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Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless credited to others.
Copyright ゥ Ecology Asia 2024







Bornean Keeled Pit Viper

Species : Tropidolaemus subannulatus
Maximum Size : Females 96 cm, males 46 cm

Formerly part of the Wagler's Pit Viper species complex, the Bornean Keeled Pit Viper was elevated to species status in 2007 (Vogel et al, 2007).

This species occurs in similar habitats to Wagler's Pit Viper including lowland primary or mature secondary forest, as well as riverine and coastal forest.

As with other pit vipers, this is a venomous snake, with heat-sensing pits on the sides of the head.

It is exclusively arboreal, and may be found at heights ranging from low vegetation to mid-canopy levels of around 20 metres or so. Its diet comprises birds and arboreal rodents.

Juveniles and adult males have a vibrant green upperside and yellowish green belly, patterned with numerous thin, pale bicoloured bars : the leading edge of these bars are generally white, and the trailing edge blue or red or a combination of both colours. There is a bicoloured red and white stripe behind the eye.

Adult females tend to have a complex pattern comprising a ground colour of cream, with broken bluish, greenish or turquoise bands, and a thick stripe of the same colour on the sides of the head.

As of 2020, this species is listed as occurring in Borneo, Sulawesi and many islands of the southern Philippines.

Figs 1 and 2: Adult male (based on size) at Ulu Temburong, Brunei, Borneo. This specimen was photographed in mid-canopy at around 20 metres above the forest floor.

Fig 3 : Adult female at Bako National Park, Sarawak, Borneo.  Photo thanks to Dave Haylock.

Fig 4 : Juvenile at Niah Caves National Park, Sarawak, Borneo.

Fig 5 : Example from North Minahasa, at an elevation of around 400 metres.

Fig 5 thanks to Michael Leitzinger.  

References :

Vogel, G., P. David, M. Lutz. van Rooijen & N. Vidal. 2007. Revision of the Tropidolaemus wagleri complex (Serpentes: Viperidae: Crotalinae). I. Definition of included taxa and redescription of Tropidolaemus wagleri (Boie, 1827). Zootaxa 1644: 1-40.

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Fig 1
Fig 2
Fig 3
ゥ  Dave Haylock

Fig 4
Fig 5

ゥ  Michael Leitzinger