Monday, June 11, 2012

[Herpetology • 2000] Bothriechis thalassinus | Merendon palm-pitviper • A new species of arboreal pitviper from the Atlantic versant of northern Central America

Juvenile Merendon Palm-pitviper (Bothriechis thalassinus). 
Photo by Don Church, Global Wildlife Conservation.

A new species of green, prehensile-tailed pitviper of the genus Bothriechis is described from the Atlantic slopes of eastern Guatemala and western Honduras. This species appears to be most closely related to B. bicolor of the Pacific versant of Chiapas (Mexico) and Guatemala. Several other species of Bothriechis occur on the Atlantic versant of northern Central America, including two montane species, B. aurifer and B. marchi but, with one possible exception, these are not known to be sympatric with the new species and occur in different mountain ranges. The widespread B. schlegelii occurs up to at least 900 m on the Sierra de Caral, where the lowest elevation recorded for the new species is 885 m.
Key words: Reptilia, Squamata, Viperidae, Pitvipers, Bothriechis, New species, Izabal, Guatemala, Honduras.

Etymology.– The specific epithet is derived from the Greek thalassinos, meaning blue-green, in allusion to the striking coloration of this snake.
Habitat, distributon, and habits.– In Guatemala, this species occurs in Lower Montane Wet Forest (sensu Holdridge 1959) at elevations of 885-1 450 m. In Honduras, it has been recorded to occur also in Lower Montane Moist Forest (Meyer and Wilson 1985) and up to 1 730 m in the mountains east of Nueva Ocotepeque (LSU 23821).

Blue Vipers, Endangered Frogs, and Threatened Birds Protected by New Guatemalan Reserve

Campbell, J.A. & Smith, E.N. 2000. A new species of arboreal pitviper from the Atlantic versant of northern Central America. Revista de Biologia Tropical. 48: 1001-1013