Trimeresurus is a genus of venomous pit vipers found in Asia from the Indian Subcontinent throughout Southeast Asia, China and the Pacific Islands. Currently at least 50 species are recognized.[2] Common names include Asian palm pit vipers,[3] Asian lanceheads and Asian lance-headed vipers.[4]

Bomboo Pit Viper Tremeresurus graminus.jpg
Bamboo pit viper, T. gramineus
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Viperidae
Subfamily: Crotalinae
Genus: Trimeresurus
Lacépède, 1804
  • Trimeresurus Lacépède, 1804
  • Craspedocephalus
    Kuhl & van Hasselt, 1822
  • Trimeresura Fleming, 1822
  • Craspedocephalus Gray, 1825
  • Megaera Wagler, 1830
  • Atropos Wagler, 1830
  • Trimesurus Gray, 1842[1]


Most species in the genus Trimeresurus are relatively small, primarily arboreal species, with thin bodies and prehensile tails. However, Trimeresurus flavoviridis (the Okinawa habu) can reach a total length (including tail) of 242 cm (7 ft 9 in), and is one of the longest pit vipers in East Asia. Most Trimeresurus species are typically green in color, but some species also have yellow, black, orange, red, or gold markings.


The diet of Trimeresurus species includes a variety of animals, including lizards, amphibians, birds, rodents, and other small mammals.


Like most viper species, many of the species in the genus Trimeresurus are ovoviviparous, bearing live young. However, some species such as T. flavoviridis, T. kaulbacki, and T. macrolepis are oviparous, laying eggs. Also, the reproductive biology of some Trimeresurus species is as yet unknown.


Trimeresurus venom varies in toxicity between species, but all are primarily hemotoxic and considered to be medically significant to humans.

Geographic rangeEdit

Species in the genus Trimeresurus are found in Southeast Asia from India including regions of North Chotanagpur of Jharkhand to southern China and Japan, and the Malay Archipelago to Timor.[1]


