Atheris chlorechis

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Atheris chlorechis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Viperidae
Subfamily: Viperinae
Genus: Atheris
Species: A. chlorechis
Binomial name
Atheris chlorechis
(Pel, 1851)
  • Vipera chlorechis - Pel, 1851
  • Vipera chloroechis - Schlegel, 1855
  • Vipera (Echis) chloroechis - Jan, 1859
  • Tox[icoa]. chloroëchis - Cope, 1860
  • Vipera chloroechis - Cope, 1862
  • E[chis]. chlorechis - Jan, 1863
  • Atheris polylepis - Peters, 1864
  • Atheris chloroëchis - Peters, 1864
  • Atheris proximus - Rochebrune, 1885
  • Atheris chlorechis - Boulenger, 1896
  • Atheris chloraechis - Cansdale, 1981
  • Atheris chlorechis - Broadley, 1996[1]

Common names: western bush viper.[2]  
Atheris chlorechis is a venomous viper species found only in the forests of West Africa.[2] No subspecies are currently recognized.[3]


Adults average 50 cm in length with a maximum of 70 cm. The tail is relatively long. The body is relatively slender, with 25-36 mid-body rows of dorsal scales. These are heavily keeled, with the keels ending in a swelling at the end of each scale.[2] Adults have a uniform light green groundcolor, overlaid with a series of faint yellow, roughly paired spots running dorsally along the length of the body and about 2.5 cm apart. The belly is pale green in color.[2] Newborns are tan-brown in color, but this changes to a yellow-green hue with irregular dark spots within 24 hours.[4] This second color phase has been described as the reverse of that of the adults and is only seen in individuals less than 25 cm in length.[4][2]

Geographic range

Found in West Africa, including Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Benin, isolated locations in Nigeria, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. The type locality is listed as "Boutre, Ghana."[1]


Found in forests, in dense foliage about 1-2 m above the ground.[2]


Said to feed on rodents, lizards and tree frogs.[2]


Gives birth to 6-9 young in March to April. Newborns are 131-151 mm in length.[4]

See also

Cited references

  1. 1.0 1.1 McDiarmid RW, Campbell JA, Touré T. 1999. Snake Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference, vol. 1. Herpetologists' League. 511 pp. ISBN 1-893777-00-6 (series). ISBN 1-893777-01-4 (volume).
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Mallow D, Ludwig D, Nilson G. 2003. True Vipers: Natural History and Toxinology of Old World Vipers. Krieger Publishing Company, Malabar, Florida. 359 pp. ISBN 0-89464-877-2. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Mal03" defined multiple times with different content
  3. Atheris chlorechis (TSN 634943) at Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Accessed 25 March 2007.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Spawls S, Branch B. 1995. The Dangerous Snakes of Africa. Ralph Curtis Books. Dubai: Oriental Press. 192 pp. ISBN 0-88359-029-8.

Other references

  • Cansdale GS. 1961. West African Snakes. London: Longman's. 75 pp.

External links