All members of the Viperidae family are referred to as solenoglyphs. This means that they have relatively long hollow fangs situated at the front of the mouth connected to an elongate ectopterygoid bone that acts as a lever enabling the fangs to rotate backwards and forwards (hence the term front hinged fanged). When the mouth is opened the fangs "flick" out, similar to the action of a switch-blade. When the mouth is closed the fangs retract back, folding back against the roof of the mouth.
All members included in the family Viperidae are venomous.
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Generally all viperidae have heavily keeled body scales. The scales are not smooth, instead each scale has a slight ridge running down the centre of the scale which gives members of the viperidae family a rough appearance rather than that smooth almost "glossy" look associated with most colubrids and elapids.
Another distinguishing feature of Viperidae is the triangular shape of the head which is distinct from the neck.
Almost all members of this family are classed as ambush predators. Viperidae rely heavily on cryptic colouration to act as camouflage whilst waiting for unsuspecting prey to come within striking distance. For that reason the Viperidae family contains the worlds most dangerous snakes. The snakes' tendancy to rely on camouflage rather than moving away is the primary reason that thousands of people are bitten each year throughout the world.
Members of the Viperidae family occur on every continent with the exception of Antartica and Australia. Almost all members of this family are primarily nocturnal.
All members of The Viperidae family are ovoviviparous, except members of the subfamily Causinae which are Oviparous. (As with all things in nature, there is always an exception to every rule).
The table below lists the four subfamilies, and genera found in the Viperidae family:(It does not include subspecies)
1.Family: Viperidae Subfamily Azemiopinae (Only 1 genus is represented in this subfamily)
Only one species is represented in this genus.
* Fea Viper - Azemiops feae
There are no known subspecies.
2.Family Viperidae Subfamily Causinae (Only 1 genus represented in this subfamily)
Classified as Night adders. Six species are currently recognised.
* Two-lined night adder - Causus bilineatus
* Snouted night adder - Causus defilipii
* Forest night adder - Causus lichtensteinii
* West African night adder - Causus maculatus
* Green night adder - Causus resimus
* Rhombic night adder - Causus rhombeatus.
3.Family Viperidae Subfamily Viperinae Pitless vipers(There are 12 genera represented in this subfamily)
Only one species is recognised within this genus.
* Uzungwe viper - Adenorhinos barbouri
Classified as bushvipers. 13 species are recognised within this genus.
* Acuminate bush viper - Atheris acuminata
* Uzungwe mountain bush viper - Atheris barbouri
* Atheris broadleyi - Considered a colour morph of the variable bushviper.
* Variable bush viper - Atheris squamigera
* Usambara bush viper - Atheris ceratophora
* Western bush viper - Atheris chlorechis
* Ashe's bush viper - Atheris desaixi
* Tai Hairy bush viper - Atheris hirsuta
* Hairy bush viper - Atheris hispida
* Upemba bush viper - Atheris katangensis
* Great lakes bush viper - Atheris nitschei
* Rungwe bush viper - Atheris rungweensis
* Cameroon bush viper - Atheris subocularis
Classifed as African adders. 16 species are recognised.
* Albany adder - Bitis albanica
Puff adder - Bitis arietans
* Southern adder - Bitis armata
* Berg adder - Bitis atropos
* Horned adder - Bitis caudalis
* Gaboon adder - Bitis gabonica
* Many horned adder - Bitis cornuta
* Red adder - Bitis rubida
* Angolan adder - Bitis heraldica
* Plain mountain adder - Bitis inornata
* Rhinoceros viper - Bitis nasicornis
* Ethiopian mountain adder - Bitis parviocula
* Peringueys adder - Bitis peringueyi
* Namaqua dwarf adder - Bitis schneideri
* Kenyan horned adder - Bitis worthingtoni
* Desert mountain adder - Bitis xeropaga
Classified as Desert horned vipers. 3 species are recognised.
* Desert horned viper - Cerastes cerastes
* Arabian horned viper - Cerastes gasperettii
* Sahara sand viper - Cerastes vipera
Only one species is recognised within this genus.
