Gloydius blomhoffii blomhoffii

Gloydius blomhoffii

Common names: mamushi, Japanese mamushi.
Gloydius blomhoffii is a venomous pitviper species found in China, Korea and Japan. Four subspecies are currently recognized, including the nominate subspecies described here.


This species grows to a length of up to 91 cm, although the average length is 45-61 cm.

The color pattern consists of a pale gray, reddish-brown or yellow-brown ground color, overlaid with a series of irregularly shaped lateral blotches. These blotches are bordered with black and often have lighter centers. The head is dark brown or black in color with beige or pale gray sides.

Common names

Mamushi, Japanese mamushi. In Japan it is commonly called the , or just . In Korea, it is known as 살무사 (salmusa).

Geographic range

Found in China, Korea and Japan. According to Gloyd and Conant (1990), there is no evidence to support claims that this species occurs in the Ryukyu Islands. The type locality given is "Japan."


Occurs in a range of habitats, including swamps, marshes, meadows, open woodland, rocky hillsides and montane rock outcroppings.


They hunt for birds and small rodents. Often found in and around farmland due to the associated rodent populations.


Subspecies Taxon author Common name Geographic range
G. b. blomhoffii (Boie, 1826) Japanese mamushi Japan, including most of the smaller islands.
G. b. brevicaudus (Stejneger, 1907) Short-tailed mamushi China (Manchuria) and the Korean Peninsula.
G. b. dubitatus (Gloyd, 1977) Tung Ling mamushi Restricted to Hebei Province, China.
G. b. siniticus (Gloyd, 1977) Yangtze mamushi Type locality: China, from Shandong, Jiang Su and Anhui provinces, south to the Ch'ang Chiang Basin and eastern Sichuan, Jiangxi and Hunan.


Gloyd and Conant (1990) recognized five subspecies: the four mentioned in the table above, plus A. b. ussuriensis, which is found in Russia. However, Toriba (1986) elevated this fifth form to a species: Gloydius ussuriensis.

This species is similar the cottonmouths and copperheads (Agkistrodon sp.) of the Americas and was long considered part of the same group (see synonymy).

See also


Further reading

  • Fukuda T, Iwaki M, Hong SH, Oh HJ, Wei Z, Morokuma K, Ohkuma K, Dianliang L, Arakawa Y, Takahashi M. 2005. Standardization of Regional Reference for Mamushi (Gloydius blomhoffii) Antivenom in Japan, Korea and China. Japanese Journal of Infectious Diseases, 59, 20-24. PDF at the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare Accessed 18 December 2007.

External links

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