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Distribution and conservation status of Bothrops asper (GARMAN, 1884) in Ecuador

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Abstract

Bothrops asper (GARMAN, 1884) was conceived as a species distributed below 1.500 m a.s.l. in the Pacific versant and adjacent coastal lowlands of Ecuador, with few or no records in certain areas (Azuay, Loja, Imbabura, Santa Elena Peninsula). However, a reassessment of literature records and new data from specimens deposited at the Laboratorio de Anfibios & Reptiles, Universidad San Francisco de Quito / Fundación Herpetológica Gustavo Orcés in Quito, Ecuador and at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution (Washington D.C., USA) confirms that this species has records in every province, zoogeographic zone, and most plant forma- tions along western slopes and Pacific lowlands of Ecuador (including the Santa Elena Peninsula) at altitudes between sea level to at least 1.720 m. A conservation status assessment indicates that B. asper should be classified under the Least Concern IUCN category because it has a wide distribution, and it is a common species capable of adapting to altered zones. However, we emphasize the general need for mid and long-term monitoring programs in order to better understand the situation of populations of the highly diverse tropical snake faunas.
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... En el Ecuador, la víbora equis o terciopelo, Botrhops asper (Garman, 1884), se distribuye desde las tierras bajas del Pacífico hasta los 1720 m en las estribaciones occidentales de los Andes [1,2,3]. Se la puede encontrar en varios hábitats, desde bosques secos hasta nublados y también en las cercanías de asentamientos humanos y por la cual es considerada una de las principales causas de envenenamiento [2][3][4][5][6]. ...
... En el Ecuador, la víbora equis o terciopelo, Botrhops asper (Garman, 1884), se distribuye desde las tierras bajas del Pacífico hasta los 1720 m en las estribaciones occidentales de los Andes [1,2,3]. Se la puede encontrar en varios hábitats, desde bosques secos hasta nublados y también en las cercanías de asentamientos humanos y por la cual es considerada una de las principales causas de envenenamiento [2][3][4][5][6]. Por tal razón, la gente local regularmente mata a las equis al encontrarlas. ...
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Se reporta por primera vez la presencia de Melanomys caliginosus Ratón arrocero moreno (Rodentia: Cricetidae) en la dieta de la serpiente Bothrops asper para el Ecuador. Se encontró un individuo hembra adulto de la serpiente equis o terciopelo recientemente muerta por los trabajadores del sector durante una exploración al bosque de la Hacienda El Mirador en el Sector de Chitoa, Santo Domingo de los Tsáchilas. En su estómago se registró dos individuos en buen estado de Melanomys caliginosus, un macho juvenil y una hembra adulta gestante.
... asper) in Ecuador was assessed. We targeted Ecuadorian populations because of the recently identified presence in the country of four different lineages of this venomous snake (Salazar-Valenzuela, 2016) and the high level of habitat heterogeneity in western Ecuador (Anderson & Martínez-Meyer, 2004;Lynch & Duellman, 1997;Ridgely & Greenfield, 2001), where B. asper is present from sea level up to 2,000 m (Campbell & Lamar, 2004;Cisneros-Heredia & Touzet, 2004;Valencia, Garzón-Tello, & Barragán-Paladines, 2016;pers. obs.). ...
... The HEC1 population analysed here is located in the Inter-Andean valley of Vilcabamba, Loja province. Isolation of this lineage agrees with previous reports of morphological differences for these populations relative to other B. asper populations in Ecuador (Campbell & Lamar, 2004), and with present-day distribution patterns that show no published records of collection localities between the Vilcabamba valley and populations close to the Pacific coast along the Catamayo river basin (Bustamante & Arteaga, 2013;Cisneros-Heredia & Touzet, 2004;Rodríguez-Guerra, 2011;Valencia et al., 2016). suggested that this region of low altitude in the Andes could have facilitated the exchange of organisms located on its eastern and western slopes (Duellman, 1979;Trénel, Hansen, Normand, & Borchsenius, 2008). ...
