Relatively little is known about the toxicity and composition of the butterfly viper’s single hemotoxic and neurotoxic venom, but it’s supposedly less toxic than that of a Gaboon viper.
Like most other venomous snakes, the butterfly viper has a single venom with both neurotoxic, as well as hemotoxic properties, but the hemotoxicity is much more dominant. Relatively little is known about the toxicity and composition of the butterfly viper’s venom.
The venom is supposedly slightly less toxic than those of the Gaboon viper (Bitis gabonica) and puff adder (Bitis arietans). In mice, the intravenous LD50 is 1.1 milligram per kilogram. In rabbits, the venom is apparently slightly more toxic than that of the Gaboon viper. The maximum wet venom yield is 200 milograms.
One study reported this venom has the highest intramuscular LD50 value—8.6 milligram per kilogram—of five different viperid venoms tested (puff adder, Gaboon viper, butterfly viper, Russell’s viper (Daboia russelii), and asp viper (Vipera aspis). Another showed little variation in the venom potency of these snakes, whether they were milked once every two days or once every three weeks.
• Image | © Brian Gratwicke, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-NC 2.0)
• Sources | (Mallow, Ludwig, & Nilson, 2003; Spawls, Howell, Drewes, & Ashe, 2004; The Wikimedia Foundation, 2018)