Observation of the Week, 1/26/17

This Siamese Peninsula Pitviper, seen in Malaysia by @rharris70, is our Observation of the Week!

“I'm out in the field every opportunity I get and have over 40 years experience now,” says Roger Harris, who lives in Somerset, England. “I became interested in nature as a child at around the age of 8 and was immediately hooked. I live in the UK and started with birds but by my teens had  become interested in reptiles, insects and plants too. I still consider myself a fairly 'rounded' naturalist but my loves are definitely birding and herping, particularly snakes with a strong interest in venomous species.”

Well, it’s Roger’s beautiful shot of a venomous snake, the Siamese Peninsula Pitviper, that’s our Observation of the Week. It’s one of several he found while on a trip to Malaysia near the end of 2016, which he went on with his friend, TV naturalist Nigel Marven. He also ran into Oriental Whipsnakes (here’s one) and found some incredible birds and other animals.

The Siamese Peninusla Pitviper, Trimeresurus fucatus, is part of the Asian Lancehead genus, which has a complicated taxonomic history. This species was once considered a variant of the Pope’s Pitviper but is is now considered its own species. It ranges through southeast Asia, from Thailand and into the peninsular part of Malaysia, which is where Roger spotted it. Note the beautiful dual stripes on this male, which go down its flanks (giving it a red tail), and the large heat-sensing pits near its eyes. This is an arboreal snake that preys mainly on rats and squirrels, and its bite is considered medically significant to humans. Richard also saw this larger female nearby, who was still shedding her skin.

“I've only recently discovered iNaturalist so still finding my way around it but I immediately thought what a great resource it is,” says Richard. “What could be better than having people with an interest in all types of natural history getting together in one place to share resources, knowledge and information - it's a fantastic community of like-minded people.”

- by Tony Iwane

- Nigel keeps a great nature blog, and you can read his Malaysia trip post here - tons of great photos and stories!

- Niiiice footage of a Trimeresurus pitviper adjusting its jaws.

Posted on January 27, 2017 06:38 AM by tiwane tiwane


Another great entry, @tiwane . These are truly motivational! :)

Posted by sambiology over 6 years ago (Flag)

Thanks @sambiology - it's a lot of fun learning about different naturalists around the world!

Posted by tiwane over 6 years ago (Flag)

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