Macrovipera schweizeri

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Macrovipera schweizeri
Benny Trapp Macrovipera schweizeri.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Viperidae
Genus: Macrovipera
M. schweizeri
Binomial name
Macrovipera schweizeri
(F. Werner, 1935)
Macrovipera schweizeri distribution.png
  • [Vipera lebetina] schweizeri
    F. Werner, 1935
  • Vipera lebetina schweizeri
    Mertens, 1951
  • Vipera lebetina siphnensis
    Wettstein, 1952
  • Daboia (Daboia) lebetina schweizeri
    Obst, 1983
  • D[aboia]. l[ebetina]. schweizeri
    Engelmann et al., 1985
  • Vipera schweizeri
    Nilson & Andrén, 1988
  • Vipera lebetina schweizeri
    — González, 1991
  • Macrovipera schweizeri
    Herrmann, Joger & Nilson, 1992
Common names: Milos viper,[2] Cyclades blunt-nosed viper.[3]

Macrovipera schweizeri is a venomous viper species found in Greece on the islands of the Cyclades Archipelago in the Aegean sea. No subspecies are currently recognized.[4]


The specific name, schweizeri, is in honor of German herpetologist Hans Schweizer (1891–1975).[5]


M. schweizeri grows to an average total length (including tail) of 50–70 cm (20–28 in), with a maximum of 98.5 cm (38.8 in).[2]

Geographic range[edit]

M. schweizeri is found on the Greek islands of the Cyclades Archipelago in the Aegean Sea: Milos and the three smaller, adjacent islands of Siphnos, Kimolos and Poliaigos.[1][2] The type locality is given as "Insel Milos ".[1]

Conservation status[edit]

This species, M. schweizeri, is classified as Endangered (EN) according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species with the following criteria: B1ab(iii,v) (v3.1, 2001).[6] This indicates that the extent of its occurrence within its geographic range is estimated to be less than 5,000 km² (1,930 sq mi), that its populations are severely fragmented or known to exist at no more than five locations. Furthermore, a continuing decline is observed, inferred or projected in the area, extent and/or quality of habitat, as well as the number of mature individuals.[7]

So listed because its extent of occurrence is, in fact, not much greater than 100 km² (39 sq mi) -- it is known from only four small islands. There is continuing decline in the extent and quality of its habitat, and it is experiencing a decline in the number of mature individuals due to persecution and over-collecting. Year assessed: 2005.[6]

It is also listed as strictly protected (Appendix II) under the Berne Convention.[8]


It is narrated by G.A. Boulenger in his book The Snakes of Europe that "Dr. de Bedriaga observed this much dreaded snake, the bite of which is probably as bad as that of its Indian ally, the Daboia, Vipera russelli ". It is probable that the snake he assumed was Macrovipera lebetina is in fact the Milos Viper.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c McDiarmid RW, Campbell JA, Touré TA (1999). Snake Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference, Volume 1. Washington, District of Columbia: Herpetologists' League. 511 pp. ISBN 1-893777-00-6 (series). ISBN 1-893777-01-4 (volume).
  2. ^ a b c Mallow D, Ludwig D, Nilson G (2003). True Vipers: Natural History and Toxinology of Old World Vipers. Malabar, Florida: Krieger Publishing Company. 359 pp. ISBN 0-89464-877-2.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ "Macrovipera schweizeri". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 9 August 2006.
  5. ^ Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michael; Grayson, Michael (2011). The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. xiii + 296 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. (Macrovipera schweizeri, p. 239).
  6. ^ a b Macrovipera schweizeri at the IUCN Red List. Accessed 2 September 2007.
  7. ^ 2001 Categories & Criteria (version 3.1) at the IUCN Red List. Accessed 2 September 2007.
  8. ^ Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats, Appendix II at Council of Europe. Accessed 9 October 2006.

Further reading[edit]

  • Werner F (1935). "Reptilien der Ägäischen Inseln ". Sitzungberichte der Kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften in Wien 1244: 81-117. (Vipera lebetina schweizeri, new subspecies, p. 117). (in German).

External links[edit]