1. The natural history and nature of the snakes of the genus Atractaspis, the mole vipers, are briefly referred .to with special reference to the species A. microlepidota Günther, in the Sudan. 2. The nature of the venom of A. microlepidota is examined from available data.It has a high M.L.D. It is apparently neurotoxic, non-haemorrhagic, non-haemolytic, non-coagulant and without a spreading factor.Like certain other viperine venoms, however, it appears to have a toxic effect on the renal endothelium. 3. Twelve cases of bite by this species are recorded, three fatal. 4. Eleven cases of bite — all non-fatal — by congeners are recorded. 5. It is considered that A. microlepidota, though occasionally lethal, is not very dangerous and that its folk reputation of deadliness is largely inspired by its black colour. 6. It is considered that microscopy of the urine may be a delicate early diagnostic aid in poisoning and a guide in prognosis. 7. It is considered that poisoning may initiate a relapse of malaria. © 1954 Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.
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