Coastal viper

Vipera xanthina

Common names: rock viper, coastal viper, Ottoman viper, more.
Vipera xanthina is a venomous viper species found in northeastern Greece and Turkey, as well as certain islands in the Aegean Sea. No subspecies are currently recognized.


As per the photographs. Skin tones can vary e.g. grey or white with a black zig-zag pattern. Melanistic versions may exist. Has keeled scales Usually grows to 70-95 cm, but reaches a maximum length of 130 cm on certain Greek islands in the Aegean Sea.

Common names

Rock viper, coastal viper, Ottoman viper, Turkish viper, Near East viper, mountain viper.

Geographic range

Extreme northeastern Greece, the Greek islands of Simi, Kos, Kalimnos, Leros, Lipsos, Patmos, Samos, Chios and Lesbos, European Turkey, the western half of Anatolia (inland eastward to Kayseri), and islands (e.g. Chalki, Kastellórizon [Meis Adasi]) of the Turkish mainland shelf. The type locality given is "Xanthus" [southwestern Turkey (Kinik)], and "Asia Minor." Listed as "Xanthos" by Schwarz (1936). Nilson and Andrén (1986) restricted the species to "Xanthos" [= Xanthus] (Kinik) province Mugla, S. W. Turkish Anatolia" through lectotype designation.

Conservation status

This species is classified as Least Concern (LC) according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (v3.1, 2001). Listed as such due to its wide distribution, presumed large population, and because it is unlikely to be declining fast enough to qualify for listing in a more threatened category. Year assessed: 2005.

It is, however, listed as strictly protected (Appendix II) under the Berne Convention.


According to Nilson, Andrén and Flärdh (1990), V. bornmuelleri, V. bulgardaghica, V.wagneri and V. xanthina are all closely related and together form the Vipera xanthina group or complex.

See also


Further reading

  • Nilson G, Andrén C. 1986. The mountain vipers of the Middle East: The Vipera xanthina complex. Bonner Zoologische Monographien 20.
  • Nilson G, Andrén C, and Flärdh B. 1990. Vipera albizona a new mountain viper from central Turkey, with comments on the isolating effects of the Anatolian "diagonal." Amphibia-Reptilia 11:285-94.
  • Schwarze E. 1936. Untersuchungen über Systematik und Verbreitung der europäischen und mediterranen Ottern. Behringwerke-Mitteilungen 7:159-262.

External links

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