Feas viper

Azemiops feae

SUBFAMILY

Azemiopinae

TAXONOMY

Azemiops feae Boulenger, 1888, "Kakhien Hills (Kachin Hills)" Myanmar (Burma).

OTHER COMMON NAMES German: Fea-Vipern.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Fea's viper has no facial pit between the nostrils and eyes. The head is white in color and covered by large symmetrical shields. The body and tail are black with about 18 short transverse orange to yellow bands laterally along each side.

DISTRIBUTION

Fea's viper occurs in central and southern China from western Yunnan and Sichuan east to Zhejiang and south to Guangxi. It also inhabits northern Burma and northern Vietnam (Tonkin).

HABITAT

Fea's viper inhabits bamboo and tree fern forest alternating with open-light sites. It prefers ground covered with soft layers of deciduous leaves, decomposed trunks of tree ferns, and vigorous outcrops of the karst formation, permanently permeated by numerous open and subterranean streams.

BEHAVIOR

Fea's viper moves very slowly and shows no aggressive behavior.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

A shrew was found in the stomach of one specimen, and in captivity mice and lizards have been accepted.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Nikolai Orlov describes the mating behavior as similar to that of other vipers. The male courts the female by twitching the head along the female's body. The short copulation lasts about 10 minutes. The species is oviparous. Little else is known about the reproductive biology.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Although not listed by the IUCN, this is a very rare snake.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS There are no conflicts with humans. ♦

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