Two Green Pit Vipers Share a Branch in Thailand - Observation of the Week, 4/15/21

Our Observation of the Week is this Trimeresurus popeiorum pit viper (งูเขียวหางไหม้ท้องเขียว in Thai) duo, seen in Thailand by @parinyaherp!

A native of Bangkok, Parinya Pawangkhanant grew up there when the city was not as large as it is today. “My house was close to the canal,” he remembers.

My house was close to the canal and my father always took me to explore the nature around it, like Varanus salvaror, many fishes, and some insects. I dreamed to one day see and explore the country when the time was right.

For the last decade, Parinya has been able to do just that as he’s explored the herpetofauna of Thailand. He’s currently a research assistant with the Herpetofauna Lab at Phayao University and the Rabbit in the Moon foundation near Thailand’s border with Myanmar. 

During his travels, Parinya explored the mountain forests of Doi Suthep–Pui National Park on a humid afternoon in 2016 when

Suddenly I found a green snake on a branch just 1.5 meters from the ground. From my experience in the field, I quickly identified it as Trimeresurus popeiorum, a species of green pit viper... I tried getting a closer look at the snake and found out she was not alone - a smaller male with red stripes popped up behind the female. I photographed them using a longer lens so I could keep my distance from the sweet couple. However, I soon ran out of time - heavy rain was moving in - and I headed back to camp.

One of around fifty species in the asian tree pit viper genus Trimeresurus, Trimeresurus popeiorum spends much of its time staying very still in trees, relying on camouflage to ambush its prey of small vertebrates. Adults in this species have those impressive red eyes, and males often have a red or white stripe starting by the eye. Like all vipers, they deliver venom through hinged front fangs.

Parinya (above, collecting tadpoles near the border with Laos) was invited by @nopcoeur and @utain to iNat, to help with herp identifications. He compares iNat to the Anywhere Door from Doraemon in that with iNat he can “go everywhere and can look everywhere.” He’s been using it to check species complexes Sphenomorphus, Trimeresurus, and Polypedates.

Photo of Parinya by Mali Naiduangchan. Quotes have been edited for clarity.


- Two previous observations of the week documented snakes in the genus Trimeresurus - check ‘em out here and here!

Posted by tiwane tiwane, April 15, 2021 22:12

Comments

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So jealous, great observation!

Posted by cthawley 20 days ago (Flag)
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Kudos to iNat and @parinyaherp . We're proud to have you here.

Posted by nopcoeur 20 days ago (Flag)
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Fantastic!

Posted by jmaughn 20 days ago (Flag)
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Wonderful photo!

Posted by susanne-kasimir 20 days ago (Flag)
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Good effort!

Posted by utain 20 days ago (Flag)
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Very beautiful -- thank you!

Posted by susanhewitt 20 days ago (Flag)
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Stunning photo of a beautiful species!

Posted by greensnake879 20 days ago (Flag)
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So amazing!!! Stunning photo!

Posted by savannaharico 19 days ago (Flag)
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The photo is beautiful! I'm always shocked by these sorts of snakes.

Posted by thechaosapex 19 days ago (Flag)
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Great work...Thank you!

Posted by katharinab 19 days ago (Flag)
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Such a beautiful photo! Kudos!

Posted by walkingstick2 18 days ago (Flag)

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