Ovophis okinavensis

Common names: Hime habu, Okinawa pitviper,[2]

Ovophis okinavensis is a venomous pitviper species found in the Ryukyu Islands of Japan. No subspecies are currently recognized.[3]

Ovophis okinavensis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Viperidae
Genus: Ovophis
O. okinavensis
Binomial name
Ovophis okinavensis
(Boulenger, 1892)
  • Trimeresurus okinavensis Boulenger, 1892
  • Lachesis okinavensis
    – Boulenger, 1896
  • Ovophis okinavensis
    – Burger, 1981[1]


Adults are usually 30 to 80 cm (11¾–31½ inches) long. Body usually pale greenish-brown, or yellowish-olive (sometimes pale brown), with alternating, darker brownish or greenish dorsal blotches, each bordered with yellowish scales. Head large, triangular, distinct from neck, narrow dark postocular stripe.[4]

Scalation includes: 23 or 21 rows of dorsal scales at midbody; 125–135 ventral scales; 36–55 paired subcaudal scales; and 8 (sometimes 7 or 9) supralabial scales.[2]

The color pattern consists of a gray ground color overlaid with a series of dark gray of grayish-black crossbands. A ventrolateral pattern of black spots against a gray-white background is also present.[4]

Common names

Hime habu (ヒメハブ), Okinawa pitviper,[2] Okinawa habu (This name usually refers to Hon habu or simply Habu: Trimeresurus flavoviridis),[5] kufah.[4] This snake is sometimes referred to as Niibuyaa (ニーブヤー) by Okinawan people. Mamushi (only in Amami dialect. Mamushi is common name for Gloydius blomhoffii).

Geographic range

Found in the Ryukyu Islands of Japan, including Okinawa and the Amami Islands. The type locality given is "Okinawa."[1]


Occurs in various habitats, including open woodland, forests, mountains, fields, in farming areas with nearby streams, ponds, and other water sources. It can also be found in human habitations[4]


Hunts for rodents and other vertebrates in open areas, especially in sugar cane fields and, sometimes near human habitations.[4]


Both oviparous and ovoviviparous. Depending on environmental condition, females will either deposit their eggs, or retain them to incubate internally and give birth later to live young.[4]


The venom of Ovophis okinavensis, like that of most vipers, is mainly hemotoxin with cytotoxicity factors. People are bitten when they step on this sluggish snake at night, or when tending crops by day. Although venom from this snake is not life-threatening usually, people still should seek medical attention promptly if they are bitten. Because of its relatively weak venom, antivenom is not produced.

See also


  1. ^ a b 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. ^ a b c Gumprecht A, Tillack F, Orlov NL, Captain A, Ryabov S. 2004. Asian Pitvipers. GeitjeBooks. Berlin. 1st Edition. 368 pp. ISBN 3-937975-00-4.
  3. ^ "Ovophis okinavensis". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 25 July 2008.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Mehrtens JM. 1987. Living Snakes of the World in Color. New York: Sterling Publishers. 480 pp. ISBN 0-8069-6460-X.
  5. ^ Brown JH. 1973. Toxicology and Pharmacology of Venoms from Poisonous Snakes. Springfield, Illinois: Charles C. Thomas. 184 pp. LCCCN 73–229. ISBN 0-398-02808-7.

Further reading

  • Boulenger, G.A. 1892. Descriptions of new Reptiles and Batrachians from the Loo Choo Islands. Annals and Magazine of Natural History, Series 6, Volume 10, pp. 302–304. (Trimeresurus okinavensis, p. 302.)

External links


Habu (波布) is a Japanese name used to refer to certain venomous snakes:

The following species are found in the Ryukyu Islands of Japan:

Protobothrops elegans, a.k.a. the Sakishima habu, found in the southern Ryukyu Islands

Protobothrops flavoviridis, a.k.a. the Okinawan habu, found in the southern Ryukyu Islands

Protobothrops tokarensis, a.k.a. the Tokara habu, found in the Tokara Islands

Ovophis okinavensis, a.k.a. the Hime habu

Habu is a name also used for several other species:

Trimeresurus gracilis, a.k.a. the Kikushi habu, found in Taiwan.

