Protobothrops kelomohy sp. nov. (Squamata: Viperidae), the Second Known Species of Lance-Headed Pit Viper from Thailand


  • Montri Sumontha Ranong Marine Fisheries Research and Development Station, 157 M.1 Chaloem Phra Kiat Rd., Paknam, Muang, Ranong 85000, THAILAND
  • Taksa Vasaruchapong Queen Saovabha Memorial Institute, The Thai Red Cross Society, 1871 Rama 4 Rd., Patumwan, Bangkok 10330, THAILAND
  • Niruth Chomngam 54 M.2 Tha Pha, Ban Pong, Ratchaburi 70110, THAILAND
  • Sunutcha Suntrarachun Queen Saovabha Memorial Institute, The Thai Red Cross Society, 1871 Rama 4 Rd., Patumwan, Bangkok 10330, THAILAND
  • Parinya Pawangkhanant Bansomdejchaopraya Rajabhat University, 1061 Soi 15, Itsaraphab Rd., Hiran Ruchi, Thon Buri, Bangkok 10600, THAILAND
  • Weerasak Sompan Omkoi District Non-Formal and Informal Education Centre "Mae Fa Luang", Baan Tee Tor Ta M.1 Sop Khong, Omkoi, Chiang Mai 50310, THAILAND
  • Ton Smits 105 M.4 Kaeng Krachan, Phetchaburi 76170, THAILAND
  • Kirati Kunya Nakhonratchasima Zoo, 111 M. 1, Ratchasima-Pak Tongchai Rd., Chaimongkol, Muang, Nakhon Ratchasima 30000, THAILAND
  • Lawan Chanhome Queen Saovabha Memorial Institute, The Thai Red Cross Society, 1871 Rama 4 Rd., Patumwan, Bangkok 10330, THAILAND


Protobothrops, Crotalinae, new species, montane forest, Thailand


Protobothrops kelomohy sp. nov. is described from dry evergreen forest in Chiang Mai Province, northern Thailand, based on morphology and a molecular phylogeny. It differs from congeners by the following combination of characters: 1) relatively large body size (total length up to 1,310 mm); 2) dorsal scale rows 23–23–17, all keeled; 3) ventral scales 231–234; 4) subcaudal scales 80–84, paired; 5) supralabials 8–9; 6) infralabials 12–13; 7) typical lance-pattern on upper head surface; 8) three bold vertical facial stripes; and 9) dorsal and tail brown, each scale with dark reddish-brown transverse blotches, edged in black, somewhat fused together as a median zigzag line on dorsum, a row of large ventrolateral blotches on each side, each darker marking edged by a narrow yellow line. The new discovery and other recent findings suggest that further herpetological research is required in the montane forest of northern Thailand and adjacent Myanmar and Laos. Data on the natural history of the new species and an updated key to the species of Protobothrops are provided. This is the second species of Lance-headed Pit Viper recorded from Thailand after P. mucrosquamatus.


Chuaynkern, Y., Duengkae, P., Pongcharoen, C., Chuaynkern, C. and Horsin, L. 2014. Opisthotropis spenceri Smith, 1918 (Serpentes: Natricidae): the third and fourth specimens. Journal of Wildlife Thailand, 21(1): 1-14.

David, P., Tong, H., Vogel, G. and Tian, M. 2008. On the status of the Chinese pitviper Ceratrimeresurus shenlii Liang and Liu in Liang, 2003 (Serpentes, Viperidae), with the addition of Protobothrops cornutus (Smith, 1930) to the Chinese snake fauna. Asiatic Herpetological Research, 11: 17-23.

Dowling, H.G. 1951a. A proposed standard system of counting ventrals in snakes. British Journal of Herpetology, 1: 97-99.

Dowling H. G. 1951b. A Proposed Method of Expressing Scale Reductions in Snakes. Copeia, 2: 131-134.

Figueroa, A., McKelvy, A.D., Grismer, L.L., Bell, C.D. and Lailvaux, S.P. 2016. A Species-Level Phylogeny of Extant Snakes with Description of a New Colubrid Subfamily and Genus. PLoS One, 11(9): e0161070. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.016070.

Grismer, L.L., Wood Jr., P.L. and Cota, M. 2014. A new species of Hemiphyllodactylus Bleeker, 1860 (Squamata: Gekkonidae) from northwestern Thailand. Zootaxa, 3760(1): 067-078.