Article
Aim: A poorly explored feature of the origin and maintenance of Neotropical biodiversity is how the evolutionary dynamics of colonization and differentiation in relation to lowland and highland habitats has impacted lineage formation. Most speciation models for this region have focused on vicariant events, whereas the need to assess the influence of demographic processes has been recognized only recently. We evaluate if the origin of Andean montane lineages of terciopelo pitvipers is explained by either of two historical processes that represent distinct phylogeographic mechanisms: differentiation by isolation within the highlands or different dispersal events from the lowlands. Location: Western Ecuador. Taxon: Terciopelo pitvipers (Bothrops asper species complex). Methods: We use genomic data and genetic clustering analyses, evaluation of historical migration between genetic clusters and demographic model selection to investigate recent diversification events in South America using a vertebrate group rarely explored in phylogeographic studies: tropical Andean snakes. Specifically, the origin of two Ecuadorian montane lineages of terciopelo pitvipers was evaluated given ambiguous phylogenetic relationships with the presumably ancestral Pacific lowland lineage. Results: Discrepancies of evolutionary relationships previously obtained with tree-like methods are resolved through the use of modelling approaches. We found strong support for the independent origin of montane lineages based on topologies inferred by maximum-likelihood trees and modelling approaches that take into account possible gene flow. This suggests dispersal rather than in-situ differentiation as the most likely mechanism by which the montane linages originated. Main conclusions: Recent large-scale studies have found support for identifying dispersal events as important drivers of diversification in the Neotropical region. We contribute to these ideas by identifying a fine-scale case in a rarely studied group of animals-Andean snakes-in which river valleys acted as an entrance for the upward colonization of montane dry habitats and subsequent ecological diversification.
... This is particularly true for B. asper, popularly known as the "terciopelo" or "barba amarilla" in its local range, and "Fer-de-Lance" or "lancehead" in the English-speaking world. This snake has strongly cryptic colouration, potent venom, and often-high local abundance in various macroand microhabitats (including primary and secondary forests, swamps, pastures, agricultural plantations, and human settlements) across a variety of vegetation types (Bolaños, 1972;Janzen, 1980;Cisneros-Heredia & Touzet, 2004;Sasa et al., 2009). Consequently, it is also the species responsible for the majority of snakebites and snakebite fatalities in Central and northern South America (Otero-Patiño, 2009). ...
Article
The Fer-de-lance or terciopelo (Bothrops asper) inhabits a wide range of environmental conditions and habitats across Central America. While much information on the species is based on anecdotal observations and useum specimens, data collected under natural conditions are more limited. To better document its natural history, this study sought to determine the habitat use and age structure of B. asper in the Quebrada Gonzalez sector of Braulio Carrillo National Park, Costa Rica. Snake surveys were conducted from January 2015 to August 2017 and used to evaluate the population age-class distribution and sex ratio. To evaluate macrohabitat use, surveys were conducted in four habitat types (mature forest, late succession, early succession, and human infrastructure). Microhabitat use was determined by recording several structural variables at each snake location and at random sites. Amphibians were sampled in each habitat type to evaluate the available prey base. Fifty-five individuals were captured, mostly females and juveniles, with five recaptures. Snakes were encountered in all habitat types but most often in early succession forests, which have dense vegetation cover and high prey availability. Snakes selected areas with heavy understory cover when resting, and more exposed sites, often closer to bodies of water, when ambushing prey or moving. Human-disturbed sites were used least. Although snake encounters did tend to correlate with higher amphibian abundance, other factors such as mammalian prey abundance could also influence snake distribution.
... This is particularly true for B. asper, popularly known as the "terciopelo" or "barba amarilla" in its local range, and "Fer-de-Lance" or "lancehead" in the English-speaking world. This snake has strongly cryptic colouration, potent venom, and often-high local abundance in various macroand microhabitats (including primary and secondary forests, swamps, pastures, agricultural plantations, and human settlements) across a variety of vegetation types (Bolaños, 1972;Janzen, 1980;Cisneros-Heredia & Touzet, 2004;Sasa et al., 2009). Consequently, it is also the species responsible for the majority of snakebites and snakebite fatalities in Central and northern South America (Otero-Patiño, 2009). ...
Article
Full-text available
The Fer-de-lance or terciopelo (Bothrops asper) inhabits a wide range of environmental conditions and habitats across Central America. While much information on the species is based on anecdotal observations and museum specimens, data collected under natural conditions are more limited. To better document its natural history, this study sought to determine the habitat use and age structure of B. asper in the Quebrada Gonzalez sector of Braulio Carrillo National Park, Costa Rica. Snake surveys were conducted from January 2015 to August 2017 and used to evaluate the population age-class distribution and sex ratio. To evaluate macrohabitat use, surveys were conducted in four habitat types (mature forest, late succession, early succession, and human infrastructure). Microhabitat use was determined by recording several structural variables at each snake location and at random sites. Amphibians were sampled in each habitat type to evaluate the available prey base. Fifty-five individuals were captured, mostly females and juveniles, with five recaptures. Snakes were encountered in all habitat types but most often in early succession forests, which have dense vegetation cover and high prey availability. Snakes selected areas with heavy understory cover when resting, and more exposed sites, often closer to bodies of water, when ambushing prey or moving. Human-disturbed sites were used least. Although snake encounters did tend to correlate with higher amphibian abundance, other factors such as mammalian prey abundance could also influence snake distribution.