* Russel's viper - Daboia russelii
Classified as small vipers that share a common characteristic of rubbing their scales to produce a "rustling" warning sound. 9 species are recognised within this genus.
* Saw-scaled viper - Echis carinatus
* Palestine saw-scaled viper - Echis coloratus
* Hughe's saw-scaled viper - Echis hughesi
* Joger's saw-scaled viper - Echis jogeri
* Roman's saw-scaled viper - Echis leucogaster
* Cherlin's saw-scaled viper - Echis megalocephalus
* African saw-scaled viper - Echis ocellatus
* Oman saw-scaled viper - Echis omanensis
* Egyptian saw-scaled viper - Echis pyramidum
Classified as Asian sand vipers. Only one species is currently recognised within this genus.
* McMahon's desert viper - Eristicophis macmahoni
Classified as large Palearctic vipers. 4 species are currently recognised.
* Blunt-nosed viper - Macrovipera lebetina
* Desert viper - Macrovipera deserti
* Milos viper - Macrovipera schweizeri
* Moorish viper - Macrovipera mauritanica
Classified as mountain vipers. Only one species is currently recognised.
* Kenyan montane viper - Montatheris hindii
Classified as swamp vipers. Only one species is recognised.
* Lowland swamp viper - Proatheris superciliaris
Classified as False horned vipers. There are 3 species currently recognised.
* Field's horned viper - Pseudocerastes fieldi
* Persian horned viper - Pseudocerastes persicus
* Iranian horned viper - Pseudocerastes urarachnoides
Classified as true vipers. 27 species are currently recognised.
* Central Turkish mountain viper - Vipera albizona
* Iranian mountain viper - Vipera albicornuta
* Horned viper - Vipera ammodytes
* Baran's adder - Vipera barani
* Asp viper - Vipera aspis
* European adder - Vipera berus
* Bornmeullers viper - Vipera bornmeulleri
* Bulgardagh viper - Vipera bulgardaghica
* Darevsky's viper - Vipera darevskii
* Dinnik's viper - Vipera dinniki
* Caucasus viper - Vipera kaznakovi
* Lataste's viper - Vipera latastei
* Latif's viper - Vipera latifii
* Caucasian meadow viper - Vipera lotievi
* Atlas mountain viper - Vipera monticola
* Nikolsky's viper - Vipera nikolskii
* Palestine viper - Vipera palestinae
* Pontic adder - Vipera pontica
* Rock viper - Vipera raddei
* Baskian viper - Vipera seoanei
* Meadow viper - Vipera ursinii
* Ocellated mountain viper - Vipera wagneri
* Ottoman viper - Vipera xanthina
* Transcaucasian long-nosed viper - Vipera transcaucasiana
* Orlovi's viper - Vipera orlovi
* Steppe viper - Vipera eriwanensis
* Vipera magnifica
The fourth subfamily of the family Viperidae contains no less than 28 genera. Crotalinae contains all the Pit vipers. These snakes are easily recognisable by the heat-sensing pits located between the eyes and nostrils on either side of the head.
4.Family Viperidae Subfamily Crotalinae pit vipers.
Currently 4 species are recognised within this genus.
* Cantil - Agkistrodon bilineatus
* Copperhead - Agkistrodon contortrix
Cottonmouth - Agkistrodon piscivorus
* Mexican moccasin - Agkistrodon taylori
Referred to as Jumping pit vipers. Currently 6 species are recognised.
* Mexican jumping pit viper - Atropoides nummifer
* Tuxtlan jumping pit viper - Atropoides olmec
* Picado's jumping pit viper - Atropoides picadoi
* Atropoides indomitus
* Atropoides mexicanus
* Atropoides occiduus
Referred to as Palm pit vipers. 8 species are currently recognised.
* Yellow blotched palm pit viper - Bothriechis aurifer
* Guatemala palm pit viper - Bothriechis bicolor
* Coffee palm pit viper - Bothriechis lateralis
* March's palm pit viper - Bothriechis marchi
* Black speckled palm pit viper - Bothriechis nigroviridis
* Rowley's palm pit viper - Bothriechis rowleyi
* Eyelash palm pit viper - Bothriechis schlegelii
* Bothriechis thalassinus
referred to as forest pit vipers. 7 species are currently recognised.
