Biology and conservation status of Piraja’s Lancehead Snake Bothrops piraña Amaral, 1923 (Serpentes: Viperidae), Brazil

M.A.D. Freitas, A.J.S. Argolo, C. Gonner, D. Verissimo


The venomous snake Bothrops pirajai (Amaral, 1923) is endemic to Brazil. Despite being described almost a century ago, very little is known about this species, which has never been studied in situ. Here, we present new data on the biology and natural history of B. pirajai based on a review of existing museum specimens and a field study (1504 man hours) carried out throughout the species range. The distribution of B. pirajai was found to be restricted to the eastern Atlantic forest of the state of Bahia, Brazil, between Todosos Santos Bay, Itabuna and Ilhéus (12050’S-14050’S, 88-835 m). We recommend the species be uplisted to Endangered in the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s global Red List of Threatened Species as its estimated extent of occurrence is under 5000km2. The effective conservation of B. pirajai will rely on addressing two key issues: improving our knowledge of the species and successfully mitigating habitat loss and fragmentation.

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Copyright (c) 2014 M.A.D. Freitas, A.J.S. Argolo, C. Gonner, D. Verissimo

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