Bitis schneideri

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Bitis schneideri
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Viperidae
Subfamily: Viperinae
Genus: Bitis
Species: B. schneideri
Binomial name
Bitis schneideri
(Boettger, 1886)
  • Vipera Schneideri - Boettger, 1886
  • Bitis caudalis paucisquamatis - Mertens, 1954
  • Bitis paucisquamata - FitzSimons, 1962
  • Bitis caudalis paucisquamata - Klemmer, 1963
  • Bitis paucisquamatis - FitzSimons, 1966
  • Bitis schneideri - Haacke, 1975[1]

Common names: Namaqua dwarf adder,[2][3] spotted dwarf adder,[2] Schneider's adder.[3]  
Bitis schneideri is a venomous viper species found in a small coastal region that straddles the border between Namibia and South Africa.[3] This is the smallest species in the genus Bitis and possibly the world's smallest viperid.[2] No subspecies are currently recognized.[4]


With an average length of 18-25 cm and a maximum reported length of 28 cm, this is the smallest member of the genus Bitis and possibly the world's smallest viperid.[2]

Geographic range

Found in the white coastal sand dunes from Namibia, near Lüderitz, south to Hondeklip Bay, Little Namaqualand, South Africa. The type-locality given is "Angra Pequenia" [Lüderitz Bay, Namibia].[1] Mallow et al. (2003) describe the range as the transitional regions of the Namib Desert.[2] The range may extend up to 60 km inland in the Sperrgebeit of southern Namibia.[3]

Conservation status

This species is classified as vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List for the following criteria: A2cd (v2.3, 1994).[5] This means that a population reduction of at least 20% is projected or suspected to be met within the next ten years or three generations, whichever is the longer, due to a decline in area of occupancy, extent of occurrence and/or quality of habitat, or due to actual or potential levels of exploitation. Year assessed: 1996.[6]


An account is provided by Hurrell (1981) of a bite he sustained on his left index finger. The symptoms included intense pain, pronounced swelling, discoloration and oozing of serum from the punctures. After 24 hours, a 5 mm hematoma developed at the bite site. His condition stabilized after 3-4 days with swelling and pain gradually subsiding. Healing was complete after 2 weeks with no loss of function or sensation of the afflicted digit. There was minimal local tissue damage and no systemic effects were reported. No antivenin is available for this species.[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 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. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Spawls S, Branch B. 1995. The Dangerous Snakes of Africa. Ralph Curtis Books. Dubai: Oriental Press. 192 pp. ISBN 0-88359-029-8.
  4. Bitis schneideri (TSN 634960) at Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Accessed 5 April 2007.
  5. Bitis schneideri at IUCN Red List. Accessed 2 October 2006.
  6. 1994 Categories & Criteria (version 2.3)IUCN Red List. Accessed 5 October 2006.

Other references

  • Hurrell DP. Namaqua dwarf adder bite. South African Medical Journal 45:969-71.

External links