* Andean forest pit viper - Bothriopsis pulchra
* Speckled forest pit viper - Bothriopsis taeniata
* Two-striped forest pit viper - Bothriopsis bilineata
* Venezuelan forest pit viper - Bothriopsis medusa
* Peruvian forest pit viper - Bothriopsis oligolepis
* Chocoan forest pit viper - Bothriopsis punctata
A newly identified genus of pit vipers restricted to the northern regions of South America. Currently no common names are available.
* Bothrocophias campbelli
* Bothrocophias hyoprora
* Bothrocophias micropthalmus
* Bothrocophias myersi
Referred to as lanceheads. Currently 36 species are recognised within this genus.
* Alcatrazes lancehead - Bothrops alcatraz
* Urutu - Bothrops alternatus
* Patagonian lancehead - Bothrops ammodytoides
* Andean lancehead - Bothrops andianus
* Terciopelo - Bothrops asper
* Common lancehead - Bothrops atrox
* Barnett's lancehead - Bothrops barnetti
* Brazil's lancehead - Bothrops brazili
* Caribbean lancehead - Bothrops caribbaeus
* Colombian toadheaded pit viper - Bothrops colombianus
* Colombian lancehead - Bothrops colombiensis
* Cotiara - Bothrops cotiara
* Bolivian lancehead - Bothrops diporus
* Caatinga lancehead - Bothrops erythromelas
* Fonseca's lancehead - Bothrops fonsecai
* Golden lancehead - Bothrops insularis
* Sao Paulo lancehead - Bothrops itapetiningae
* Jararaca - Bothrops jararaca
* Jararacussu - Bothrops jararacussu
* Jonathan's lancehead - Bothrops jonathani
* Martinique lancehead - Bothrops lanceolatus
* White-tail lancehead - Bothrops leucurus
* Lojan lancehead - Bothrops lojanus
* Sertao lancehead - Bothrops lutzi
* Marajo lancehead - Bothrops marajoensis
* Marbled lancehead - Bothrops marmoratus
* Bothrops matogrossensis
* Brazilian lancehead - Bothrops moojeni
* Bothrops muriciensis
* Neuwied's lancehead - Bothrops neuwiedi
* Bothrops pauloensis
* Desert lancehead - Bothrops pictus
* Piraja's lancehead - Bothrops pirajai
* Bothrops pubescens
* Santa Cruz lancehead - Bothrops sanctaecrucis
* Venezuelan lancehead - Bothrops venezuelensis
Referred to as Malayan pit viper. Only one species is recognised.
* Malayan pit viper - Calloselasma rhodostoma
Referred to as Montane pit vipers. Currently 4 species are recognised.
* Barbour's montane pit viper - Cerrophidion barbouri
* Godman's montane pit viper - Cerrophidion godmani
* Cerrophidion petlalcalensis
* Tzotzil montane pit viper - Cerrophidion tzotzilorum
Crotalus:Commonly referred to as rattlesnakes. 36 species are recognised within this genus.