Protobothrops mucrosquamatus, a.k.a. the Taiwan habu or Chinese habu, found in Southeast Asia.

Ovophis monticola, a.k.a. the Arisan habu, found in Southeast Asia.

Habu is a nickname given to the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird strategic reconnaissance aircraft of the United States Air Force.


Kufah may refer to:

Ovophis okinavensis, a.k.a. the Okinawa pitviper, a venomous pitviper species found in the Ryukyu Islands of Japan

Alternative English spelling for Kufa, a city in modern Iraq

List of crotaline species and subspecies

This is a list of all sure genera, species and subspecies of the subfamily Crotalinae, otherwise referred to as crotalines, pit vipers or pitvipers. It follows the taxonomy currently provided by ITIS, which is based on the continuing work of Dr. Roy McDiarmid.


Mongoose is the popular English name for 29 of the 34 species in the 14 genera of the family Herpestidae. They are small carnivorans native to southern Eurasia and mainland Africa. The remaining species of this family comprise four kusimanses in the genus Crossarchus, and the meerkat Suricata suricatta. The< are native to Africa.

Herpestidae is placed within the suborder Feliformia, together with the Felidae, hyena, and Viverridae families.

Okinawa habu

Okinawa habu may refer to:

Protobothrops elegans or Trimeresurus elegans, a.k.a. the elegant pitviper or Sakishima habu, a venomous snake found in the southern Ryukyu Islands of Japan.

Protobothrops flavoviridis or Trimeresurus flavoviridis, a.k.a. Habu or Hon habu, a venomous pitviper found in the Ryukyu Islands of Japan

Ovophis okinavensis, a.k.a. the himehabu, a venomous pitviper found in the Ryukyu Islands of Japan

Ryukyu Islands

The Ryukyu Islands (琉球諸島, Ryūkyū-shotō), also known as the Nansei Islands (南西諸島, Nansei-shotō, lit. "Southwest Islands") or the Ryukyu Arc (琉球弧, Ryūkyū-ko), are a chain of Japanese islands that stretch southwest from Kyushu to Taiwan: the Ōsumi, Tokara, Amami, Okinawa, and Sakishima Islands (further divided into the Miyako and Yaeyama Islands), with Yonaguni the westernmost. The larger are mostly high islands and the smaller mostly coral. The largest is Okinawa Island.

The climate of the islands ranges from humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa) in the north to tropical rainforest climate (Köppen climate classification Af) in the south. Precipitation is very high and is affected by the rainy season and typhoons. Except the outlying Daitō Islands, the island chain has two major geologic boundaries, the Tokara Strait (between the Tokara and Amami Islands) and the Kerama Gap (between the Okinawa and Miyako Islands). The islands beyond the Tokara Strait are characterized by their coral reefs.

The Ōsumi and Tokara Islands, the northernmost of the islands, fall under the cultural sphere of the Kyushu region of Japan; the people are ethnically Japanese and speak a variation of the Kagoshima dialect of Japanese. The Amami, Okinawa, Miyako, and Yaeyama Islands have a native population collectively called the Ryukyuan people, named for the former Ryukyu Kingdom that ruled them. The varied Ryukyuan languages are traditionally spoken on these islands, and the major islands have their own distinct languages. In modern times, the Japanese language is the primary language of the islands, with the Okinawan Japanese dialect prevalently spoken. The outlying Daitō Islands were uninhabited until the Meiji period, when their development was started mainly by people from the Izu Islands south of Tokyo, with the people there speaking the Hachijō language.

Administratively, the islands are divided into Kagoshima Prefecture (specifically the islands administered by Kagoshima District, Kumage Subprefecture/District, and Ōshima Subprefecture/District) in the north and Okinawa Prefecture in the south, with the divide between the Amami and Okinawa Islands, with the Daitō Islands part of Okinawa Prefecture. The northern (Kagoshima) islands are collectively called the Satsunan Islands, while the southern part of the chain (Okinawa Prefecture) are called the Ryukyu Islands in Chinese.


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