Bornean Keeled Green Pit Viper - Tropidolaemus subannulatus | ©Bernard Dupont  (Gunung Mulu NP, Sarawak, Malaysia)

Tropidolaemus subannulatus (Viperidae), better known as Bornean Keeled Green Pit Viper, and North Philippine Temple Pitviper, is a venomous snake, with heat-sensing pits on the sides of the head. 

It is exclusively arboreal, occurring in Borneo, Sulawesi and many islands of the southern Philippines, however it is clear that the populations in the Philippines and Sulawesi are different species. Thus, Tropidolaemus subannulatus should really be considered as endemic to Borneo.

Juveniles and adult males have a vibrant green upperside and yellowish green belly, patterned with numerous thin, pale bicolored bars. Adult females tend to have a complex pattern comprising a ground colour of cream, with broken bluish, greenish or turquoise bands, and a thick stripe of the same colour on the sides of the head.


Made with Flickr

Temple viper / Tropidolaemus wagleri by Matthijs Kuijpers

Temple Viper - Tropidolaemus wagleri

Tropidolaemus wagleri (Viperidae), commonly known as Temple viper, Wagler’s pit viper, and Temple pit viper, is regarded as one of the most venomous pit viper species.

Temple viper is native to tropical Asia, widespread and often commonly encountered in Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia.

Tropidolaemus wagleri is characterized by having a strong ontogenetic variation of the background body color: black (never green) in adult females, whereas males and juveniles retain a vividly green background color; and also a strong ontogenetic variation of the pattern: yellow crossbands around the body in adult females, white spots in adult and juvenile males, white crossbars in juvenile females.

The venom of the temple viper is a hemotoxin and can be fatal to humans.  A hemotoxin essentially attacks the red blood cells and can cause blod clots and destruction of the organs.

References: [1] - [2]

Photo credit: ©Methos Phang

Location: unknown.

Made with Flickr

MPE65 viper portrait…..IMG_8726 copy Tropidoleamus subannulatus by Kurt (Orionmystery) G
Via Flickr:
My third MPE65 snake shot :D. With the MP-E65, the maximum working distance is 4 inches (front of lens to subject) at the minimum magnification of 1:1. More tropical snakes and other herps here: <a href=“” rel=“nofollow”>…</a> The other two MPE65 snake shots are here: <a href=“” rel=“nofollow”>…</a> <i>Tropidoleamus subannulatus</i>, formerly a subspecies of wagleri but now has full species status

Wagler’s Pit Viper (female) - Tropidolaemus wagleri

The Asian Tropidolaemus wagleri (Viperidae) is a widespread polytypic species complex with a complicated taxonomic history, a lengthy species synonymy list, and a geographic distribution encompassing Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, portions of Indonesia, and the Philippines.

These small to medium-sized (about 35–100 cm total length) snakes are remarkably diverse in color pattern. They are arboreal ambush predators with outstanding morphological features. Their venom contains neurotoxins called waglerins which are unique among snake venom toxins.

Snakes of this genus are used in ceremonial contexts and traditionally displayed in a Buddhist temple in Pulau Pinang, Malaysia, and consequently often referred to as Temple Pitvipers, or Wagler’s Pitvipers.

Reference: [1]

Photo credit: ©Gan CW | Locality: Central Catchment, Singapore (2012)

Made with Flickr

The Temple Viper - Trimesurus subannulatus (now Tropidolaemus walgeri)

The Temple Viper is so-called because of its abundance within the Temple of the Azure Cloud (aka “Snake Temple”), in Malaysia. Once thought to have numerous sub-species or to be different species altogether, there are numerous color and size variations of this snake, but genetic sequencing shows them to be a single species. 

This is a venomous snake, and a member of the arboreal Asiatic pit vipers (part of the subfamily Crotalinae). Like all pit vipers, they are able to sense body heat, and are ambush predators

While many of the snakes at the Snake Temple have been de-venomed (a less-harmful but still-invasive tactic than de-fanging a snake) to render them “safe”, there is a native population of temple vipers in the surrounding areas, and individuals from that population have come into the temple of their own accord, with venom fully intact. These native snakes (or skipped-over temple snakes) have been known to envenomate pilgrims to the temple on occasion.

Interestingly, as the Walgerins (venom proteins unique to this species) are so specialized to mouse neuroreceptors, they have a somewhat lessened effect upon humans - not that it’s recommended you play with these snakes. They’re still deadly, but the peptides within their venom are much more potent by volume against rodents than other animals.

Seriously though, don’t play with venomous snakes. They don’t want to be your friend.

Contributions to the Natural History of Labuan, and the adjacent Coasts of Borneo. James Motley and Lewis Llewellyn Dillwyn, 1855.