Eastern diamondback rattlesnake - Crotalus adamanteus
* Queretaran dusky rattlesnake - Crotalus aquilus
* Western diamondback rattlesnake - Crotalus atrox
* Basilisk rattlesnake - Crotalus basiliscus
* Catalina rattlesnake - Crotalus catalinensis
* Sidewinder - Crotalus cerastes
* Northwest neotropical rattlesnake - Crotalus culminatus
* Cascabel rattlesnake - Crotalus durissus
* Baja California rattlesnake - Crotalus enyo
* Guerreran long-tailed rattlesnake - Crotalus ericsmithi
* Timber rattlesnake - Crotalus horridus
* Mexican smallhead rattlesnake - Crotalus intermedius
* Autlan long-tailed rattlesnake - Crotalus lannomi
* Rock rattlesnake - Crotalus lepidus
* Speckled rattlesnake - Crotalus mithcellii
* Black-tailed rattlesnake - Crotalus molossus
* Western rattlesnake - Crotalus oreganus
* Mexican lancehead rattlesnake - Crotalus polystictus
* Twin-spotted rattlesnake - Crotalus pricei
* Tancitaran rattlesnake - Crotalus pusillus
* Mexican Massasauga - Crotalus ravus
* Red diamond rattlesnake - Crotalus ruber
* Mojave rattlesnake - Crotalus scutulatus
* Middle American rattlesnake - Crotalus simus
* Sinaloan long-tailed rattlesnake - Crotalus stejnegeri
* Tancitaro cross-banded mountain rattlesnake - Crotalus tancitarensis
* Tiger rattlesnake - Crotalus tigris
* Tortuga Island rattlesnake - Crotalus tortugensis
* Totonacan rattlesnake - Crotalus totonacus
* Cross-banded mountain rattlesnake - Crotalus transversus
* Central plateau dusky rattlesnake - Crotalus triseriatus
* Yucatan neotropical rattlesnake - Crotalus tzabcan
* Aruba Island rattlesnake - Crotalus unicolor
* Uracoan rattlesnake - Crotalus vergrandis
* Prairie rattlesnake - Crotalus viridis
* Arizona ridgenose rattlesnake - Crotalus willardi
Cryptelytrops:Referred to as Bamboo pit vipers. There are 13 species currently recognised within this genus. All species were previously classified in the Trimeresurus genus.
* White-lipped pit viper - Cyptelytrops albolabris
* Anderson's pit viper - Cryptelytrops andersonii
* Cantor's pit viper - Crytelytrops cantori
* Redtail bamboo pit viper - Cryptelytrops erythrurus
* Banded pit viper - Cryptelytrops fasciatus
* Hon Son pit viper - Cryptelytrops honsonensis
* White-lipped Island pit viper - cryptelytrops insularis
* Kanburi pit viper - Cryptelytrops kanburiensis
* Nicobar bamboo pit viper - Cryptelytrops labialis
* Large-eyed pit viper - Cryptelytrops macrops
* Mangrove viper - Cryptelytrops purpureomaculatus
* Nepal pit viper - Cryptelytrops septentrionalis
* Beautiful pit viper - Cryptelytrops venustus
Referred to as sharp-nosed Asian pit vipers. Only one species is currently recognised.
* Chinese moccasin - Deinagkistrodon acutus
Referred to as Asian mountain pit vipers. Only one species is curently recognised.
* Chasen's mountain pit viper - Garthius chaseni
Referred to as Asian moccasins. Currently 11 species are recognised.
* Mamushi - Gloydius blomhoffi
* Kurzschwanz-Mamushi - Gloydius brevicaudus
* Halys pit viper - Gloydius halys
* Himalayan pit viper - Gloydius himalayanus
* Central Asian pit viper - Gloydius intermedius
* Likiang pit viper - Gloydius monitcoloa
* Rock Mamushi - Gloydius saxatalis
* Shedao island pit viper - Gloydius shedaoensis
* Strauch's pit viper - Gloydius strauchi
* Tsushima island pit viper - Gloydius tsushimaensis
* Ussuri Mamushi - Gloydius ussuriensis
Referred to as Hump-nosed vipers. 3 species are currently recognised.
* Hump-nosed Moccasin - Hypnale hypnale
* Sri Lankan hump-nose viper - Hypnlae nepa
* Wall's Hump-nose viper - Hypnale walli
Referred to as Bushmasters. 4 species are currently recognised.
* Lachesis achrocorda
* Black-haded bushmaster - Lachesis melanocephala
* South American bushmaster - Lachesis muta
* Central American bushmaster - Lachesis stenophrys
Referred to as Mexican horned pit vipers. 2 species are currently recognised.
* Black-tailed horned pit viper - Ophryacus melanurus
* Mexican horned pit viper - Ophryacus undulatus
Referred to as mountain pit vipers. Currently 4 species are recognised.
