Gloydius halys

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Gloydius halys
Gloydius halys at Tost-Uul Mount, Mongolia.JPG
Gloydius halys in Southern Mongolia
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Viperidae
Subfamily: Crotalinae
Genus: Gloydius
Species: G. halys
Binomial name
Gloydius halys
(Pallas, 1776)
  • Coluber halys Pallas, 1776
  • [Vipera (Echidna) Aspis] Pallasii Merrem, 1820
  • Trigonocephalus Halys Lichtenstein In Eversmann & Lichtenstein, 1823
  • Vipera Halys – Lichtenstein In Eversmann & Lichtenstein, 1823
  • Trigonocephalus halys
    F. Boie, 1827
  • Trigonocephalus [(Halys)] Halys
    Gray, 1849
  • Halys pallasii Günther, 1864
  • Ancistrodon halys Boulenger, 1896
  • A[gkistrodon]. halys Stejneger, 1907
  • Ancistrodon halys halys
    – Nikolsky, 1916
  • Agkistrodon halys halys
    Mertens & L. Müller, 1928
  • Gloydius halys halys
    Hoge & Romano-Hoge, 1981[1]
Common names: Siberian pit viper,[2] Halys viper,[3] Halys pit viper,[4] more.

Gloydius halys is a venomous pitviper species found within a wide range that stretches across Asia, from Russia, east of the Urals, eastwards through China. Five subspecies are currently recognized, including the nominotypical form described here.[5]


Grows to a maximum total length of 59 cm (23 in), which was for a female, with an included tail length of 68 mm (2.7 in). The largest male on record measured 53 cm (21 in) in total length, which included a tail length of 80 mm (3.1 in). The body build is described as moderately stout with a snout that is slightly upturned when viewed from the side.[2]

Dorsally grayish, pale brown, reddish, or yellowish, with large dark spots or crossbars, the borders of which are serrated. One or two lateral series of smaller dark spots. A wide dark stripe behind the eye, bordered by light stripes both above and below. Ventrally whitish, speckled with gray or brown.

The strongly keeled dorsal scales are arranged in 23 rows at midbody. Ventrals 149-174; anal plate entire; subcaudals 31-44, divided (paired).[6]

Common names[edit]

Siberian pit viper,[2] Halys viper,[3] Halys pit viper, Pallas' pit viper, Asiatic pit viper, Asiatic moccasin,[4] shchitomordnik,[7] Pallas' viper, Pallas pit viper, Korean pit viper, Mongolian pit viper.[8]

Geographic range[edit]

Found in Russia, east of the Ural Mountains through Siberia, Iran, Mongolia to northern and central China, as well as the southern Ryukyu Islands of Japan. According to Gloyd and Conant (1990), the type locality given is "Salt Lake near the Lugaskoi Sawod (factory) on the Upper Yenisey" (Siberia, Russia). Redefined by Bour (1993) as "Naryn or Ryn Peski desert, near the Russia-Kazakhstan border."[1]


Subspecies[5] Taxon author[5] Common name[9] Geographic range[1]
G. h. boehmei Nilson, 1983 Boehme's pitviper Known only from the type locality: Andarab valley, province of Baghlan, at 2,500 m altitude, eastern Afghanistan.[9]
G. h. caraganus (Eichwald, 1831) Karaganda pitviper From southeastern Europe, in the Ural and Emba River valleys, and (at least formerly) in the Volga River valley, through much of Kazakhstan, including northern Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kirgistan, into northwestern China.[2]
G. h. cognatus (Gloyd, 1977) Alashan pitviper North-central China, from eastern Qinghai across southern Gansu, probably also in Qinghai, and possibly eastwards into Hebei and northwards into Inner Mongolia.[9]
G. h. halys (Pallas, 1776) Siberian pitviper Southern Siberia and Mongolia, from the Zeya River west to longitude 74° E.[2]
G. h. mogoi Bour, 1993 Western Mongolia.[9]

See also[edit]


  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).
  2. ^ a b c d e Gloyd HK, Conant R. 1990. Snakes of the Agkistrodon Complex: A Monographic Review. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles. 614 pp. 52 plates. LCCN 89-50342. ISBN 0-916984-20-6.
  3. ^ a b Gotch AF. 1986. Reptiles -- Their Latin Names Explained. Poole, UK: Blandford Press. 176 pp. ISBN 0-7137-1704-1.
  4. ^ a b Steward JW. 1971. The Snakes of Europe. Cranbury, New Jersey: Associated University Press (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press). 238 pp. LCCCN 77-163307. ISBN 0-8386-1023-4.
  5. ^ a b c "Gloydius halys". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 24 May 2007. 
  6. ^ Boulenger, G.A. 1896. Catalogue of the Snakes in the British Museum (Natural History). Volume III., Containing the...Viperidæ. Trustees of the British Museum (Natural History). London. xiv + 727 pp. + Plates I.-XXV. (Ancistrodon halys, pp. 524-525.)
  7. ^ Brown JH. 1973. Toxicology and Pharmacology of Venoms from Poisonous Snakes. Springfield, Illinois: Charles C. Thomas. 184 pp. LCCCN 73-229. ISBN 0-398-02808-7.
  8. ^ U.S. Navy. 1991. Poisonous Snakes of the World. US Govt. New York: Dover Publications Inc. 203 pp. ISBN 0-486-26629-X.
  9. ^ a b c d Gumprecht A, Tillack F, Orlov NL, Captain A, Ryabov S. 2004. Asian Pitvipers. Berlin: Geitje Books. 1st Edition. 368 pp. ISBN 3-937975-00-4.

Further reading[edit]

  • Pallas, P.S. 1776. Reise durch verschiedene Provinzen des russischen Reichs. Kais. Akad. Wiss. (Kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften), St. Petersburg, Volume III. (Coluber halys, p. 703.)

External links[edit]