Gong, S., Hitschfeld, E., Hundsdörfer, A.K., Auer, M., Wang, F., Zhou, L. and Fritz, U. 2011. Is the horned pitviper Ceratrimeresurus shenlii Liang and Liu, 2003 from China a valid Protobothrops?. Amphibia-Reptilia, 32: 132-135.

Gumprecht, A., Tillack, F., Orlov, N.L., Captain, A. and Ryabov, S. 2004. Asian Pitvipers. Geitje Books Berlin, 368 pp.

Guo, P., Pang, J.F., Zhang, Y.P. and Zhao, E.M. 2006. A re-analysis of the phylogeny of the genus Protobothrops (Reptilia: Viperidae), with particular reference to the systematic position of P. xiangchengensis. Amphibia-Reptilia, 27: 433-439.

Guo, P., Malhotra, A., Li, C., Creer, S., Pook, C.E. and Wen, T. 2009. Systematics of the Protobothrops jerdonii complex (Serpentes, Viperidae, Crotalinae). Herpetological Journal, 19: 85-96.

Guo, P., Liu, Q., Li, C., Chen, X., Jiang, K., Wang, Y.Z. and Malhotra, A. 2011. Molecular phylogeography of Jerdon’s pitviper (Protobothrops jerdonii): importance of the uplift of the Tibetan plateau. Journal of Biogeography, 38: 2326–2336. Available from: (accessed 1 August 2018)

Guo, P., Liu, Q., Wen, T., Xiao, R., Fang, M., Zhong, G., Truong, N.Q., Zhu, F., Jadin, R.C. and Li, C. 2016. Multilocus phylogeny of the Asian Lance-headed pitvipers (Squamata, Viperidae, Protobothrops). Zootaxa, 4093(3): 382-390.

Hauser, S. 2018. Addition of Liopeltis frenatus (Günther, 1858) and Cyclophis multicinctus (Roux, 1907) to the herpetofauna of Thailand (Squamata: Colubridae). Tropical Natural History, 18(1): 54-67.

Hoge, A.R. and Romano Hoge, S.A. 1980/1981. Notes on micro and ultrastructure of “Oberhӓutschen” in Viperoidea. Memorias do Instituto Butantan 44/45, 81-118.

Huang, X., Pan, T., Han, D.M., Zhang, L., Hou, Y.X., Yu, L., Zheng, H.M. and Zhang, B.W. 2012. A new species of the genus Protobothrops from the Dabie Mountains, Anhui, China. Asian Herpetological Research, 3(3): 213-218.

Huelsenbeck, J. P. and Ronquist, F. 2001. MRBAYES: Bayesian Inference of Phylogenetic Trees. Bioinformatics, 17: 754-755.

Jiang, K., Yan, F., Suwannapoom, C., Chomdej, S. and Che, J. 2013. A new species of the genus Leptolalax (Anura: Megophryidae) from northern Thailand. Asian Herpetological Research, 4(2): 100-108.

Kumar, S., Stecher, G. and Tamura, K. 2016. MEGA7: Molecular Evolutionary Genetics Analysis Version 7.0 for Bigger Datasets. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 33(7): 1870-4.

Kunya, K., Panmongkol, A., Pauwels, O.S.G., Sumontha, M., Meewassana, J., Bunkhwamdi, W. and Dangsri, S. 2014. A new forest-dwelling Bent-toed Gecko (Squamata: Gekkonidae: Cyrtodactylus) from Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai Province, northern Thailand. Zootaxa, 3811(2): 251-261.

Kunya, K., Sumontha, M., Panitvong, N., Dongkumfu, W., Sirisamphan, T. and Pauwels, O.S.G. 2015. A new forest-dwelling Bent-toed Gecko (Squamata: Gekkonidae: Cyrtodactylus) from Doi Inthanon, Chiang Mai Province, northern Thailand. Zootaxa, 3905(4): 573-584.

Le, D.T., Nguyen, T.T., Nishikawa, T., Nguyen, S.L.H., Pham, A.V., Matsui, M., Bernardes, M. and Nguyen, T.Q. 2015. A new species of Tylototriton Anderson, 1781 (Amphibia: Saramandridae) from northern Indochina. Current Herpetology, 34(1): 38-50.

