In South America these vipers are typically found west and north of the Andes, though there are exceptions, most notably in Venezuela where it can be found in the San Cristobal and Barquiseto Depressions in the Southeast region of the country. Bothrops atrox in central northern Columbia and certain areas of Venezuela. Bothrops atrox typically ranges further south in the Amazonian countries, but due to its similar appearance and overlapping distribution of the snakes are often mistaken for one another. To further confusion, was once considered a subspecies of B. atrox. (Campbell and Lamar, 2004; Sasa, et al., 2009)is found on the Pacfic coastal plains and Andes Pacific versant from Columbia to as far south as the border of Peru and Ecuador. These snakes are also found in Northern Peru near the Pacific coast. In Columbia their range extends from the Pacific to the Carribean coastal plain as well as deeper within the country in the valleys of the Andes. lives in sympatry with
- Aquatic Biomes
- Other Habitat Features
- Range elevation
- Sea Level to 2640 m
- to 8661.42 ft
Members of the genus Bothrops are distinguished by their broad, flattened heads which are set apart from the rest of the body. Their eye lids (canthus) are very distinct. In drier regions, terciopelos have more scales to prevent water loss. varies greatly phenotypically across its geographic range. This has led to the confusion between it and other species, most notably Bothrops atrox, which is similar in color but often contains yellow or rust like tones and rectangular or trapezoidal blotches. The head of is medium to dark brown or even black. It may have occipital botches or streaks that range from indistinct to distinct, but usually are absent. The underside is most often pale yellow. Individuals may weigh up to 6 kg and typically measure 1.2 to 1.8 m in length. (Campbell and Lamar, 2004; O'Shea, 2005; Saldarriaga-Córdoba, et al., 2009; United States Navy, 1962)
Like most other Bothrops, has different patterns and colors on its dorsal and ventral sides and also exhibits a postorbital stripe. The ventral side is yellow, cream, or a whitish gray, with dark blotches (mottling) that increases in frequency towards the posterior end. Ventrolaterally, the viper has alternating dark gray scales which are paler towards the medial line. Dorsally, the viper is olive, gray, brown, grayish brown, tan or at times nearly black. It has dark triangles with pale edges laterally, which range in number from 18 to 25. Apices either alternate or are reflective of each other over the middorsal line. In the interspaces, there are dark, paravertebral blotches. An individual may have a yellow zig-zag shaped line on each side of the body. (Campbell and Lamar, 2004)
Terciopelos exhibit great sexual dimorphism. From birth, males are notably smaller in size than females. Females have thick, heavy bodies and can reach up to 10 times the size of males. Males have 161 to 216 ventral scales and 57 to 81 subcaudals. Females have 187 to 240 ventrals and 46 to 70 subcaudals. Juvenile females have a brown tail tip while males have a yellow tail tip. Prior to sexual maturation, males completely lose their yellow tip. (Campbell and Lamar, 2004; Sasa, et al., 2009)
- Sexual Dimorphism
- female larger
- sexes colored or patterned differently
- Range mass
- 6 (high) kg
- 13.22 (high) lb
- Range length
- 2.5 (high) m
- 8.20 (high) ft
- Average length
- 1.2 to 1.8 m
- Mating System
- Key Reproductive Features
- seasonal breeding
- delayed fertilization
- Breeding interval
- breads once yearly.
- Breeding season
- Breeding season for varies. Some populations are known to mate in March, and give birth in September-November. Others mate from September to November and parturition occurs from April to June.
- Range number of offspring
- 5 to 86
- Range gestation period
- 6 to 8 months
Females build up fat stores which lead to a release in hormones that stimulate ovulation. Females gestate for 6 to 8 months before giving birth to live young. There is no parental care.
