Overview

Brief Summary

Commonly called the green mamba, the snake Dendroaspis angusticeps is a long, slender arboreal snake native to much of East Africa. This species belongs to the family Elapidae, which also includes cobras, coral snakes, kraits, and sea snakes. The genus Dendroaspis also contains the Jameson’s mamba (D. jamesoni), the West African green mamba (D. viridis), and the black mamba (D. polylepis). While all of these species are relatively large, fast, agile, and highly venomous, D. angusticeps is generally considered to be less dangerous than many of its close relatives because its shy demeanor and arboreal lifestyle result in fewer encounters with humans. Green mamba bites can be deadly to humans, but they may be treatable with fast antivenom therapy.

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Sean Po, Harvard University, Encyclopedia of Life

Source: The Harvard University Herpetology Course - OEB 167

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Commonly called the green mamba, the snake Dendroaspis angusticeps is a long, slender arboreal snake native to much of East Africa. This species belongs to the family Elapidae, which also includes cobras, coral snakes, kraits, and sea snakes. The genus Dendroaspis also contains the Jameson’s mamba (D. jamesoni), the West African green mamba (D. viridis), and the black mamba (D. polylepis). While all of these species are relatively large, fast, agile, and highly venomous, D. angusticeps is generally considered to be less dangerous than many of its close relatives because its shy demeanor and arboreal lifestyle result in fewer encounters with humans. Green mamba bites can be deadly to humans, but they may be treatable with fast antivenom therapy.

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Sean Po, Harvard University, Encyclopedia of Life

Source: The Harvard University Herpetology Course - OEB 167

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Distribution

Dendroaspis angusticeps occurs in the southern East Africa. In particular, this species’ range extends from Kenya south through Tanzania, Mozambique, Malawi, eastern Zimbabwe, into South Africa as far as southern Natal and northern Pondoland (Broadley 1983).

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Sean Po, Harvard University, Encyclopedia of Life

Source: The Harvard University Herpetology Course - OEB 167

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Dendroaspis angusticeps occurs in the southern East Africa. In particular, this species’ range extends from Kenya south through Tanzania, Mozambique, Malawi, eastern Zimbabwe, into South Africa as far as southern Natal and northern Pondoland (Broadley 1983).

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Sean Po, Harvard University, Encyclopedia of Life

Source: The Harvard University Herpetology Course - OEB 167

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Continent: Africa
Distribution: Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Malawi, E Zimbabwe,  Republic of South Africa (Natal), Democratic Republic of the Congo (Zaire) [CHIFUNDERA 1990]  
Type locality: Natal
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Peter Uetz

Source: The Reptile Database

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Physical Description

Morphology

The head of Dendroaspis angusticeps is long, narrow, and coffin-shaped. Two large parietal scales cover the back of the head. The head also has 3 (occasionally 4) preoculars, 1 frontal, and 2 supraocular scales. The lips are lined with 7-10 upper labials and 11-13 lower labials. There are 201-232 ventral scales and 99-126 subcaudal scales, and there are 19 (rarely 17 or 21) scale rows at midbody. Males tend to have fewer ventral scales than females. Unlike several similar-looking snakes, including the boomslang Dispholidus typus, the scales of this species are very smooth rather than keeled (Broadley 1983, Spawls and Branch 1995).

Coloration in this species is bright green dorsally and yellow-green ventrally, with a few bright yellow scales scattered on the flanks in some specimens. Juveniles are blue-green, and develop the brighter green adult coloration anteriorly to posteriorly in successive sheddings of the skin. Most individuals over 60 cm in total length have the full adult coloration, but even some adults may return to a darker bluish green just before shedding. The eye is moderately large, and the iris is predominantly olive brown. The border of the pupil may have a narrow bright ochre to golden yellow edge, and the posterior border of the iris may become bright green. The inside of the mouth may be white or bluish white (Broadley 1983, Spawls and Branch 1995).

