[Last Updated: 17 October 2019]
I was at the Queen Saovabha Memorial Institute in Bangkok (the Red Cross Snake Farm) on Sunday and was talking to the snake guy that does the presentation in English on various Thailand snakes. He mentioned that a new snake species was described from Phuket called the Trimeresurus phuketensis. Wow, how cool is that?
He said it is in general appearance like the Trimeresurus venustus, but larger and with brownish scales that make up a pattern of stripes – not well defined, but defined enough to call them stripes. The venom wasn’t supposed to be very strong, but in size, the snake is supposed to be similiar to Pope’s Pit Viper – a rather large green viper that often also has stripes.
I’ve yet to see one of these newly described green snakes (งูเขียว) – but will be on the lookout. Their range is only known to be a small section of Phuket Island.
The snake has been described in the Russian Journal of Herpetology by Montri Sumontha, Kirati Kunya, Olivier S. G. Pauwels, Awat Nitikul, Suwit Punnadee.
Here is the MCOT news about it:
NAKHON RATCHASIMA, Dec 23 – Thai researchers have discovered a previously unknown species of pitviper on the southern resort island of Phuket and will unveil it next week at Nakhon Ratchasima Zoo, also known as the Korat Zoo, in this northeastern Thai province.
Commonly known as ‘Phuket pitviper,’ the new species, Trimeresurus (Popeia) phuketensis sp. nov., was discovered in a rain forest on the southern resort island on Oct 5, 2009, according to Kirati Kunya, a member of the research team.
The researchers studied and examined the species for two years after its discovery to ensure that the serpent was indeed a new species. The discovery and research later was printed in an international journal, Mr Kirati added.
The new species was described and named for its habitat.
The Phuket pitviper differs from other pitvipers as its body has distinct and clearly-seen pattern with more and more dense scales. The toxicity of its venom was not strong but is the same as other pitvipers.
The zoo is scheduled to show this world’s new species of serpent to the public during the New Year celebrations. (MCOT online news)
Ok, my buddy Rob Valentic already got photos of it, and wow, did he get photos. Here’s one:
Gondwana Reptile Productions by Rob Valentic
#GreenSnake #GreenPitViper #งูเขียว
3 thoughts on “New Thailand Snake Species – Trimeresurus (Popeia) phuketensis”
Yeah, pretty cool. I think there is allot more species of reptiles and amphibians to be described in Thai rain forests, but it takes time. You could live in a certain place for decades and than suddenly find a new species. Trimeresurus phuketensis could have been a species (possibly even one of the mentioned above) that lived on mainland, than somehow ended up on the island of Phuket (could be by mans hand or simply a colonizing act like floating on a branch, or something like that, OR it evolved when Phuket became and island). What I’m trying to say is this could be a classic example of allopatric speciation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allopatric_speciation).
New species of snake-always great news for us snake lovers! :)
I live in Kamala Phuket and almost stood on a snake in my garden this morning.
It wasn’t very long, maybe 60-65 cms, but it was quite thick and had a head like a Cobra, the hood was fully opened. The snake was shiny black in colour with a pointed tail.
Does anyone know what it is and is it dangerous ?
Probably a cobra. Naja kaouthia.
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