... El accidente por contacto con animales venenosos ocupa el segundo lugar entre las causas de intoxicación en Ecuador según el agente responsable, en el período 2008-2010 (Meneses, 2011). Mientras que los envenenamientos por ofidios en Ecuador han sido suficientemente documentados taxonómica, epidemiológica y clínicamente (Cisneros-Heredia & Touzet, 2004;González-Andrade & Chippaux, 2010), existe desconocimiento en el país acerca de la real severidad y la incidencia de accidentes debidos a artrópodos nocivos para el hombre, incluyendo arácnidos e insectos, los cuales no son causa de notificación obligatoria a las autoridades de salud pública, a diferencia del accidente ofídico (Ministerio de Salud Pública de Ecuador, 2008), a pesar de existir en Ecuador géneros y especies que en naciones vecinas han producido accidentes severos y/o fatales en humanos. ...
Article
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Arthropods with venom glands that are capable of inflicting accidents of medical significance in humans have been poorly studied in Ecuador from epidemiological, clinical or biochemical standpoints despite the high diversity of arthropods in general in the country. Severe accidents due to envenoming by scorpions (Tityus asthenes Pocock), spiders (Phoneutria Perty) and “conga” ants (Paraponera clavata (Fabricius) have taken place in the coastal and Amazonian regions which have been underestimated in sanitary importance probably due to its prevalence in rural settings. Accidents derived from bites by spiders in the genus Loxosceles Heinecken & Lowe and scolopendrids (Class Chilopoda, Order Scolopendromorpha) or by contact with venomous caterpillars (Order Lepidoptera) have not been reported in spite that several potentially toxic species inhabit Ecuador. This work reports on the results of a scientific seminar conducted at the Natural Sciences Faculty, Universidad de Guayaquil, which involved students from the School of Biology, with the goal to evaluate, for the first time, the current knowledge on selected venomous arthropods in Ecuador belonging to the classes Arachnida, Chilopoda and Insecta and including perspectives of research on these medically important taxa in Biotechnology and Evolution.
... A pesar de ello, resulta paradójico que se hayan realizado pocos esfuerzos por co- nocer los aspectos ecológicos, de historia natural o de la biología de estos taxones. El grado de amenaza en la especie no ha sido evaluado (IUCN, 2015), aunque algunos au- tores lo catalogan como de preocupación menor -LC -(Cisneros-Heredia y Touzet, 2004). Sin embargo, las grandes fluctuacio- nes térmicas actuales, relacionadas con la afectación de los ecosistemas de sus zonas de distribución, pueden alterar su desempeño y, por tanto, su supervivencia. ...
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Se determinó el rango de temperatura óptimo (RTO) y las temperaturas críticas (CTmax, CTMin) de la tasa respiratoria (TR) y los comportamientos de alimentación (CA) y de defensa (CD) de Bothrops asper en condiciones de cautiverio. Se usaron serpientes adultas (n=10) con una talla de 137.2±17.2 cm y peso de 829.0±378.9 g, sometidas a temperaturas experimentales entre 10 y 40 °C y cambios graduales de 3 °C por minuto, excepto para la captura de alimento (4 °C por semana). El RTO fue entre 21 y 31 °C para TR (22.9±5.1 resp/min), de 27 a 31 °C y de 26 a 30 °C para CA y CD, respectivamente. Las CTmax y CTMin fueron de 39 °C y 15.5 °C para TR, de 34.7 °C y 20 °C para CA y de 33 °C y 21.7 °C para CD, respectivamente. Las temperaturas y las variables ecofisiológicas estuvieron correlacionadas en la mayoría de los casos (R=0.67, p=0.000), observándose mayor sensibilidad a registros térmicos altos. Estos datos demuestran que la temperatura actúa como un modulador de los eventos de la historia de vida y del grado de intensidad y sucesión de los procesos fisiológicos y comportamentales de este vipérido. Los resultados también indican que en B. asper no podría extender su rango de distribución geográfica por encima de los 2000 m de altitud. Finalmente, se sugiere un grado de amenaza mayor (casi amenazada) para esta especie.