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Sean Po, Harvard University, Encyclopedia of Life

Source: The Harvard University Herpetology Course - OEB 167

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

The head of Dendroaspis angusticeps is long, narrow, and coffin-shaped. Two large parietal scales cover the back of the head. The head also has 3 (occasionally 4) preoculars, 1 frontal, and 2 supraocular scales. The lips are lined with 7-10 upper labials and 11-13 lower labials. There are 201-232 ventral scales and 99-126 subcaudal scales, and there are 19 (rarely 17 or 21) scale rows at midbody. Males tend to have fewer ventral scales than females. Unlike several similar-looking snakes, including the boomslang Dispholidus typus, the scales of this species are very smooth rather than keeled (Broadley 1983, Spawls and Branch 1995).

Coloration in this species is bright green dorsally and yellow-green ventrally, with a few bright yellow scales scattered on the flanks in some specimens. Juveniles are blue-green, and develop the brighter green adult coloration anteriorly to posteriorly in successive sheddings of the skin. Most individuals over 60 cm in total length have the full adult coloration, but even some adults may return to a darker bluish green just before shedding. The eye is moderately large, and the iris is predominantly olive brown. The border of the pupil may have a narrow bright ochre to golden yellow edge, and the posterior border of the iris may become bright green. The inside of the mouth may be white or bluish white (Broadley 1983, Spawls and Branch 1995).

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Sean Po, Harvard University, Encyclopedia of Life

Source: The Harvard University Herpetology Course - OEB 167

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Size

Dendroaspis angusticeps rarely, if ever, exceeds 250 cm in total length. Adult males average 145 cm in snout-vent length and 189 cm in total length, and adult females average 148 cm in snout-vent length and 200 cm in total length. In general, the total length is 4-4.3 times the length of the tail (Broadley 1983). Measurements of hatchling length range from 30-40 cm (Spawls and Branch 1995) to 44 cm (Haagner and Morgan 1989), and individuals of this species usually reach adult coloration at a length of 60-75 cm (Broadley 1983).

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Sean Po, Harvard University, Encyclopedia of Life

Source: The Harvard University Herpetology Course - OEB 167

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Dendroaspis angusticeps rarely, if ever, exceeds 250 cm in total length. Adult males average 145 cm in snout-vent length and 189 cm in total length, and adult females average 148 cm in snout-vent length and 200 cm in total length. In general, the total length is 4-4.3 times the length of the tail (Broadley 1983). Measurements of hatchling length range from 30-40 cm (Spawls and Branch 1995) to 44 cm (Haagner and Morgan 1989), and individuals of this species usually reach adult coloration at a length of 60-75 cm (Broadley 1983).

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Sean Po, Harvard University, Encyclopedia of Life

Source: The Harvard University Herpetology Course - OEB 167

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Look Alikes

Dendroaspis angusticeps may be easily confused with its close relative D. jamesoni, the Jameson’s mamba, which is similar in body shape and coloration but is usually larger. In addition, these two species seldom co-occur in the wild, as the range of D. jamesoni only barely reaches western Tanzania and D. angusticeps is typically found further east. Similarly, the West African green mamba D. viridis resembles D. angusticeps but the ranges of these two species do not overlap at all. Within its geographic range, D. angusticeps resembles the boomslang (Dispholidus typus), another long, green, and highly venomous tree snake. However, D. angusticeps can be distinguished by its smaller eye, longer head, smooth (non-keeled) scales, and its inability to inflate the neck when agitated. Juvenile D. angusticeps, which are blue-green, are easier to distinguish from juvenile boomslangs, which are gray, but they may be mistaken for the harmless rear-fanged colubrid vine snakes of the genus Philothamnus (Broadley 1983, Spawls and Branch 1995).

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Sean Po, Harvard University, Encyclopedia of Life

Source: The Harvard University Herpetology Course - OEB 167

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Dendroaspis angusticeps may be easily confused with its close relative D. jamesoni, the Jameson’s mamba, which is similar in body shape and coloration but is usually larger. In addition, these two species seldom co-occur in the wild, as the range of D. jamesoni only barely reaches western Tanzania and D. angusticeps is typically found further east. Similarly, the West African green mamba D. viridis resembles D. angusticeps but the ranges of these two species do not overlap at all. Within its geographic range, D. angusticeps resembles the boomslang (Dispholidus typus), another long, green, and highly venomous tree snake. However, D. angusticeps can be distinguished by its smaller eye, longer head, smooth (non-keeled) scales, and its inability to inflate the neck when agitated. Juvenile D. angusticeps, which are blue-green, are easier to distinguish from juvenile boomslangs, which are gray, but they may be mistaken for the harmless rear-fanged colubrid vine snakes of the genus Philothamnus (Broadley 1983, Spawls and Branch 1995).

