The British Herpetological Society

The Herpetological Journal is the Society's prestigious quarterly scientific journal. Articles are listed in Biological Abstracts, Current Awareness in Biological Sciences,Current Contents, Science Citation Index, and Zoological Record.

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pdf 04. Reassessment of the validity and diagnosis of the pitviper Trimeresurus venustus Vogel, 1991


Open Access


Authors: Anita Malhotra And Roger S. Thorpe

AbstractTrimeresurus venustus Vogel, 1991 was described from southern Thailand in I 991 and distinguished from the similar T. kanburiensis primarily by the following characters : 21 ' scale rows at midbody rather than I 9 and less irregular and i ndented supraoculars. H owever, very few specimens of T. kanburiensis were known at the time of this description, and the name T. venustus has not been universally accepted. Recently, live specimens from the type locality of T. kanburiensis in western Thailand have become available, allowing a reassessment of the status - of the southern Thai population. Phylogenetic analysis of two mitochondrial gene regions indicated that specimens from south Thailand are genetically quite distinct from the specimen from the type locality, and the former are more closely related to T. macrops than to T. kanburiensis. We present a multivariate morphometric analysis of the six specimens of T. kanburiensis from the type locality that are now known and twenty specimens from southern Thailand . Despite the small sample size, it is clear that some of the diagnostic characteristics used to define T. venustus are invalid. We conclude that the current evidence indicates that T. venustus is a valid species, and present new diagnostic characters to separate it from T. kanburiensis.

Keywords: Crotalinae, systematics, Thailand, Trimeresurus kanburiensis, Yiperidae

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