Featured species: Black-speckled Palm Pit-Viper (Bothriechis nigroviridis), a report from our Chiriquí's correspondent
We have received our first report from our new correspondent from Chiriquí, Rafael Gutierrez, who has been mentioned previously on this blog. He is a long time collaborator, being with us in several of our excursions in Chiriquí, and has joined our organisation to provide timely pictures directly from the source.
Rafael found a Bothriechis nigroviridis and made a series photos for our site. Bothriechis nigroviridis is a venomous pit viper (snake) found in the mountains of Costa Rica and Panama. The specific name is derived from the Latin nigro (black) and viridis (green) in reference to its distinctive color pattern. It is locally known as "Toboba de Árbol" and other common names include black-speckled palm-pit-viper, speckled palm viper, black-spotted palm viper, and yellow-spotted palm viper.
It is found in the mountains in high montane forest, lower montane wet forest and cloud forest on both the Atlantic and Pacific slopes. It has a limited range and is generally considered relatively rare. It is arboreal, although it can be seen in the floor or the base of trees and shrubs; their activity is mainly nocturnal but also mobilises during the day.
Disregarding it is a venomous species, Rafael informs that this viper is not aggressive and can be handled with caution (please don't try it if you don't know what you are doing). Fatal bites have been reported, and the usual bite symptoms include intense pain, nausea and asphyxia.
The color pattern usually consists of an emerald green (rarely yellowish green) color with strong black mottling. The belly is yellowish green and lightly mottled with black. The head is heavily mottled with black on top, often with black parietal stripes. There is also a clearly defined post-ocular black stripe running back towards the angle of the jaw.