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Sean Po, Harvard University, Encyclopedia of Life

Source: The Harvard University Herpetology Course - OEB 167

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Ecology

Habitat

Dendroaspis angusticeps is primarily arboreal, and while it does occasionally venture to the ground, it is most commonly found camouflaged in bushes and trees. Haagner and Morgan (1989) report that this species is limited to tropical rainforests in coastal lowlands, however, according to Branch (1988), D. angusticeps can also be found in “coastal bush, and dune and montane forest” (Branch 1988). Unlike its close relative the black mamba (D. polylepis), this species is rarely found in open habitats and seems to prefer relatively dense, well-shaded vegetation. In addition to wild forest habitats, D. angusticeps has also been found in farm trees such as citrus, mango, coconut, and cashew, as well as in the thatched roofs of houses. It has been found at elevations up to 1500 m asl (Spawls and Branch 1995).

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Sean Po, Harvard University, Encyclopedia of Life

Source: The Harvard University Herpetology Course - OEB 167

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Dendroaspis angusticeps is primarily arboreal, and while it does occasionally venture to the ground, it is most commonly found camouflaged in bushes and trees. Haagner and Morgan (1989) report that this species is limited to tropical rainforests in coastal lowlands, however, according to Branch (1988), D. angusticeps can also be found in “coastal bush, and dune and montane forest” (Branch 1988). Unlike its close relative the black mamba (D. polylepis), this species is rarely found in open habitats and seems to prefer relatively dense, well-shaded vegetation. In addition to wild forest habitats, D. angusticeps has also been found in farm trees such as citrus, mango, coconut, and cashew, as well as in the thatched roofs of houses. It has been found at elevations up to 1500 m asl (Spawls and Branch 1995).

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Sean Po, Harvard University, Encyclopedia of Life

Source: The Harvard University Herpetology Course - OEB 167

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Dispersal

Dendroaspis angusticeps has not been observed to migrate; in fact, this species is thought to be relatively sedentary. It can remain in the same location for days at a time, apparently moving most commonly to find food or mates. On average, individuals of this species move only about 5.4 meters per day (Haagner 1986).

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Sean Po, Harvard University, Encyclopedia of Life

Source: The Harvard University Herpetology Course - OEB 167

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Dendroaspis angusticeps has not been observed to migrate; in fact, this species is thought to be relatively sedentary. It can remain in the same location for days at a time, apparently moving most commonly to find food or mates. On average, individuals of this species move only about 5.4 meters per day (Haagner 1986).

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Sean Po, Harvard University, Encyclopedia of Life

Source: The Harvard University Herpetology Course - OEB 167

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Associations

Dendroaspis angusticeps preys primarily on birds, eating eggs and nestlings as well as adults. This species has also been documented to prey on bats and terrestrial rodents, and while it is thought to eat arboreal lizards as well, this has not been documented (Broadley 1983, Branch 1988, Spawls and Branch 1995). Common predators of this species include eagles (subfamily Circaetinae), genets (Genetta spp.), and mongooses (Herpestes spp.), although hornbills (Bucerotidae) and other snakes may also prey on juveniles (Angilletta 1994).

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Sean Po, Harvard University, Encyclopedia of Life

Source: The Harvard University Herpetology Course - OEB 167

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Dendroaspis angusticeps preys primarily on birds, eating eggs and nestlings as well as adults. This species has also been documented to prey on bats and terrestrial rodents, and while it is thought to eat arboreal lizards as well, this has not been documented (Broadley 1983, Branch 1988, Spawls and Branch 1995). Common predators of this species include eagles (subfamily Circaetinae), genets (Genetta spp.), and mongooses (Herpestes spp.), although hornbills (Bucerotidae) and other snakes may also prey on juveniles (Angilletta 1994).