- Parental Investment
Recapture of the species is uncommon, so longevity in the wild is unknown. However, it is estimated that lifespan in the wild is similar to that in captivity, which ranges from 15 to 21 years based on zoo-keeping records. (Bowler, 1977; Sasa, et al., 2009)
- Range lifespan
- 15 to 21 years
- Range lifespan
Like much of Bothrops, is a nocturnal, solitary species. Activity varies seasonally, with becoming less active in colder and dryer months. Terciopelos are most often found near river and stream banks, basking in the sun during the day and under forest cover ready to ambush during the night. The viper also exhibits an S-coiled defense display when threatened by another species. Juveniles are known to climb trees and also to exhibit caudal luring, a use of their different colored tail tips to lure prey. (Campbell and Lamar, 2004; Sasa, et al., 2009)
- Range territory size
- 59,500 (high) m^2
- Average territory size
- 37,100 m^2
Because (Sasa, et al., 2009)is highly sedentary, ambushing to capture prey, the viper usually does not stray more than 1200 m over a two-night period and maintains a much smaller activity center than its home range. Terciopelos only leave this activity center in the absence of food or sufficient humidity. They have an estimated territory range of 37,100 m.
Communication and Perception
Communication and perception is not well studied in. However, the species is named for its loreal heat-sensing pit which it uses at night to detect prey. Males follow females to show they are interested in mating, and will exhibit head-bobbing motions if the female allows him to approach.
- Communication Channels
In Costa Rica, adults have been known to feed on rats (Rattus rattus), opossums (Caluromys derbianus and Didelphis marsupialis), and other rodents, as well as rabbits (Sylvilagus brasiliensis), frogs (Lithobates forreri) and geckos (Gonatodes albogularis). In Ecuador they primarily feed on rodents. On the island of Trinidad, has been known to feed on everything from rodents and other small mammals, lizards, frogs and birds, or even crayfish. These species include Didelphis marsupialis and Ninia atrata. (Campbell and Lamar, 2004)
- Primary Diet
- eats terrestrial vertebrates
- Animal Foods
- aquatic crustaceans
Though well camouflaged, large, and venomous Clelia clelia). Mussuranas are snakes known to use their own venom and constrictive abilities to prey on other snakes. The blood of Clelia clelia contains an inhibitor of some the powerful toxins of the venom of terciopelos. Raptors, such as laughing falcons (Herpetotheres cacchinans), swallow-tailed kites (Elanoides forficatus), and crane hawks (Geranospiza caerulescens) are also important predators of terciopelos. The most effective are laughing falcons which can successfully defeat incredibly large female terciopelos. (Campbell and Lamar, 2004)has many predators, notably mussuranas (
Those less effective predators which can only feed on small to medium-sized terciopelos include mammalian predators such as hog-nosed skunks (Conepatus leuconotus), raccoons (Procyon lotor), and coatis Nasua nasua and Nasua narica. The more susceptible juveniles are preyed upon by many smaller raptors including roadside hawks (Buteo magnirostris). Some crabs, the spider Phoneutria, and tarantulas are suspected to prey on neonates. (Sasa, et al., 2009)
- Anti-predator Adaptations
- Known Predators
Filaria, Rhabdias vellardi, Kalicephalus inermes, trematodes (Ochetosoma genus), and flatworms (Acanthocephala). Parasitic protozoans include hemogregarianes as well as amoeba and amoeba-like organisms. These have been known to cause gastroenteritis and hepatitis, among other illnesses. External parasites include several ticks, including Amblyoma savanae and Amblyoma dissimile, a known vector of hemogregarianes. (Sasa, et al., 2009)has many parasites. Internal parasites include the nematodes
Terciopelos serve as prey to many species, and likely play a role in supporting local populations. Mussuranas, as well as many raptors including laughing falcons (Herpetotheres cacchinans), swallow-tailed kites (Elanoides forficatus), and crane hawks (Geranospiza caerulescens) prey upon terciopelos. Predators that prey on small terciopelos include mammalian predators such as hog-nosed skunks (Conepatus leuconotus), the coatis Nasua nasua and Nasua narica and racoons (Procyon lotor). Juveniles are preyed upon by many smaller raptors including roadside hawks (Buteo magnirostris). Some crabs and tarantulas prey on neonates. (Campbell and Lamar, 2004)
Scolopendra angulata. Adults feed on rats (Rattus rattus), opossums (Caluromys derbianus and Didelphis marsupialis), and other rodents, as well as rabbits (Sylviagus brasiliensis), frogs (Lithobates forreri) and geckos (Gonatodes albogularis). (Sasa, et al., 2009)are also important predators in their ecosystems and thus impact local populations of prey species as well. Juveniles feed on small lizards and even large insects such as
Economic Importance for Humans: Positive
Terciopelos feed on small rats and other seed eaters which are detrimental to farmers. The venom has potential pharmacological implications and continues to be of promise. (Sasa, et al., 2009)
- Positive Impacts
- source of medicine or drug
- controls pest population
Economic Importance for Humans: Negative
- Negative Impacts
- bites or stings
Urbanization, deforestation, contamination, and agriculture have resulted in the declining number of (Cisneros-Heredia and Touzet, 2004)in Ecuador. In spite of this, some are able to live and even thrive in open and suburban zones. It has been suggested that the Ecuadorian be placed as a species of "Least Concern" on the IUCN Redlist, though the species is currently not evaluated.