Image Species[2] Taxon author[2] Subsp.*[2] Common name[5] Geographic range[1]
  T. albolabris Gray, 1842 0 White-lipped pit viper India (Assam), Nicobar Islands, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, southern China (Fukien, Hainan, Kwangsi, Kwangtung), Hong Kong, West Malaysia, Indonesia (Sumatra, Borneo, Sulawesi, Java, Madoera, Lombok, Sumbawa, Komodo, Flores, Sumba, Roti, Timor, Kisar, Wetar).
  T. andalasensis David, Vogel, Vijaykumar & Vidal, 2006 0 Sumatran palm pit viper Indonesia: Sumatra.
T. andersonii Theobald, 1868 0 Anderson’s pit viper, Andaman pit viper Andaman Islands, Nicobar Islands.
T. arunachalensis Captain, Deepak, Pandit, Bhatt, and Athreya, 2019 0 Arunachal pit viper India: Arunachal Pradesh
T. borneensis W. Peters, 1872 0 Bornean pit viper Indonesia: Borneo.
T. brongersmai Hoge, 1969 0 Brongersma's pit viper Indonesia: Simalur Island.
T. cantori Blyth, 1846 0 Cantor's pit viper India: Nicobar Islands, and possibly the Andaman Islands.
  T. cardamomensis Malhotra, Thorpe, Mrinalini, & Stuart, 2011 0 Cardamom Mountains green pit viper Eastern Thailand, Koh Kong Province in Cambodia.
T. caudornatus Chen, Ding, Vogel, & Shi, 2020 0 Ornamental-tailed pit viper China (Yunnan).
T. davidi Chandramouli, Campbell, & Vogel, 2020.[6] 0 Car Nicobar, India.
  T. erythrurus Cantor, 1839 0 Red-tailed bamboo pit viper India (Assam and Sikkim), Bangladesh and Myanmar.
T. fasciatus Boulenger, 1896 0 Banded pit viper Indonesia: Djampea Island.
  T. flavomaculatus Gray, 1842 2 Philippine pit viper Philippine Islands: Agutayan, Batan, Camiguin, Catanduanes, Dinagat, Jolo, Leyte, Luzon, Mindanao, Mindoro, Negros and Polillo.
T. gracilis Ōshima, 1920 0 Kikushi habu Central Taiwan.
  T. gramineusT Shaw, 1802 0 Bamboo pit viper Southern India.
  T. gumprechti David, Vogel, Pauwels & Vidal, 2002 0 Gumprecht's green pit viper China (Yunnan), Laos, Thailand, Vietnam.
T. gunaleni Vogel, David, & Sidik, 2014 0 Gunalen's pit viper Sumatra.
T. hageni Lidth de Jeude, 1886 0 Hagen's pit viper Peninsular Thailand, West Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia (Sumatra and the nearby islands of Bangka, Simalur, Nias, Batu and the Mentawai Islands.
T. honsonensis Grismer, Ngo, & Grismer, 2008 0 Hon Son pit viper Southern Vietnam.
  T. insularis Kramer, 1977 0 Sunda Island pit viper, White-lipped island pit viper Indonesia, Timor-Leste
  T. kanburiensis M.A. Smith, 1943 0 Kanburi pit viper Thailand.
T. labialis Steindachner, 1867 0 Nicobar bamboo pit viper India: Nicobar Islands.
  T. macrolepis Beddome, 1862 0 Large-scaled pit viper The mountains of southern India.
  T. macrops Kramer, 1977 0 Large-eyed pit viper Thailand, Cambodia and southern Vietnam.
  T. malabaricus Jerdon, 1854 0 Malabar rock pit viper Southern and western India at 600-2,000 m elevation.
T. malcolmi Loveridge, 1938 0 Malcolm's pit viper Borneo.
  T. mcgregori Taylor, 1919 0 McGregor's pit viper, McGregor's tree viper, Philippine pit viper Batan Island, Philippines.
  T. medoensis Zhao, 1977 0 Motuo bamboo pit viper Northern India, northern Myanmar and China (southeastern Xizang).
T. mutabilis Stoliczka, 1870 0 Central Nicobar pit viper, Central Nicobar bamboo pit viper Central Nicobar Island.
  T. nebularis Vogel, David, & Pauwels, 2004 0 Cameron Highlands pit viper, Clouded pit viper West Malaysia (Cameron Highlands), Thailand.
T. phuketensis Sumontha, Kunya, S.G. Pauwels, Nitikul & Punnadee, 2011 [7] 0 Phuket pit viper Thailand: Phuket Island.
  T. popeiorum M.A. Smith, 1937 2 Popes' pit viper Northern India, Myanmar, Thailand, West Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia (Sumatra, the Mentawai Islands of Siberut, Sipora and North Pagai, and on the island of Borneo).
  T. puniceus Kuhl, 1824 0 Flat-nosed pit viper Southern Thailand, West and East Malaysia (Sabah and Sarawak) and Indonesia (Borneo, Sumatra, the Mentawai Islands of Siberut and North Pagai, Simalur and Java.
  T. purpureomaculatus Gray, 1832 0 Mangrove pit viper Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, West Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia (Sumatra).
  T. rubeus Malhotra, 2011 0 Ruby-eyed green pit viper Cambodia (Mondulkiri), southern Vietnam.
  T. sabahi Regenass & Kramer, 1981 0 Sabah bamboo pit viper, Sabah pit viper Sabah, Sarawak
  T. salazar Mirza, Bhosale, Phansalkar, Sawant, Gowande, & Patel (2020) 0 Salazar’s pit viper[8] India: western lowlands of Arunachal Pradesh
  T. schultzei Griffin, 1909 0 Schultze's pit viper Philippines: Palawan and Balabac.
  T. septentrionalis Kramer, 1977 0 Nepal pit viper, Himalayan white-lipped pit viper Bangladesh, India, Nepal
T. sichuanensis Guo & Wang, 2011 0 Sichuan pit viper Sichuan, China
  T. stejnegeri Schmidt, 1925 2 Stejneger's pit viper India (Assam), and Nepal through Myanmar and Thailand to China (Kwangsi, Kwangtung, Hainan, Fukien, Chekiang, Yunnan) and Taiwan.
  T. strigatus Gray, 1842 0 Horseshoe pit viper The hills of southern India.
  T. sumatranus Raffles, 1822 0 Sumatran pit viper Southern Thailand, West and East Malaysia (Sabah and Sarawak on Borneo) and Indonesia (Bangka, Billiton, Borneo, Sumatra and the nearby islands of Simalur, Nias, and possibly the Mentawai Islands [Sipora]).
T. tibetanus Huang, 1982 0 Tibetan bamboo pit viper China: Xiang (Tibet) Autonomous Region.
  T. trigonocephalus Donndorff, 1798 0 Sri Lankan pit viper Throughout Sri Lanka from low elevations to about 1,800 m.
T. truongsonensis Orlov, Ryabov, Thanh, & Cuc, 2004 0 Quang Binh pit viper Central Vietnam
  T. venustus Vogel, 1991 0 Beautiful pit viper, Brown-spotted pit viper Southern Thailand
  T. vogeli David, Vidal & Pauwels, 2001 0 Vogel's pit viper Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam.
T. wiroti Trutnau, 1981 0 Wirot's pit viper Thailand, West Malaysia.
T. yingjiangensis Chen, Zhang, Shi, et al., 2019 0 Southwest China
T. yunnanensis Schmidt, 1925 0 Yunnan bamboo pit viper Southern China

*) Not including the nominate subspecies.
T) Type species.[1]


Additional species that may be recognized by other sources include:[9]

The genus Trimeresurus (sensu lato) has been the subject of considerable taxonomic work since 2000, resulting in the recognition of additional genera within this complex. Most authors now recognise the genus Protobothrops for the species cornutus, flavoviridis, jerdonii, kaulbacki, mucrosquamatus, tokarensis, xiangchengensis,[10][11][12] since these have been shown not to be closely related to other Trimeresurus in recent phylogenetic analyses.

