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







Broad-banded Pit Viper

Species : Tropidolaemus laticinctus
Maximum Size : 100 cm ?

The Broad-banded Pit Viper inhabits humid lowland to hill rainforest on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, up to elevations of at least 700 metres (Figs 2 and 3 were seen at this elevation).

This snake was formerly considered as part of the Wagler's Pit Viper species complex, being often referred to as the 'red form', but was recently separated from that group and described as a new species (Kuch et al, 2007).

This species lacks the pronounced age-related or gender-related variation in colour and patterning seen in Wagler's Pit Viper and some other related species.

Its distinctive, and visually stunning, dorsal body patterning comprises complex purplish to brick-red bands, separated by bright green mottling with complex white edging. Its ventral patterning comprises complex reddish to purplish broken bands which join to form a mid-ventral stripe on a white background.

The triangular head is equally distinctive, being mottled brown, green and pale yellow on the top and sides. The eyes is of moderate size, and the iris is orange. The short, prehensile tail has a reddish tip.

Little is known of the ecology of this species.

The Broad-banded Pit Viper is endemic to the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, and is known to occur in the northern and central provinces of that island ('Sulawesi Utara' and 'Sulawesi Tengah' respectively) and possibly the southern province ('Sulawesi Selatan').

Fig 1 : Example from Tangkoko National Pak, North Sulawesi, Indonesia.  It had assumed a defensive pose as it was being harassed by a group of Celebes Crested Macaques.  Photo thanks to Remco Hoffland.

Fig 2 : Adult from hill forest edge, north of Tomohon, North Sulawesi, at an elevation of around 700 metres. 

Fig 3 : Juvenile from hill forest, north of Tomohon, North Sulawesi, at an elevation of around 700 metres. 

Figs 2 and 3 thanks to Michael Leitzinger.  

References :

Kuch, U.; Gumprecht, A. & Melaun, C. 2007. A new species of Temple Pitviper (Tropidolaemus Wagler, 1830) from Sulawesi, Indonesia (Squamata: Viperidae: Crotalinae). Zootaxa 1446: 120

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Fig 1
ゥ  Remco Hoffland

Fig 2

ゥ  Michael Leitzinger

Fig 3

ゥ  Michael Leitzinger