In Costa Rica, human impact has seemed to favor (Sasa, et al., 2009). Terciopelos have been able to prosper in certain agricultural fields such as banana, cacao and coffee. Even though they are adaptable, some areas have seen a decline which is thought to stem from more drastic environmental changes and decline of prey.
Common Names: Terciopelos, barbas amarillas, fer de lance, cola de hueso, rabo de hueso, cola blanca, yellow-jaw tommygoff, cuatronarices, equis, cachete de punica, cascabelle, among many others. (Campbell and Lamar, 2004; Sasa, et al., 2009)
Kelly Brown (author), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Phil Myers (editor), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Rachelle Sterling (editor), Special Projects.
living in the southern part of the New World. In other words, Central and South America.
living in landscapes dominated by human agriculture.
an animal that mainly eats meat
uses smells or other chemicals to communicate
the nearshore aquatic habitats near a coast, or shoreline.
having markings, coloration, shapes, or other features that cause an animal to be camouflaged in its natural environment; being difficult to see or otherwise detect.
- delayed fertilization
a substantial delay (longer than the minimum time required for sperm to travel to the egg) takes place between copulation and fertilization, used to describe female sperm storage.
- desert or dunes
in deserts low (less than 30 cm per year) and unpredictable rainfall results in landscapes dominated by plants and animals adapted to aridity. Vegetation is typically sparse, though spectacular blooms may occur following rain. Deserts can be cold or warm and daily temperates typically fluctuate. In dune areas vegetation is also sparse and conditions are dry. This is because sand does not hold water well so little is available to plants. In dunes near seas and oceans this is compounded by the influence of salt in the air and soil. Salt limits the ability of plants to take up water through their roots.
a substance used for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease
forest biomes are dominated by trees, otherwise forest biomes can vary widely in amount of precipitation and seasonality.
having a body temperature that fluctuates with that of the immediate environment; having no mechanism or a poorly developed mechanism for regulating internal body temperature.
(as keyword in perception channel section) This animal has a special ability to detect heat from other organisms in its environment.
offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).
This terrestrial biome includes summits of high mountains, either without vegetation or covered by low, tundra-like vegetation.
- native range
the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.
active during the night
Referring to a mating system in which a female mates with several males during one breeding season (compare polygynous).
- scrub forest
scrub forests develop in areas that experience dry seasons.
- seasonal breeding
breeding is confined to a particular season
remains in the same area
reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female
mature spermatozoa are stored by females following copulation. Male sperm storage also occurs, as sperm are retained in the male epididymes (in mammals) for a period that can, in some cases, extend over several weeks or more, but here we use the term to refer only to sperm storage by females.
uses touch to communicate
Living on the ground.
the region of the earth that surrounds the equator, from 23.5 degrees north to 23.5 degrees south.
- tropical savanna and grassland
A terrestrial biome. Savannas are grasslands with scattered individual trees that do not form a closed canopy. Extensive savannas are found in parts of subtropical and tropical Africa and South America, and in Australia.
A grassland with scattered trees or scattered clumps of trees, a type of community intermediate between grassland and forest. See also Tropical savanna and grassland biome.
- temperate grassland
A terrestrial biome found in temperate latitudes (>23.5° N or S latitude). Vegetation is made up mostly of grasses, the height and species diversity of which depend largely on the amount of moisture available. Fire and grazing are important in the long-term maintenance of grasslands.
an animal which has an organ capable of injecting a poisonous substance into a wound (for example, scorpions, jellyfish, and rattlesnakes).
uses sight to communicate
reproduction in which fertilization and development take place within the female body and the developing embryo derives nourishment from the female.
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