Butterfly Viper

Butterfly Viper

The butterfly viper is an ambush predator, relying on cryptic coloration as camouflage to hide from its prey.

The butterfly viper is often considered one of the most beautiful of all snakes because of its incredible coloration. The color pattern of the butterfly viper consists of a series of 15–18 blue or blue-green, oblong markings, each with a lemon-yellow line down the center. These are enclosed within irregular, black, rhombic blotches. A series of dark crimson triangles run down the flanks, narrowly bordered with green or blue. Many of the lateral scales have white tips, giving the snake a velvety appearance. The top of the head is blue or green, overlaid with a distinct black arrow mark. The belly is dull green to dirty white, strongly marbled, and blotched in black and gray.

The butterfly viper is an ambush predator, relying on cryptic coloration as camouflage to hide from its prey. The vivid coloration of the snake gives it excellent camouflage in the dappled light conditions of the forest floor, making it almost invisible. Thus, its brilliant coloration is an adaptive feature. Darker colors allow the snake to blend well with the jungle floor.


Image | © Jonathan Kolby, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)
Sources | (Lipsett, 2003; Mallow, Ludwig, & Nilson, 2003; Rogers, 2000; Spawls, Howell, Drewes, & Ashe, 2004; The Wikimedia Foundation, 2018)

Learn More About the Butterfly Viper

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