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Bothriopsis spp., Forest pitvipers

Clinical entries

For clinical data see section “Risk” below

formerly genus Bothrops


  • 1. Bothriopsis bilineata
  • 2. Bothriopsis chloromelas
  • 3. Bothriopsis medusa
  • 4. Bothriopsis oligolepis
  • 5. Bothriopsis pulchra
  • 6. Bothriopsis taeniata


The genus status of Bothriopsis is controversial. According to Schätti et al. (1990) there is not enough evidence to separate this genus from Bothriechis spp. On the basis of more recent studies of Ecuadorian pitvipers, Bothriopsis albocarinata, Bothriopsis alticola and Bothriopsis peruviana are now classified as Bothriopsis (or Bothriechis) oligolepis (Schätti 1990, Schätti and Kramer 1993).

Campbell and Lamar (2004) place Bothriopsis punctata back in the genus Bothrops (Bothrops punctatus).

Carrasco et al. (2012) propose to place the genus Bothriopsis back to the genus Bothrops: Bothrops bilineatus, Bothrops chloromelas, Bothrops medusa, Bothrops oligolepis,
Bothrops pulchra, Bothrops taeniatus


Serpentes; Viperidae; Crotalinae

Common names

Forest pitvipers

  • 1. Green Jararaca
  • 2. Inca forest pitviper
  • 3. Venezuela forest pitviper
  • 4. Peru forest pitviper
  • 5. Andean forest pitviper
  • 6. Speckled forest pitviper


Northern and northwest South America. B. bilineata and B. taeniata also in the Amazon Basin. Isolated population of B. bilineata on the east coast of Brazil. See link "Distribution" at the top of the page for detailed information.


  Map 55 Bothriopsis spp.



Appearance as for Bothriechis spp. Most species are also well adapted to an arboreal way of life and possess a prehensile tail. The largest species, B. taeniata, can reach a length of over 1.5 m. Slender to sturdy body, with triangular head clearly distinct from the body. Generally cryptic markings with green or brown colouring.

Inhabit wet mountain forests; B. bilineata and B. taeniata in wooded lowlands of the Amazon Basin. With the exception of these two species, Forest pitvipers are very rare and limited to small distribution areas.


Bites rare, but the venom is potentially dangerous (particularly in the larger species). According to a study in southern Colombia, of 93 crotaline bites, 14 were caused by B. bilineata (Haad 1980/81).

Literature (biological)

Campbell and Lamar 1989, 2004, Carrasco et al. 2012, Chippaux 1986, Lancini 1986, Pérez-Santos and Moreno 1988, Schätti et al. 1990, Schätti and Kramer 1993