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Trimeresurus malabaricus

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA REPTILIA SQUAMATA VIPERIDAE

Scientific Name: Trimeresurus malabaricus
Species Authority: (Jerdon, 1854)
Common Name(s):
English Malabar Pit Viper, Malabarian Pit Viper
Synonym(s):
Lachesis anamallensis (Günther, 1864)
Lachesis coorgensis Rao, 1917
Trigonocephalus malabaricus Jerdon, 1854
Trigonocephalus wardii Jerdon, 1854
Trimeresurus anamallensis Günther, 1864
Taxonomic Notes: Trimerusurus malabaricus was described by Jerdon in 1854 as Trigonocephalus malabaricus  based on specimens collected from different localities in Western Ghats (Smith 1943). Coluber gramineus has long been considered the type species of the taxonomically complex genus Trimeresurus (David et al. 2011), as the original type species T. viridis has long been considered a synonym. Investigation of this assignment by David et al. (2011) indicated that this was incorrect and that T. viridis (a combination that hasn't been used to describe a valid species since its original description in 1861), is instead a junior synonym of the Timorese species T. insularis. This recognition alters the generic identity of several taxa within the Trimeresurus genus complex, including T. malabaricus, and David et al. (2011) therefore assign T. malabaricus to Craspedocephalus (treated by these authors as a subgenus but more commonly as a full genus). This taxonomy does not, to date, appear to have gained broad acceptance, and this account retains T. malabaricus within Trimeresurus.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2010-08-14
Assessor(s): Srinivasulu, C., Srinivasulu, B., Shankar, G., Thakur, S., Kulkarni, N.U. & Jose, J.
Reviewer(s): Penner, J., Bowles, P., Das, A., Achyuthan, N.S., Deepak, V., Sawant, N.S., Mohapatra, P., Vyas, R., Aengals, A. & Molur, S.
Justification:
Listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, it occurs in a number of protected areas, has a tolerance of a degree of habitat modification, and because it is unlikely to be declining fast enough to qualify for listing in a more threatened category

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Trimeresurus malabaricus  is endemic to the Western Ghats, India (Whitaker and Captain 2004) and is known only from south of Phansad Wildlife Sanctuary, Maharashtra to Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu. It is found at elevations of 100 to 2,134 m asl.
Countries:
Native:
India (Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu)
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: This species has been reported to be common from areas where it occurs. It has been recorded at a density of three individuals per hectare (J. Jose pers. comm. March 2011).
Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Trimeresurus malabaricus occurs in evergreen, semi evergreen hill forest and shola patches. It is also found in plantations (such as cardamom, banana, pepper, areca nut, teak and rubber). It can be found near human habitations (such as in sheds). It is a nocturnal and semi arboreal and probably a terrestrial snake and has been noted to feed on small rodents, frogs, geckos, skinks and smaller snakes (Whitaker and Captain 2004).
Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: The species is traded or used.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): It may be locally threatened by loss of forest habitats (through conversion of land to agricultural or urban use), however, it is adaptable and can occur in modified habitats.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no known species-specific conservation measures in place for this species. Within its range it occurs in many protected areas, including Phansad Wildlife Sanctuary, Sahydari Tiger Reserve in Maharashtra, Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary in Goa, Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, Anamalai Tiger Reserve in Tamil Nadu, Kalakkad-Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve in Tamil Nadu, Eravikulam National Park and Parambikulam National Park in Kerala. Further survey work is needed to understand its biology, ecology, population status and trends.

Citation: Srinivasulu, C., Srinivasulu, B., Shankar, G., Thakur, S., Kulkarni, N.U. & Jose, J. 2013. Trimeresurus malabaricus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 23 August 2014.
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