The Leibniz Institute for the Analysis of Biodiversity Change

is a research museum of the Leibniz Association

Phylogeny of bothropoid vipers



Quick facts

Project title: 
Phylogeny of bothropoid pitvipers (genera Bothrops, Bothrocophias)
ZFMK Project lead: 
Object of research: 
Vipers, Bothrops


Together with several colleagues from Argentina and Peru (main investigator is Paola Carrasco (Universidad Nacional de Cordoba), but also Gustavo Scrocchi (CONICET and Instituto de Herpetología, San Miguel de Tucuman), Pablo Venegas (Centro de Ornitología y Biodiversidad (CORBIDI), Lima), Juan Chaparro (Universidad Nacional de San Antonio Abad del Cusco, Cusco)), we started a collaboration on the phylogeny of bothropoid pitvipers (Bothrops, Bothrocophias), with the aim to solve systematic conflicts within the Bothrops-complex (~50 species) using a phylogenetic analysis combining a large number of morphological and molecular data. Until recently, most phylogenetic analyses of the South American pitviper genus Bothrops used exclusively mitochondrial DNA sequences, whereas few of them have included morphological traits. Moreover, the systematic affinities of some species remain unclear. As part of this project we are currently working on a systematic revision of the Bothrops-complex in Peru (11 + 2 new species). We recently published the first data including the description of a new species (Carrasco et al. 2019) and a manuscript with the description of a second new species is in preparation. Additionally, the morphological variability in the Bothrops neuwiedii species group will be examined, with special respect to the widely distributed B. diporus. Bothrops diporus shall serve as a model species for studying possible influences of environmental factors on the phenotypical diversity of species in the genus Bothrops. The collaborative work started mid of 2015. First results of the collaborative project were presented at the XVI Congreso Argentino de Herpetología in San Miguel de Tucumán (September 2015), the I Congreso Argentino-Paraguayo de Herpetología in Posadas, Argentina and Encarnación, Paraguay (September 2016), the XVIII Congreso Argentino de Herpetología in Salta, Argentina (October 2017), the Latinamerican Congress of Herpetology in Quito, Ecuador (July 2017), and will be presented at the 3rd Biology of Pitvipers Symposium in Rodeo, USA (July 2019). Paola Carrasco just submitted a proposal to SYNTHESYS+ to visit the ZFMK in early 2020, in which I will serve as her host. In this visit, besides intensifying our collaboration, Paola wants to study different genera of Viperidae from our collection in the framework of our collaborative project.


Contact person

Curator Herpetology
Radiation Protection Officer
Head of Animal Husbandry
+49 228 9122-234
+49 228 9122-212
c.koch [at]