Protobothrops mangshanensis – Mangshan Pit Viper
In july 2016 I was just outside Stockholm, Sweden to photograph some of the wonderful animals that belongs to Max Björling. To photograph the Mangshan Pit Viper (Protobothrops mangshanensis) had always been a dream of mine, as it is one of the most amazing looking viper I know of! In the same photoshoot I also got to shoot some other af Max animals, and even some Atheris who belonged to his friend, David Johannesson.
Protobothrops mangshanensis is a venomous pitviper species endemic to Hunan and Guangdong provinces in China. It is reputed to be one of two species (alongside the rinkhals) other than cobras known to spit venom. No subspecies are currently recognized.
The species is known from the type locality: «Pingkeng, Mangshan (Mt. Mang), Yizhang County, Hunan», as well as from Ruyuan Yao Autonomous County in Guangdong province, both in southern China.
This species is listed as «Endangered» on the basis that this species has an extent of occurrence and area of occupancy both unlikely to exceed 300 km², it is known from two locations at risk from harvesting for the international pet trade, and there is a continuing decline in the number of mature individuals.
This pitviper is found in mountainous regions in southern Hunan. Although first discovered in the Mt. Mang mountain range, it is also found in surrounding areas, primarily in forested areas with thick vegetation and cover. Frequently it rests against logs and other structures along animal trails to ambush prey, and can also be found in the numerous caves in the region. Winter temperatures in the region come close to freezing, whilst summer temperatures can reach 30 °C (86 °F) or higher
This species was originally described in the genus Trimeresurus. A new genus, Ermia, named in honor of Chinese herpetologist Er-mi Zhao, was erected for the species in 1993. However, by coincidence, this generic name was already in use for a genus of locusts. The new generic name Zhaoermia was therefore proposed as a replacement name for Ermia. More recently, Guo et al. (2007) transferred the species to the genus Protobothrops, based on evidence T. mangshanensis is phylogenetically nested within the existing species of that genus. The species is therefore currently known as Protobothrops mangshanensis.
source : Wikipedia