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The montane cloud forests of the Sierra Madre de Oaxaca (SMO) host a remarkable herpetofauna diversity and represent one of the most important areas of endemism for Mexico and Mesoamerica. Although the area has been previously studied, most of the extant records for this group are biased to locations accessed by paved roads. In addition, an important proportion of this territory is conserved by Indigenous and Community Conservation Areas (ICCA), but little information of the species occurring within these areas exists. Therefore, information on the distribution of many endemic taxa in this region to date is either underestimated or incomplete. With the aim of increasing the ecological and distributional knowledge of this group in remote areas, we carried out field surveys in Santa Cruz Tepetotutla Oaxaca, a locality 25 km in a straight line to the closest paved road that conserves 9,670 ha of land through the ICCAs modality. Surveys were made during 2018 and 2019, including both dry and wet seasons. A total of 40 species of amphibians and reptiles were recorded: 32.5% of these records represent distributional range extensions, while 20% represent altitudinal range extensions. A total of 17.5% are records of species under a high risk category, highlighting both the relevance of studying remote areas to increase species population knowledge and the role of community conservation actions for species persistence. Finally, our records include the rediscovery of Rhadinella schistosa, a species undetected for more than 50 years.
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Por su heterogeneidad orográfica y ambiental, el Valle de Aburrá posee gran variedad de fauna, siendo los vertebrados los más estudiados. Entre ellos se encuentran las serpientes, criaturas extraordinarias que son parte imprescindible de los ecosistemas, pero que al mismo tiempo son uno de los grupos de animales más temidos por las personas. Desafortunadamente el crecimiento demográfico del Valle de Aburrá en el último medio siglo ha sido explosivo, lo cual ha llevado a una expansión urbana e industrial hacia la zona periférica, reduciendo gradualmente las coberturas vegetales nativas y desplazando cada vez más las especies con las que compartimos el territorio. La Guía de serpientes del Valle de Aburrá, es un libro que espera convertirse en una herramienta fundamental para el conocimiento de la ofidiofauna local. Esta guía está construida a partir de observaciones personales, avistamientos confirmados y registros existentes en algunas colecciones biológicas.
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The nominal species Bothrops xanthogrammus (Cope, 1868), also known as B. asper (Garman, 1884) has long been known to be composite. For the first time, this paper gives formal taxonomic recognition to three regional forms. The population from the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, long known to be distinct from the nominal form of B. xanthogrammus is accorded full species status, described herein as B. lenhoseri sp. nov.. The population from Nuclear Central America, mainly near the Atlantic Coast, being the region generally north from Nicaragua to southern Mexico, including the lowland zone adjacent to the Gulf of Mexico and the border with Guatemala and Belize is herein described as B. mexicoiensis sp. nov. The population of snakes north of Mexico City in the area of San Luis de Potosí, Mexico is in turn formally named as a subspecies of B. mexicoiensis sp. nov., namely B. mexicoiensis maccartneyi subsp. nov.. All are defined according to the Zoological Code (Ride et al. 1999) on the basis of consistent colouration and scalation differences between these forms and the nominal form of B. asper, herein restricted to the region generally south of Nicaragua, including the Atlantic coast of Costa Rica and including the north of South America. Keywords: Taxonomy; pitviper; nomenclature; Bothrops; xanthogrammus; asper; Costa Rica; new species; lenhoseri; mexicoiensis; new subspecies; maccartneyi.
Los ofidios de la región lojana según las relaciones de 1808
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Quito (Museo de Zoologia, PUCE & SIMBIOE Publicación especial 2), 392 pp. TOUZET, J.-M. (1983): Los ofidios de la región lojana según las relaciones de 1808.-Cultura, Revista del Banco Central del Ecuador, Quito; 5 (15): 481- 488.
Landesgrenzen von Ecuador; punktierte Linie: Provinzgrenzen
  • Ununterbrochene Starke Linie
Ununterbrochene starke Linie: Landesgrenzen von Ecuador; punktierte Linie: Provinzgrenzen.
We would like to thank
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M. VELASCO, and S. DE LA TORRE. We would like to thank G. R. ZUG and R. W. MCDIARMID, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C. (USNM) for allowing DFCH to examine material under their care, as well as W. R.
1: Verbreitung von Bothrops asper (GARMAN, 1884)
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Abb. 1: Verbreitung von Bothrops asper (GARMAN, 1884) in Ecuador.
  • Pesantes-Segura Serpientes De Ecuador
Serpientes de Ecuador.-Bull. Mus. Reg. Sci. Nat., Torino; Monogr. 11, 538 pp. PESANTES-SEGURA, O. (2000): Prevención y tratamiento de accidentes por serpientes venenosas.
BUTTLER for providing support during DFCH's work at the USNM. We thank N. GILMORE for providing information from material deposited at the
  • R Reynolds
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  • M San-Grey
HEYER, R. REYNOLDS, K. TIGHE, S. GOTTE, M. SAN- GREY, and N. BUTTLER for providing support during DFCH's work at the USNM. We thank N. GILMORE for providing information from material deposited at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia (ANSP).