In addition, Malhotra and Thorpe (2004)[11] proposed a radical shake up of the entire genus, splitting Trimeresurus into seven genera. Their proposed arrangement (including species described since 2004) is shown in the table below:

Genus Species included
Trimeresurus andalasensis, borneensis, brongersmai, gramineus, malabaricus, puniceus, salazar, strigatus, trigonocephalus, wiroti
Cryptelytrops albolabris, andersonii, cantori, erythrurus, fasciatus, honsonensis (Hon Son Pit Viper), insularis, kanburiensis, labialis, macrops, purpureomaculatus, rubeus, septentrionalis, venustus
Himalayophis tibetanus
Parias flavomaculatus, hageni, malcolmi, mcgregori, schultzei, sumatranus
Peltopelor macrolepis
Popeia barati, buniana, fucata, nebularis, popeiorum, sabahi
Viridovipera gumprechti, medoensis, stejnegeri, truongsonensis, vogeli, yunnanensis

This new arrangement has been followed by many,[12][13] but not all[9][14] subsequent authors.

David et al. (2011) considered some of the genera of Malhotra & Thorpe to be subgenera of the genus Trimeresurus, creating new combinations such as "Trimeresurus (Parias) flavomaculatus", "Trimeresurus (Popeia) popeiorum", "Trimeresurus (Viridovipera) stejnegeri", etc.[15]



  1. ^ a b c d McDiarmid RW, Campbell JA, Touré T (1999). Snake Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference, Volume 1. Washington, District of Columbia: Herpetologists' League. 511 pp. ISBN 1-893777-00-6 (series). ISBN 1-893777-01-4 (volume).
  2. ^ a b c d "Trimeresurus ". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 27 September 2006.
  3. ^ Mehrtens JM (1987). Living Snakes of the World in Color. New York: Sterling Publishers. 480 pp. ISBN 0-8069-6460-X.
  4. ^ United States Navy (1991). Poisonous Snakes of the World. New York: U.S. Government / Dover Publications Inc. 203 pp. ISBN 0-486-26629-X.
  5. ^ Gumprecht A, Tillack F, Orlov NL, Captain A, Ryabov S (2004). Asian Pitvipers. First Edition. Berlin: GeitjeBooks. 368 pp. ISBN 3-937975-00-4.
  6. ^ Chandramouli, S. R.; Campbell, Patrick D.; Vogel, Gernot (1 November 2020). "A new species of green pit viper of the genus TrimeresurusLacépède, 1804 (Reptilia: Serpentes: Viperidae) from the Nicobar Archipelago, Indian Ocean" (PDF). Amphibian & Reptile Conservation. 14 (3): 169–176. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
  7. ^ Sumontha M, Kunya K, Pauwels OSG, Nitikul A, Punnadee S (2011). "Trimeresurus (Popeia) phuketensis, a New Pitviper (Squamata: Viperidae) from Phuket Island, Southwestern Thailand". Russian Journal of Herpetology 18 (3): 11-17.
  8. ^ Mirza, Zeeshan A; Bhosale, Harshal S; Phansalkar, Pushkar U.; Sawant, Mandar; Gowande, Gaurang G; Patel, Harshil (15 April 2020). "A New Species of Green Pit Vipers of the Genus Trimeresurus Lacépède, 1804 (Reptilia, Serpentes, Viperidae) from western Arunachal Pradesh, India". Zoosystematics and Evolution. 96 (1): 123–138. doi:10.3897/zse.96.48431. Retrieved 24 April 2020.
  9. ^ a b Trimeresurus at the Reptile Database. Accessed 2 February 2017.
  10. ^ Kraus F, Mink DG, Brown WM (1996). "Crotaline intergeneric relationships based on mitochondrial DNA sequence data". Copeia 1996: 763-773.
  11. ^ a b Malhotra A, Thorpe RS (2004). "A phylogeny of four mitochondrial gene regions suggests a revised taxonomy for Asian pitvipers (Trimeresurus and Ovophis)". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 32: 83-100.
  12. ^ a b Castoe TA, Parkinson CL (2006). "Bayesian mixed models and the phylogeny of pitvipers (Viperidae: Serpentes)". Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 39: 91-110.
  13. ^ Grismer LL, Grismer JL, McGuire JA (2006). "A new species of pitviper of the genus Popeia (Squamata: Viperidae) from Pulau Tioman, Pahang, West Malaysia". Zootaxa 1305: 1-19.
  14. ^ Vogel G (2006). Venomous Snakes of Asia / Giftschlangen Asiens. Frankfurt am Main: Terralog, Edition Chimaira.
  15. ^ David, Patrick; Vogel, Gernot; Dubois, Alain (2011). "On the need to follow rigorously the Rules of the Code for the subsequent designation of a nucleospecies (type species) for a nominal genus which lacked one: the case of the nominal genus Trimeresurus Lacépède, 1804 (Reptilia: Squamata: Viperidae)". Zootaxa 2992: 1-51.

Further readingEdit

  • Lacépède BG (1804). "Mémoire sur plusieurs animaux de la Nouvelle-Hollande dont la description n'a pas encore été publiée ". Annales du Muséum d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris 4: 184-211. (Trimeresurus, new genus, p. 209). (in French).