Liu, Q., Myers, E.A., Zhong, G.H., Hu, J., Zhao, H. and Guo, P. 2012. Molecular evidence on the systematic position of the lance-headed pitviper Protobothrops maolanensis Yang et al., 2011. Zootaxa, 3178: 57-62.

Luu, V.Q., Nguyen, T.Q., Lehmann, T., Bonkowski, M. and Ziegler, T. 2015. New records of the Horned Pitviper, Protobothrops cornutus (Smith, 1930) (Serpentes: Viperidae), from Vietnam with comments on morphological variation. Herpetology Notes, 8: 149-152.

Maki, M. 1931. A Monograph of the Snakes of Japan. Dai-ichi Shobo Tokyo, 240 pp.

Malhotra, A. and Thorpe, R.S. 2000. A phylogeny of the Trimeresurus group of pit vipers: new evidence from a mitochondrial gene tree. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 16: 199-211.

Malhotra, A. and Thorpe, R.S. 2004. A phylogeny of four mitochondrial gene regions suggests a revised taxonomy for Asian pit vipers (Trimeresurus and Ovophis). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 32: 83-100.

Manthey, U. and Denzer, W. 2012. Bemerkungen zur Verbreitung von Japalura yunnanensis Anderson, 1878 (Squamata: Agamidae: Draconinae). Sauria, 34(2): 35-40.

Matsui, M., Panha, S., Khonsue, W. and Kuraishi, N. 2010. Two new species of the “kuhlii” complex of the genus Limnonectes from Thailand (Anura: Dicroglossidae). Zootaxa, 2615: 1-22.

Matsui, M., Khonsue, W., Panha, S. and Eto, K. 2015. A new tree frog of the genus Gracixalus from Thailand (Amphibia: Rhacophoridae). Zoological Science, 32(2): 204-210.

Murphy, J.C., Chan-ard, T., Mekchai, S., Cota, M. and Voris, H.K. 2008. The Rediscovery of Angel’s Stream Snake, Paratapinophis praemaxillaris Angel, 1929 (Reptilia: Serpentes: Natricidae). The Natural History Journal of Chulalongkorn University, 8(2): 169-183.

Niyomwan, P., Srisom, P. and Phawangkhanant, P. 2019. Amphibians of Thailand. Parbpim, Bangkok. 478 p. (in Thai)

Nishikawa, K., Khonsue, W., Pomchote, P. and Matsui, M. 2013. Two new species of Tylototriton from Thailand (Amphibia: Urodela: Salamandridae). Zootaxa, 3737(3): 261-279.

Orlov, N.L., Ryabov, S.A. and Nguyen, T.T. 2009. Two new species of genera Protobothrops Hoge et Romano-Hoge, 1983 and Viridovipera Malhotra et Thorpe, 2004 (Ophidia: Viperidae: Crotalinae) from karst region in northeastern Vietnam. Part I. Description of a new species of Protobothrops Genus. Russian Journal of Herpetology, 16: 69-82.

Pan, H., Chettri, B., Yang, D., Jiang, K., Wang, K., Zhang, L. and Vogel, G. 2013. A New Species of the Genus Protobothrops (Squamata: Viperidae) from Southern Tibet, China and Sikkim, India. Asian Herpetological Research, 4(2): 109-115.

Pauwels, O.S.G., Kunya, K., David, P. and Sumontha, M. 2009. First record of the Yunnan Keelback Sinonatrix yunnanensis Rao and Yang, 1998 (Serpentes: Natricidae) from Thailand. Salamandra, 45(3): 165-169.

Smith, M.A. 1943. The fauna of British India, Ceylon and Burma. Reptilia and Amphibia, Vol. III - Serpentes. Taylor and Francis London, 583 pp.

Sumontha, M., Kunya, K., Pauwels, O.S.G., Nitikul, A. and Punnadee, A. 2011. Trimeresurus (Popeia) phuketensis, a new pitviper (Squamata: Viperidae) from Phuket Island, Southwestern Thailand. Russian Journal of Herpetology, 18(3): 185-194.

Suntrarachun, S., Chanhome, L., Thaweekarn, W, and Sumontha, M. 2014. Molecular identification of venomous snakes in Thailand using PCR-RFLP. International Journal of Pure & Applied Bioscience, 2(1): 133-138.

