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FAQ
Target Species: Atlantic coastal bushmaster, Lachesis muta rhombeata
Location: Pocas dos Santos, Rio de Janeiro; Itabuna, Bahia, & Quebrangulo, Alagoas, Brazil
Director: Martin Belderson


Location: The Atlantic coastal forests of Brazil is much smaller and more threatened than the vast Amazon rainforest.

Mission Statement:

The Atlantic coastal forest of Brazil is less well known than the Amazon rainforest but it is much more threatened by deforestation and destruction, almost 90% of the forest has now disappeared and with it many species of flora and fauna. Emotive mammals and birds like the lion tamarin monkeys and Spix’s macaw are threatened with extinction, but so are many reptiles. The bushmasters are the largest venomous snakes in Latin America but they are amongst the most secretive and little known. These large pitvipers are also the only egg-laying vipers in the Americas. Two species occur in Costa Rica and Panama and a further species inhabits the Amazon and Orinoco Basins. A subspecies of the Amazonian species inhabits the endangered Atlantic coastal forests of Brazil. Since it can only survive in pristine humid tropical rainforest it is much more at risk from habitat destruction than the more ubiquitous lancehead pitvipers of the genus Bothrops. Mark teams up with Brazil’s two top bushmaster experts to try and find this rare and highly venomous serpent in what remains of it fragmented environment. Will they succeed in what seems an impossible task ?


A close view of the Atlantic coastal bushmaster (Lachesis nuta rhombeata), the most endangered of the four bushmasters.

Species recorded during 'Ox Killer'

Species Common Name
BUFONIDAE TRUE TOADS
Bufo crucifer Cross-marked toad
Bufo granulatus Granulated toad
Bufo paracnemis Cururu toad
Bufo typhonius South American toad
HYLIDAE TREEFROGS
Hyla sp. A (Bahia, Brazil) (unidentified treefrog)
Hyla sp. B (Alagoas, Brazil) (unidentified treefrog)
Hyla sp. C (Alagoas, Brazil) (unidentified treefrog)
LEPTODACTYLIDAE SOUTHERN FROGS
Eleutherodactylus bilineatus Bahia two-striped robber fog
Leptodactylus spixii Spix's bullfrog
GEKKONIDAE GECKOES
Hemidactylus mabouia Cosmopolitan house gecko
POLYCHROTIDAE ANOLES
Enyalius catenatus catenatus Flat-head anole
SCINCIDAE SKINKS
Mabuya sp. (Bahia) (unidentified mabouya)
TROPIDURIDAE LAVA & TREE LIZARDS
Tropidurus hispidus Lava lizard
Tropidurus plica Harlequin racerunner
COLUBRIDAE TYPICAL SNAKES
Oxybelis aeneus Brown vinesnake
Pseudoboa nigra Brazilian blacksnake
Xenodon rabdocephalus rabdocephalus False jararaca
VIPERIDAE VIPERS & PITVIPERS
Bothrops lecrurus White-tailed lancehead
Lachesis muta rhombeata Atlantic coastal bushmaster

 


Location: Our bushmaster search centered around Itabuna in Bahia and the small village of Quebrangulo (not marked) in Alagoas.

 


Mark O'Shea and Brazilian bushmaster expert Anibal Melgarejo Gimenez from Instituto Vital Brasil.

 

 


The Atlantic coastal forests of Brazil survive in isolated pockets such as Quebrangulo, Alagoas.

 

 


Much of the original rainforest is replaced by desert scrub.

 


O'Shea with the Atlantic coastal bushmaster captured on the final night at Quebrangulo.

 


Close-up of a bushmaster: note the forked tongue and forward facing heat-sensitive pits.

 


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