Atheris nitschei

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Atheris nitschei
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Viperidae
Subfamily: Viperinae
Genus: Atheris
Species: A. nitschei
Binomial name
Atheris nitschei
Tornier, 1902
  • Atheris nitschei - Tornier, 1902
  • Atheris woosnami - Boulenger, 1906
  • Atheris nitschei - Boulenger, 1915
  • Atheris nitschei nitschei - Bogert, 1940
  • [Atheris] nitschei - Broadley, 1996[1]

Common names: Great Lakes bush viper, Nitsche's bush viper,[2][3][4] sedge viper,[4] more.  
Atheris nitschei is a venomous viper species found in Africa from Uganda and adjacent DR Congo in the north to northern Malawi in the south. Two subspecies is currently recognized, with the typical form described here.[5]


A relatively large and stout bush viper, growing to an average length of 63 cm and a maximum of at least 73 cm. The males are smaller than the females.

Common names

Great Lakes bush viper, Nitsche's bush viper,[2][3][4] sedge viper,[4] black and green bush viper.[6]

Geographic range

Found in Central Africa from east DR Congo, Uganda and west Tanzania, southward to north Malawi and north Zambia. The type locality is listed as "Mpororosumpf, Deutsch-Ost-Afrika" [Mpororo swamp, Tanzania-Rwanda border].[1]


Found in wetland and meadow areas, and elephant grass marshes, along small streams, sometimes in scrub and bush in valleys at higher elevations, and in mountain forests up to the bamboo zone at 1600-2800 m altitude. Common in papyrus reed around small lakes.[3]


Subspecies[1] Authority[1] Common name[2] Geographic range[2]
A. n. nitsche Tornier, 1902 Great Lakes bush viper Uganda, north-west Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, DR Congo (Kivo and Shaba Provinces).
A. n. rungweensis Bogert, 1940 Rungwe tree viper Scattered locations from south-west Tanzania to north-east Zambia and south to the Nyika Plateau in north Malawi.

See also

Cited references

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 McDiarmid RW, Campbell JA, Touré T. 1999. Snake Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference, vol. 1. Herpetologists' League. 511 pp. ISBN 1-893777-00-6 (series). ISBN 1-893777-01-4 (volume).
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Spawls S, Branch B. 1995. The Dangerous Snakes of Africa. Ralph Curtis Books. Dubai: Oriental Press. 192 pp. ISBN 0-88359-029-8.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Mallow D, Ludwig D, Nilson G. 2003. True Vipers: Natural History and Toxinology of Old World Vipers. Krieger Publishing Company, Malabar, Florida. 359 pp. ISBN 0-89464-877-2.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Atheris nitschei at World of Atheris. Accessed 26 March 2007.
  5. Atheris nitschei (TSN 634947) at Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Accessed 26 March 2007.
  6. Mehrtens JM. 1987. Living Snakes of the World in Color. New York: Sterling Publishers. 480 pp. ISBN 0-8069-6460-X.