Macrovipera lebetina (*)
Macrovipera lebetina (Linnaeus, 1758)
* [Coluber] Lebetinus - Linnaeus, 1758
Ελληνικά, Κυπριακά : (Έχιδνα η αμβλύρυγχος)
Macrovipera lebetina is a venomous viper species found in North Africa, much of the Middle East, and as far east as Kashmir. Five subspecies are currently recognized, including the nominate race described here.
This is a large snake, with females reaching 214 cm in length and males growing to a similar size but less. In 2009 it was reported in the coastal areas of Cyprus that the indigenus Fina or Kontonoura reached the weight of 55kg+. However, sizes vary between different populations, with M. l. lebetina being somewhat smaller.
It will be found under short trees with thick shade close to the routs if the outside temperatures reaches 45 celcious plus.
The head is broad, triangular and distinct from the neck. The snout is rounded and blunt when viewed from above, which is why it is also called the blunt-nosed viper. The nasal and nasorostral scales are almost completely fused into a single plate, although some variation occurs.
The dorsal scales are strongly keeled, except for those bordering the ventrals. M. l. lebetina usually has 146-163 ventral scales. The anal scale is single.
The color pattern is less varied than one might expect from a species that is so widely distributed. The head is normally uniformly colored, although it can occasionally be marked with a dark V-shape. Dorsally, the ground color for the body can be gray, brown, beige, pinkish, olive or khaki. The pattern, if present, is darker, can be gray, bluish, rust or brown in color, and may consist of a middorsal row or double row of large spots. When two rows are present, the spots may alternate or oppose, which can produce anything from a saddled to a continuous zigzag pattern. The spots are usually brown, dark gray or black, but are sometimes red, brick, yellow or olive in color. Females are usually 3 and a half feet (1 m) long, while males are 5 feet (1.5 m) long.
Blunt-nosed viper, Lebetine viper, Levant viper, Levantine viper, Levantine adder, Kufi or Kufi viper (from Arabic), Gjurza (from Russian), coffin snake, Levante viper, mountain viper, Gunas (from Kashmiri), Fina or Kontonoura (the second comes from the translation of Cypriot local dialect of short tailed.
Dagestan, Algeria, Tunisia, Cyprus, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, Russian Caucasia, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhistan, Tadzikhistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Kashmir, India.
At one point there was also a report of this species from Yemen by Scortecci (1929).
The type locality originally given was "Oriente". Mertens and Müller (1928) suggested restricting the range to "Cypern" (Cyprus).
Lebetine vipers are endangered. The species is listed as strictly protected (Appendix II) under the Berne Convention.
This species is currently subject to review. It is likely that certain subspecies will soon be elevated to valid species status. The nominate subspecies was restricted to Cyprus in 1928 by Mertens and Müller and so does not actually occur in the Levant region.
The populations found in southern Afghanistan, Pakistan and northern India (Kashmir), are sometimes referred to as a separate subspecies: M. l. peilei. These normally have semidivided supraoculars.
Vipera Euphratica was originally used to refer to the populations that occur in the Euphrates river basin of Turkey, Syria and Iraq. It was synonymized with M. l. obtusa in several publications, including Joger (1984). However, Golay et al. (1993) include it in the synonymy of M. l. lebetina.
1. ^ a b c McDiarmid RW, Campbell JA, Touré T. 1999. Snake Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference, vol. 1. Herpetologists' League. 511 pp. ISBN 1-893777-00-6 (series). ISBN 1-893777-01-4 (volume).
* Al-Oran R, Rostum S, Joger U, Amr Z. 1998. First record of the Levantine Viper, Macrovipera lebetina, from Jordan. Zoology in the Middle East. Heidelberg 16: 65-70.
Source: Wikispecies, Wikipedia: All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License