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Sean Po, Harvard University, Encyclopedia of Life

Source: The Harvard University Herpetology Course - OEB 167

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Known prey organisms

Dendroaspis angusticeps preys on:
Lavia frons

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© SPIRE project

Source: SPIRE

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Dendroaspis angusticeps is diurnal and arboreal, and tends to spend most of its time above the ground in relatively dense brush, where it is well camouflaged (Spawls and Branch 1995). In a study of the movement patterns of two adult D. angusticeps over a 27-day period, Angilletta (1994) recorded their activity range areas to be very low, comparable to other sit-and-wait predators rather than active hunters. Thus, unlike most other elapids which tend to forage actively, this species is likely an ambush predator (Angilletta 1994). Males have been documented to fight each other over potential mating opportunities, or possibly to establish a dominance hierarchy. One male initiates combat by moving on top of the other’s body and tongue-flicking, after which the two snakes “intertwine their necks and bodies, and push against each other” (Haagner 1986, Haagner and Morgan 1989) for up to several hours.

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Sean Po, Harvard University, Encyclopedia of Life

Source: The Harvard University Herpetology Course - OEB 167

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Dendroaspis angusticeps is diurnal and arboreal, and tends to spend most of its time above the ground in relatively dense brush, where it is well camouflaged (Spawls and Branch 1995). In a study of the movement patterns of two adult D. angusticeps over a 27-day period, Angilletta (1994) recorded their activity range areas to be very low, comparable to other sit-and-wait predators rather than active hunters. Thus, unlike most other elapids which tend to forage actively, this species is likely an ambush predator (Angilletta 1994). Males have been documented to fight each other over potential mating opportunities, or possibly to establish a dominance hierarchy. One male initiates combat by moving on top of the other’s body and tongue-flicking, after which the two snakes “intertwine their necks and bodies, and push against each other” (Haagner 1986, Haagner and Morgan 1989) for up to several hours.

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Sean Po, Harvard University, Encyclopedia of Life

Source: The Harvard University Herpetology Course - OEB 167

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Life Expectancy

Dendroaspis angusticeps has been recorded to live up to 14 years in captivity (Branch 1988). However, while it is feasible that wild individuals may live that long, they are thought to have shorter lifespans in general due to the threats of predation, habitat loss, and other environmental factors.

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Sean Po, Harvard University, Encyclopedia of Life

Source: The Harvard University Herpetology Course - OEB 167

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Dendroaspis angusticeps has been recorded to live up to 14 years in captivity (Branch 1988). However, while it is feasible that wild individuals may live that long, they are thought to have shorter lifespans in general due to the threats of predation, habitat loss, and other environmental factors.

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Sean Po, Harvard University, Encyclopedia of Life

Source: The Harvard University Herpetology Course - OEB 167

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Maximum longevity: 18.8 years (captivity)
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Joao Pedro de Magalhaes

Source: AnAge

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Reproduction

Dendroaspis angusticeps may be at its most active during the breeding season. While gravid females are relatively sedentary, males will actively search out and court females between April and June during the longer rainy season (Angilletta 1994), and males may fight each other over potential mates. The male initiates courtship by attempting to align its body along the female’s while rapidly tongue-flicking. If the female is receptive to mating, she will lift her tail and cloacal juxtaposition will follow shortly. Eggs are laid in clutches of 10-17, which hatch after a 67-71 day incubation period. Hatchlings measure approximately 35-40 cm in total length (Branch 1988, Haagner 1989).

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Sean Po, Harvard University, Encyclopedia of Life

Source: The Harvard University Herpetology Course - OEB 167

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Dendroaspis angusticeps may be at its most active during the breeding season. While gravid females are relatively sedentary, males will actively search out and court females between April and June during the longer rainy season (Angilletta 1994), and males may fight each other over potential mates. The male initiates courtship by attempting to align its body along the female’s while rapidly tongue-flicking. If the female is receptive to mating, she will lift her tail and cloacal juxtaposition will follow shortly. Eggs are laid in clutches of 10-17, which hatch after a 67-71 day incubation period. Hatchlings measure approximately 35-40 cm in total length (Branch 1988, Haagner 1989).

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Sean Po, Harvard University, Encyclopedia of Life

Source: The Harvard University Herpetology Course - OEB 167

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Growth

Dendroaspis angusticeps hatchlings tend to grow 50-80 cm in length in the first year of life. As individuals age, their growth rates decrease but do not stop (Haagner and Morgan 1989).

