least three species within this genus. One species is undescribed and another currently is in the synonymy of O. undulatus. We describe a new species of Ophryacus from eastern Mexico, and remove Bothrops sphenophrys from the synonymy of O. undulatus and formally place it in Ophryacus. We provide comparative morphological data and a key for the known species of Ophryacus and Mixcoatlus. We also discuss the ecological and geographical distribution of Ophryacus and Mixcoatlus and include a distribution map for all the species with supraocular horns. Finally, we comment on the conservation implications for the horned pitvipers of Mexico.
Key Words: Biogeography, conservation implications, external morphology, Hidalgo, Mixcoatlus, Oaxaca, Puebla, Sierra Madre del Sur, Sierra Madre Oriental, taxonomy, Veracruz
Distribution and Natural History: Ophryacus smaragdinus apparently is restricted to montane cloud forest, humid pine-oak woodland, and pine forest (Fig. 12A), but also has been found in disturbed areas with secondary vegetation. Although this species appears to be less arboreal than what has been reported for O. undulatus in Guerrero and Oaxaca (Campbell and Lamar, 2004: 452), it has been collected at a height of up to 1 m in low bushes (Flores-Villela et al., 1992). Other individuals have been found under fallen logs, in woodpiles, and on the ground in vegetation. Whereas most individuals have been encountered during the day, one individual from Veracruz (UAZ- 57622-PSV) was found crossing a road at 2258 h during foggy weather.
Ophryacus smaragdinus has been collected in east-central Hidalgo, west-central Veracruz, northeastern Puebla, and north-central Oaxaca, where it ranges along the humid eastern slopes of the Sierra Madre Oriental from at least as far north as Zilacatipan, in the municipality of Huayacocotla, Veracruz, south to at least San Martín Caballero, in the municipality of San José Tenango, Oaxaca. Its elevational distribution ranges from about 1,400 m in Oaxaca to at least 2,340 m in Hidalgo and Veracruz (see Fig. 11).
Etymology: The specific epithet is derived from the Latin word smaragdinus, an adjective meaning “emerald-green,” in reference to the emerald green ground coloration exhibited by most individuals of this species.
Christoph I. Grünwald, Jason M. Jones, Hector Franz-Chávez and Iván T. Ahumada-Carrillo. 2015. A New Species of Ophryacus (Serpentes: Viperidae: Crotalinae) from eastern Mexico, with comments on the Taxonomy of related Pitvipers. Mesoamerican Herpetology. 2(4); 388–416.
New species of venomous snake discovered in endangered Mexican cloud forests http://news.mongabay.com/2016/01/new-species-of-pitvipers-discovered-in-endangered-mexican-cloud-forests/
Palabras Claves: Biogeografía, Hidalgo, implicaciones de conservación, Mixcoatlus, morfología externa, Oaxaca, Puebla, Sierra Madre del Sur, Sierra Madre Oriental, taxonomía, Veracruz