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Causus lichtensteinii

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Causus lichtensteinii
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Viperidae
Subfamily: Causinae
Genus: Causus
Species: C. lichtensteinii
Binomial name
Causus lichtensteinii
(Jan, 1859)
  • Aspedilaps Lichtensteinii - Jan, 1859
  • Causus lichtensteinii - A.-H.-A. Duméril, 1859
  • A[spedilaps]. (Causus) Lichtensteini - Jan, 1863
  • A[spedilaps]. Lichtensteini - Jan & Sordelli, 1873
  • Dinodipsas angulifera - Peters, 1882
  • Causus lichtensteinii - Boulenger, 1896
  • Causus lichtensteini - Witte, 1962[1]

Common names: Lichtenstein's night adder,[2] forest night adder.[3]  
Causus lichtensteinii is a venomous viper species found in western and central Africa.[2] No subspecies are currently recognized.[4]


Averages 30-55 cm in length with a reported maximum of 70 cm.[2]

The head is not that wide and the snout is blunt. The eye is surrounded by a circumorbital ring of 5-7 scales. There are 6 supralabials and 9 sublabials. The temporals number 2+3 and sometimes 2+2, with the first and second upper temporals being as long together as the first lower one. Loreals: 1+1. Midbody there are 15 rows of weakly keeled dorsal scales that have a velvety texture. The anal scale is single. There are 128-152 ventral scales. The subcaudals number 18-22 in males and 17-19 in females.[2]

The color pattern consists of a greenish or olive ground color overlaid with a series of dark narrow backward pointing chevrons running down the back. This pattern may be vague or developed fully into rhombic markings. The back of the neck has a characteristic white V-shape while the throat is black with yellow bands. Juvenile specimens are generally dark brown in color.[2]

Geographic range

Found from Guinea and Liberia eastward through Ghana to Nigeria, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, the Central African Republic, south to northern Angola, DR Congo and northwestern Zambia, and east to Uganda and western Kenya. The type locality is listed as "Costa d'oro" (Gold Coast, Ghana).[1]


As opposed to other members off this genus, this species is mostly found in pristine rain forests with little light filtering down to the forest floor. It tends to be found near water in swampy areas. In the Atewa Range Forest Reserve in Ghana, it has been found at altitudes of up to 670 m.[2]


Diurnal and mostly terrestrial. However, it is a good swimmer and has even colonized certain islands in Lake Victoria. When disturbed it puts on a hissing and puffing threat display similar to other members of the genus.[2]

See also

Cited references

  1. 1.0 1.1 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 2.4 2.5 2.6 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.
  3. Spawls S, Branch B. 1995. The Dangerous Snakes of Africa. Ralph Curtis Books. Dubai: Oriental Press. 192 pp. ISBN 0-88359-029-8.
  4. Causus lichtensteinii (TSN 634837) at Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Accessed 24 March 2007.

External links