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Sean Po, Harvard University, Encyclopedia of Life

Source: The Harvard University Herpetology Course - OEB 167

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Dendroaspis angusticeps hatchlings tend to grow 50-80 cm in length in the first year of life. As individuals age, their growth rates decrease but do not stop (Haagner and Morgan 1989).

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Sean Po, Harvard University, Encyclopedia of Life

Source: The Harvard University Herpetology Course - OEB 167

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Physiology and Cell Biology

Physiology

Dendroaspis angusticeps is a highly venomous and dangerous snake, capable of injecting venom by a pair of fixed, hypodermic front fangs, a dentition type called proteoglyphous. While its venom is less toxic than that of its congener D. polylepis, the black mamba, the fast-acting neurotoxic venom of D. angusticeps makes its bites painful and life-threatening for humans and other bite victims. The LD50 (dose required to cause death in 50% of cases) of D. angusticeps venom is 1.3 mg/kg, and the lethal dose for humans is estimated to be about 15 mg. This is well within this species’ venom yield of 60-95 mg (Spawls and Branch 1995), however, death is rare with the correct anti-venom treatment (Branch 1988). Symptoms of a D. angusticeps bite include swelling of the bite site, dizziness, and nausea, accompanied by difficulty breathing and swallowing (Spawls and Branch 1995).

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Sean Po, Harvard University, Encyclopedia of Life

Source: The Harvard University Herpetology Course - OEB 167

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Dendroaspis angusticeps is a highly venomous and dangerous snake, capable of injecting venom by a pair of fixed, hypodermic front fangs, a dentition type called proteoglyphous. While its venom is less toxic than that of its congener D. polylepis, the black mamba, the fast-acting neurotoxic venom of D. angusticeps makes its bites painful and life-threatening for humans and other bite victims. The LD50 (dose required to cause death in 50% of cases) of D. angusticeps venom is 1.3 mg/kg, and the lethal dose for humans is estimated to be about 15 mg. This is well within this species’ venom yield of 60-95 mg (Spawls and Branch 1995), however, death is rare with the correct anti-venom treatment (Branch 1988). Symptoms of a D. angusticeps bite include swelling of the bite site, dizziness, and nausea, accompanied by difficulty breathing and swallowing (Spawls and Branch 1995).

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Sean Po, Harvard University, Encyclopedia of Life

Source: The Harvard University Herpetology Course - OEB 167

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Conservation

Conservation Status

As of June 26, 2011, the conservation status of Dendroaspis angusticeps has not been assessed by the IUCN (IUCN 2011). However, this species is fairly common within its range, and populations are thought to be robust. Large concentrations of two to three individuals per hectare have been documented in coastal Kenya and southern Tanzania, and in one instance a group of five D. angusticeps was observed in a single tree (Spawls and Branch 1995).

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Sean Po, Harvard University, Encyclopedia of Life

Source: The Harvard University Herpetology Course - OEB 167

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

As of June 26, 2011, the conservation status of Dendroaspis angusticeps has not been assessed by the IUCN (IUCN 2011). However, this species is fairly common within its range, and populations are thought to be robust. Large concentrations of two to three individuals per hectare have been documented in coastal Kenya and southern Tanzania, and in one instance a group of five D. angusticeps was observed in a single tree (Spawls and Branch 1995).

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Sean Po, Harvard University, Encyclopedia of Life

Source: The Harvard University Herpetology Course - OEB 167

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Threats

Although populations of this species are thought to remain healthy, habitat destruction and deforestation may threaten their further stability.

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Sean Po, Harvard University, Encyclopedia of Life

Source: The Harvard University Herpetology Course - OEB 167

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Although populations of this species are thought to remain healthy, habitat destruction and deforestation may threaten their further stability.

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Sean Po, Harvard University, Encyclopedia of Life

Source: The Harvard University Herpetology Course - OEB 167

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Due to its vivid coloration and shy demeanor, Dendroaspis angusticeps is often seen in private collections and in zoos. However, this species is too dangerous to be suitable for the pet trade. Molecular components of its venom include dendrotoxins which inhibit potassium channels in the human nervous system, acetylcholine inhibitors which prevent the propagation of action potentials in skeletal muscles, and muscarinic toxin which displaces muscarinic M1 ligands in synaptosomal membranes (Barrett and Harvey 1979, Halliwell et al. 1986, Jerusalinsky et al. 1993, Munday et al. 2003).

