Sakishima habu


Distinctive characteristics of Sakishimahabu: Skin is brown, overlaid with a dark brown zig-zag pattern. Originally found in the Yaeyama Islands, but has since moved to Itoman City and the southern part of Okinawa.


Family: Viperidae

Scientific Names: Craspedocephalus elegans, Lachesis lutea, L. luteus, L. mucrosquamatus, Trimeresurus elegans, T. luteus

Common Names: Sakishima, Sakishima habu, elegant pitviper


Medium-sized, fairly stout-bodied, pitviper, adults usually 50-90 cm long (max. 100+ cm). Usually resembles the Okinawan Habu, P. flavoviridis, in general color & pattern but is much smaller. Okinawan form often has a more grayish dorsal background color, w/ a distinct orange-ish tinge to its alternating dorsal blotches.


Found mainly in moist or wet forest edges, by openings or paths, often near cultivated crops & human habitations. Limited to the Ryukyu Islands of Japan (Irimoke, Ishigaki & Miyako).

Activity and Behavior

Mainly nocturnal, mainly terrestrial, but will climb >1 m up into bushes, bamboo or sugar cane stalks. Mainly feeds on small mammals, & possibly on lizards or frogs. Oviparous (clutch size not reported).

Venom Characteristics

Not much known. Probably mainly hemotoxic w/ hemorrhagin & procoagulants. Human envenomations have been reported, but rare reports of human fatalities caused by this species have not been well-document.