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Psammodynastes pulverulentus

(PID:51288848788) Source
posted by Inglourious Reptiles alias Inglourious Reptiles on Sunday 4th of July 2021 09:45:15 AM

Psammodynastes pulverulentus MOCK VIPER Diurnal, mildly venomous snakes. Their common name refers to their ability to mock vipers - they move their body into a striking position, just as vipers do, when threatened. But this is not the only way in which they mimic vipers! They are also able to constrict their usually rounded pupils to “vertical slit typical in vipers”. Read more below: "Mock vipers are small snakes that belong to the Colubridae family and have a wide distribution, including most of Southeast Asia, the Indian Subcontinent, and parts of southern China. Their common name derives from a morphological similarity to true vipers or members of the Viperidae, a family of venomous snakes found all over the world. When threatened, mock vipers either attempt to flee or, when cornered, become immobile and assume a striking position with the head erect, but their first line of defense is likely their physical resemblance to vipers – similarities include a triangular head shape, cryptic color pattern, and enlarged front teeth (Greene 1989). We have noted another fascinating way that mock vipers mimic the highly venomous viperids: by changing the shape of their pupils. During June 2012, while conducting field work in dry dipterocarp forest, we came across a mock viper. The individual was immobile and appeared to be basking in the middle of an open gravel pathway; based on careful visual inspection we confirmed that the snake was in fact a mock viper because it had round pupils instead of the vertical slit pupils of true vipers. However, as one team member grasped the snake behind the head, he noticed that the eyes had shifted to completely vertical slits. Thinking that he had picked up a viper, he instinctively dropped the animal, which immediately fled into the underbrush. This first observation piqued our interest, and from subsequent individuals we observed that when unthreatened, the mock viper pupil is rounded and slightly elliptical (Figure 1a); yet after a threat presents itself, the pupil constricts and shifts to the well‐known vertical slit typical of vipers (Figure 1b).” Source:

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  • Published 01.18.22
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