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Sean Po, Harvard University, Encyclopedia of Life

Source: The Harvard University Herpetology Course - OEB 167

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Due to its vivid coloration and shy demeanor, Dendroaspis angusticeps is often seen in private collections and in zoos. However, this species is too dangerous to be suitable for the pet trade. Molecular components of its venom include dendrotoxins which inhibit potassium channels in the human nervous system, acetylcholine inhibitors which prevent the propagation of action potentials in skeletal muscles, and muscarinic toxin which displaces muscarinic M1 ligands in synaptosomal membranes (Barrett and Harvey 1979, Halliwell et al. 1986, Jerusalinsky et al. 1993, Munday et al. 2003).

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Sean Po, Harvard University, Encyclopedia of Life

Source: The Harvard University Herpetology Course - OEB 167

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Wikipedia

Eastern green mamba

The Eastern green mamba (Dendroaspis angusticeps), also known as the Common mamba, Green mamba, or White-mouthed mamba. is a large arboreal and highly venomous snake species of the genus Dendroaspis (Mambas).

Etymology[edit]

The eastern green mamba is classified under the genus Dendroaspis of the family Elapidae. Dendroaspis angusticeps was first described by a Scottish surgeon and zoologist, Dr. Andrew Smith in 1849.[3] The generic name, Dendroaspis, is derived from Ancient Greek words – Dendro, which means "tree",[4] and aspis (ασπίς) or "asp", which' is understood to mean "shield", but it also designate "cobra" or simply "snake". In old text, aspis or asp was used to refer to Naja haje (in reference with the hood, like a shield).[5] Thus, "Dendroaspis" literally means tree snake, which refers to the arboreal nature of most of the species within the genus. Schlegel used the name Dendroaspis, significant tree cobra. The specific name

Biology[edit]

Identification and physical description[edit]

The eastern green mamba is overall glossy green in color with a lighter bright greenish-yellow belly. This is the smallest Mamba (dendroaspis) species, averaging only 1.4 metres (4.6 ft) in length.[6][7] The maximum size for this species is 2.4 metres (7.9 ft), but this is uncommon.[8][9] Male eastern green mambas are generally slightly larger than females.[10] The species has two enlarged venom fangs fixed to the front of the mouth and solid teeth in both jaws. It has very smooth scales, is thin and elegant with a very distinctive head that is long and rectangular and they have a long thin tail. Their eyes are medium in size with round pupils. Dorsal scales are oblique, smooth and narrow. Dorsal scale count usually 25 - ( 21 or 23 ) - ( 15 to 19 ).[8] Eastern green mamba hatchlings have a yellowish-green color.[6]

Reproduction[edit]

The eastern green mamba is solitary, except during mating. Males find females by following a scent trail. Male eastern green mambas will compete with other males with a ritual dance or wrestling contest on the ground, in which one male tries to force the other down. These combats may last for several hours. Combat does not include biting. Courtship and mating take place in the trees, after which the female lays between 6-17 eggs (average of 10-15 eggs are usually laid).[11] The eggs are usually laid in a hollow tree among decaying vegetation. After a little over three months, the young mambas hatch and are between 35 and 45 cm (13 to 18 inches) in length and are venomous from birth. This species can live up to 15–25 years, and 14 years if kept in captivity.[7]

Geographic range[edit]

This species is indigenous to the east coast of southern Africa and occurs throughout much of eastern Africa.[7] It is found near the coast stretching from eastern South Africa through to Mozambique, Tanzania, Swaziland, and as far as south-east Kenya, going inland as far as southern Malawi and eastern Zimbabwe.[8][10]

Habitat[edit]

Eastern green mambas are an arboreal species and thus are almost always found in trees. Very rarely are they found on the ground unless driven by prey or for their need to bask under the sun. They are not usually found in open terrain.[8] Thickly forested and bush-covered areas, such as evergreen forests, mainly make for this species' habitat. They can also be found in regions like coastal scrub, woodland, moist savanna, bamboo and mango plantations. The species can even be found in dense mountain forest up to about 1,700 metres (5,600 ft) above sea level. They are often found in thickets and farm trees (citrus, cashew nut, coconut and mango) which offer plenty of shade. In coastal east Africa they are known to enter houses and often shelter in thatched roof dwellings.[8] They may even be found in tropical or sub-tropical regions within their range.[6][7][10]

