Danubian meadow viper

Vipera ursinii

Common names: meadow viper, Ursini's viper, meadow adder, (more).
Vipera ursinii is a venomous viper and a very widespread species, found from southeastern France all the way to China (Xinjiang). No subspecies are currently recognized.

Description

Adults average 40-50 cm in length, although specimens of 63-80 cm have been reported.

Common names

Meadow viper, Ursini's viper,, meadow adder, Orsini's viper, field viper, field adder. Although the following subspecies are currently invalid according to the taxonomy used here, their common names may still be encountered:

  • V. u. ursinii - Italian meadow viper.
  • V. u. macrops - karst viper, karst adder.
  • V. u. rakosiensis - Danubian meadow viper.
  • V. u. renardi - steppe viper, steppe adder, Renard's viper.
  • V. u. wettsteini - French meadow viper.

Geographic range

Southeastern France, eastern Austria (extinct), Hungary, central Italy, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, northern and northeastern Albania, Romania, northern Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey, northwestern Iran, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Russia and across the Khazakstan, Kirgizia and eastern Uzbekistan steppes to China (Xinjiang). The type locality given is " ... monti dell' Abruzzo prossimi alla provincia d'Ascoli... " (mountains of Abruzzi, Ascoli Province, Italy).

Conservation status

This species is classified as Endangered (EN) on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species with the following criteria: A1c+2c (v2.3, 1994). This indicates an observed, estimated, inferred or suspected population reduction of at least 80% over the last 10 years or three generations, whichever is the longer, based on a decline in area of occupancy, extent of occurrence and/or quality of habitat. For the same reason, a population reduction of at least 80% is projected or suspected to be met within the next 10 years or three generations, whichever is the longer. Year assessed: 1996.

In addition, this species is listed on CITES Appendix I, which means that it is threatened with extinction if trade is not halted, and is a strictly protected species (Appendix II) under the Berne Convention.

Taxonomy

There is high genetic diversity within samples of V. ursinii and several species may be involved. At least six subspecies may be encountered in modern literature:

  • V. u. ursinii - Bonaparte, 1835
  • V. u. eriwanensis - Reuss, 1933
  • V. u. rakosiensis - Méhely, 1893
  • V. u. renardi - Christoph, 1861
  • V. u. moldavica - Nilson, Andrén & Joger, 1993
  • V. u. graeca - Nilson & Andrén, 1988

Golay et al. (1993) recognize the first four, while Mallow et al. (2003) recognize the last two. However, McDiarmid et al (1999), and thus ITIS, feel that more definitive data is necessary before any subspecies can be recognized.

See also

References

Further reading

  • Golay P, Smith HM, Broadley DG, Dixon JR, McCarthy C, Rage J-C, Schätti B, Toriba M. 1993. Endoglyphs and Other Major Venomous Snakes of the World: A Checklist. Geneva: Azemiops. 498 pp.

External links

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