Suntrarachun, S., Chanhome, L., and Sumontha, M. 2018. Identification of sea snake meat adulteration in meat products using PCR-RFLP of mitochondrial DNA. Food Science and Human Wellness, 7: 170-174.

Suwannapoom, C., Yuan, Z.Y., Poyarkov Jr., N.A., Yan, F., Kamtaeja, S., Murphy, R.W. and Che, J. 2016. A new species of genus Fejervarya (Anura: Dicroglossidae) from northern Thailand. Zoological Research (Kunming), 37: 227-237.

Tanabe, A. S. 2011. Kakusan-4 and Aminosan: two programs for comparing nonpartitioned, proportional and separate model for combined molecular phylogenetic analyses of multilocus sequence data. Molecular Ecology Resources, 11: 914-921.

Teynié, A. and Hauser, S. 2017. First Record of Parafimbrios lao Teynié, David, Lottier, Le, Vidal et Nguyen, 2015 (Squamata: Caenophidia: Xenodermatidae) for Thailand. Russian Journal of Herpetology, 24(1): 41-48.

Tillack, F.B., Scheidt, U.E. and Ihle, T.L. 2006. First record of Blakeway’s mountain snake, Plagiopholis blakewayi Boulenger, 1893, from Thailand, with remarks on the distribution of Plagiopholis nuchalis (Boulenger, 1893) (Reptilia: Squamata: Colubridae, Pseudoxenodontinae). Veröffentlichungen Naturkundemuseum Erfurt, 25: 181–186.

Uetz, P., Freed, P. and Hošek, J. 2018. The Reptile Database, Available from:, (accessed on 16 August 2018)

Vasaruchapong, T., Laoungbua, P., Tangrattanabul, K., Tawan, T. and Chanhome, L. 2017. Protobothrops mucrosquamatus (Cantor, 1839), A highly venomous species added to the snake fauna of Thailand (Squamata: Viperidae). Tropical Natural History, 17(2): 111-115.

Vogel, G. and Hauser, S. 2013. Addition of Ptyas nigromarginata (Blyth, 1854) (Squamata: Colubridae) to the Snake Fauna of Thailand with Preliminary Remarks on Its Distribution. Asian Herpetological Research, 4(3): 166-181.

Vogel, G., Rooijin, J.V. and Hauser, S. 2012. A new species of Dendrelaphis Boulenger, 1890 (Squamata: Colubridae) from Thailand and Myanmar. Zootaxa, 3392: 35-46.

Wang, K., Che, J., Lin, S., Deepak, V., Datta-Roy, A., Jiang, K., Jin, J., Chen, H. and Siler, C.D. 2018. Multilocus phylogeny and revised classification for mountain dragons of the genus Japalura s.l. (Reptilia: Agamidae: Draconinae). Asia. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 185(1): 1-22.

World Health Organization (WHO) 2016. WHO Guidelines for the Production, Control and Regulation of Snake Antivenom Immunoglobulins, WHO press, Geneva, 146. Available from:, (accessed 8 September 2018).

Wüster, W., Peppin, L., Pook, C.E. and Walker, D.E. 2008. A nesting of vipers: Phylogeny and historical biogeography of the Viperidae (Squamata: Serpentes). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 49: 445-459. 1016/j.ympev.2008.08.019

Yang, J.H., Orlov, N.L. and Wang, Y.Y. 2011. A new species of pitviper of the genus Protobothrops from China (Squamata: Viperidae). Zootaxa, 2936: 59-68.

Zhao, E.M. 2006. Snakes of China. Anhui Science and Technology Publishing House Hefei, 372 pp.

Ziegler, T., Herrmann, H.W., David, P., Orlov, N.L. and Pauwels, O.S.G. 2000. Triceratolepidophis sieversorum, a new genus and species of pitviper (Reptilia: Serpentes: Viperidae: Crotalinae) from Vietnam. Russian Journal of Herpetology, 7: 199-214.




How to Cite

Sumontha, M., Vasaruchapong, T., Chomngam, N., Suntrarachun, S., Pawangkhanant, P., Sompan, W., Smits, T., Kunya, K. and Chanhome, L. 2020. Protobothrops kelomohy sp. nov. (Squamata: Viperidae), the Second Known Species of Lance-Headed Pit Viper from Thailand. Tropical Natural History. 20, 1 (Mar. 2020), 43–59.



Original Articles