* Chinese mountain pit viper - Ovophis monticola
* Ryukyu island pit viper - Ovophis okinavensis
* Tonkin pit viper - Ovophis tonkinensis
* Zayuan mountain pit viper - Ovophis zayuensis
Referred to as Asian lanceheads 5 species are currently recognised. Formerly classified as Trimeresurus
* Phillipine pit viper - Parias flavomaculatus
* Hagen's pit viper - Parias hageni
* Malcolm's pit viper - Parias malcolmi
* Schultze's pit viper - Parias schultzei
* Sumatra pit viper - Parias sumatranus
Referred to as Bamboo pit vipers. 6 species are curently recognised. Formerly classified as Trimeresurus
* Barat bamboo pit viper - Popeia barati
* Fairy pit viper - Popeia buniana
* Siamese peninsula pit viper - Popeia fucata
* Cameron highlands pit viper - Popeia nebularis
* Pope's bamboo pit viper - Popeia popeiorum
* Sabah bamboo pit viper - Popeia sabahi
Referred to as Hognosed vipers. 8 species are currently recognised.
* Dunn's hognose viper - Porthidium dunni
* Western hognose viper - Porthidium hespere
* Lansberg's hognose viper - Porthidium lansbergii
* Hognosed pit viper - Porthidium nasutum
* Slender hognose viper - Porthidium ophryomegas
* Costa rica hognose viper - Porthidium porrasi
* Ujarran hognose viper - Porthidium volcanium
* Yucatan hognose viper - Porthidium yucatanicum
Referred to as Asian bamboo pit vipers. One specie is currently recognised within this genus. Formerly classified as Trimeresurus
* Large-scaled pit viper - Peltopelor macrolepis
Referred to as Asian lance head pit vipers. Currently 8 species are recognised.
* Horned pit viper - Probothrops cornutus
* Elegant pit viper - Probothrops elegans
* Habu - Probothrops flavoviridis
* Jerdon's pit viper - Probothrops jerdonii
* Kaulback's lance-headed pit viper - Probothrops kaulbacki
* Brown spotted pit viper - Probothrops mucrosquamatus
* Tokara Habu - Probothrops tokarensis
* Kham plateau pit viper - Probothrops xiangchengensis
Referred to as Pygmy rattlesnakes. 2 species are currently recognised.
* Massasauga - Sistrurus catenatus
* Pygmy rattlesnake - Sistrurus miliarius
Referred to as three horned pit vipers. Only one species is currently recognised.
* Three horned scaled pit viper - Triceratolepidophis sieversorum
Referred to as Bamboo pit vipers. Currently 11 species are recognised.
* Trimeresurus andalasensis
* Borneo pit viper - Trimeresurus borneensis
* Brongersma's pit viper - Trimeresurus brongersmai
* Kikuchi Habu - Trimeresurus gracilis
* Common bamboo pit viper - Trimeresurus gramineus
* Malabarian pit viper - Trimeresurus malabaricus
* Ashy pit viper - Trimeresurus puniceus
* Horseshoe pit viper - Trimeresurus strigatus
* Tibetan pit viper - Trimeresurus tibetanus
* Ceylon pit viper - Trimeresurus trigonocephalus
* Wirot's pit viper - Trimeresurus wiroti
Referred to as Temple vipers. Currently 5 species are recognised.
* Hutton's pit viper - Tropidolaemus huttoni
* Broad-banded temple pit viper - Tropidolaemus laticinctus
* South Philippine temple pit viper - Tropidolaemus philippensis
* North Philippine temple pitviper _ Tropidolaemus subannulatus
* Temple pitviper - Tropidolaemus wagleri
Referred to as Bamboo pit vipers. 6 species are currently recognised. Formerly classified as Trimeresurus
* Gumprecht’s green pitviper - Viridovipera gumprechti
* Green Bamboo Leaf Pit Viper - Viridovipera medoensis
* Chinese Green Tree Viper - Viridovipera stejnegeri
* Quang Binh pitviper - Viridovipera truongsonensis
* Vogel’s Pit Viper - Viridovipera vogeli
* Yunnan Bamboo pitviper - Viridovipera yunnanensis
Refered to as Bamboo pit vipers. Currently only one species is recognised. Formerly classified as Trimeresurus
* Mangshan pitviper - Zhaoermia mangshanensis
It is important to note that taxonomic revision happens from time to time, and the above information regarding the Family Viperidae should not be regarded as 100% correct. I believe it to be correct at the time of writing.
This page however is not to be regarded as such, but rather as an overview of the family Viperidae.
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