Behaviour and Diet[edit]

This species is highly arboreal and seldom ventures to the ground unless thirsty, following prey or to bask under the sun. Unlike its much larger cousin the Black mamba, this mamba is very shy and generally not aggressive. It will avoid confrontation with humans or other potential predators when possible, and will rather rely on its camouflage, or flee, than alert a potential threat of its presence. They are fast snakes, capable of moving 7 mph. They don't always strike, but under continuous harassment and provocation and especially if cornered, they may suddenly become very ferocious and strike repeatedly in quick succession.[11]

Venom[edit]

The eastern green mamba is an especially venomous snake. The venom consists of both pre-synaptic and postsynaptic neurotoxins (dendrotoxins), cardiotoxins, calcicludine, and fasciculins. The average venom yield per bite is 80 mg according to Engelmann and Obst (1981),[12] while Minton (1974) gives it a range of 60–95 mg (dry weight).[8] The subcutaneous LD50 ranges from 0.40 mg/kg to 3.05 mg/kg depending on different authority figures and estimates.[13] Like all other mamba species, the toxicity of individual specimens within the same species and subspecies can vary greatly based on several factors including geographical region. Local swelling is variable and sometimes absent after mamba bites. However, patients bitten by the eastern green mamba develop swelling of the entire bitten limb and also show mild haemostatic disturbances (Warrell DA; MacKay et al. 1966). The rare cases of local tissue damage usually resulted from bites on the fingers or the use of a tight tourniquet.[9] This species has caused bites to humans and many of the bites attributed to this species have often resulted in fatalities. The mortality rate of untreated bites is unknown but is thought to be very high.[8]

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Dendroaspis angusticeps". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 30 October 2012. 
  2. ^ "Dendroaspis angusticeps (SMITH, 1849)". The Reptile Database. Retrieved 17 February 2012. 
  3. ^ Smith, Andrew (1848). Illustrations of the zoology of South Africa, Reptilia. London: Smith, Elder and Co. 
  4. ^ "dendro-". Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition. HarperCollins Publishers. Retrieved 4 March 2014. 
  5. ^ "aspis, asp". Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House. Retrieved 4 March 2014. 
  6. ^ a b c Zug, George R. (1996). Snakes in Question: The Smithsonian Answer Book. Washington D.C., USA: Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press. ISBN 1-56098-648-4. 
  7. ^ a b c d WhoZoo.org - Eastern green mamba
  8. ^ a b c d e f g "Dendroaspis angusticeps - General Details, Taxonomy and Biology, Venom, Clinical Effects, Treatment, First Aid, Antivenoms". WCH Clinical Toxinology Resource. University of Adelaide. Retrieved 21 December 2011. 
  9. ^ a b "WHO - Guidelines for the Prevention and Clinical Management of Snakebite in Africa". WHO Regional Office for Africa. World Health Organization. Retrieved 21 December 2011. 
  10. ^ a b c Eastern green mamba (Dendroaspis angusticeps) Info
  11. ^ a b O'Shea, Mark (12 September 2005). Venomous Snakes of the World. New Jersey, USA: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-12436-1. 
  12. ^ Engelmann, Wolf-Eberhard (1981). Snakes: Biology, Behavior, and Relationship to Man. Leipzig; English version NY, USA: Leipzig Publishing; English version published by Exeter Books (1982). p. 51. ISBN 0-89673-110-3. 
  13. ^ Fry, Bryan Grieg. "LD50 Menu". Australian Venom Research Unit. University of Queensland. Retrieved 21 December 2011. 
  • Smith, A. 1849. Illustrations of the zoology of South Africa. Reptilia. Smith, Elder & Co. London.
Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Source: Wikipedia

Unreviewed

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Disclaimer

EOL content is automatically assembled from many different content providers. As a result, from time to time you may find pages on EOL that are confusing.

To request an improvement, please leave a comment on the page. Thank you!