|Macrovipera lebetina obtusa|
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 150 cm (59.1 in) in total length (body + tail) and males a little less. Sizes vary among different populations, with M. l. lebetina being somewhat smaller.
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 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 of the body can be gray, brown, beige, pinkish, olive, or khaki. The pattern, if present, is darker. It 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. Males are usually 3 and a half feet (1.1 m) in total length, while females may attain a total length of 5 feet (1.5 m).
It may be found under short trees with thick shade if the outside temperature is greater than 45° Celsius.
Common names for this viper include: 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 Greek Cypriot dialect for "short-tailed").
The blunt-nosed viper can be found in Algeria, Tunisia, Cyprus, Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, Russian Caucasia, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Kashmir, India.
|Subspecies||Taxon author||Common name||Geographic range|
|M. l. cernovi||(Chikin & Szczerbak, 1992)||Northeast Iran, southern Turkmenistan, parts of northern Afghanistan and Pakistan (Kashmir).|
|M. l. lebetina||(Linnaeus, 1758)||Cyprian blunt-nosed viper||Cyprus|
|M. l. obtusa||(Dwigubsky, 1832)||Levant blunt-nosed viper||Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, north Jordan, Caucasus (incl. Armenia), Azerbaijan, Dagestan, Iran, southern Afghanistan, Pakistan (Kashmir), and north India|
|M. l. transmediterranea||(Nilson & Andrén, 1988)||Algeria, Tunisia|
|M. l. turanica||(Chernov, 1940)||Turan blunt-nosed viper||Eastern Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, southwestern Kazakhstan, parts of northern Afghanistan and western Pakistan|
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.
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.
- List of viperine species and subspecies
- Viperinae by common name
- Viperinae by taxonomic synonyms
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- Boulenger GA. 1887. List of reptiles and batrachians from Cyprus. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. (5) 20: 344-345.
- Boulenger GA. 1890. The Fauna of British India, Including Ceylon and Burma. Reptilia and Batrachia. London: Secretary of State for India in Council. (Taylor & Francis, printers). xviii + 541 pp. (Vipera lebetina, p. 421).
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- Herrmann H-W, Joger U, Nilson G. 1992. Phylogeny and systematics of viperine snakes. III. Resurrection of the genus Macrovipera Reuss, 1927, as suggested by biochemical evidence. Amphibia-Reptilia 13 (4): 375-392.
- Linnaeus C. 1758. Systema naturæ per regna tria naturæ, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, diferentiis, synonymis, locis. Tomus I. Editio Decima, Reformata. Stockholm: L. Salvius. 824 pp. (Coluber lebetinus, p. 218).
- Mertens R, Müller L. 1928. Liste der Amphibien und Reptilian Europas. Abhandlungen der Senckenbergischen Naturforschenden Gesellschaft (Frankfurt am Main) 41: 1-62.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Macrovipera lebetina.|
- Macrovipera lebetina at Amphibians and Reptiles of Europe. Accessed 10 August 2006.
- Macrovipera at Herpbreeder. Accessed 10 August 2006.
- Macrovipera lebetina at Wildlife of Pakistan. Accessed 15 March 2007.
- Macrovipera lebetina at Checklist of Armenia's Amphibians and Reptiles, Tadevosyan's Herpetological Resources. Accessed 30 March 2007.