Vipera latastei

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Vipera latastei
Vivora de mijas.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Viperidae
Genus: Vipera
V. latastei
Binomial name
Vipera latastei
Boscá, 1878
Vipera latastei range Map.png
Distribution of Vipera latasti.
  • Vipera latasti [sic]
    Boscá, 1878
  • Vipera latastei
    Boscá, 1879
  • Vipera berus aspis var. latastei
    Camerano, 1889
    (nomen illegitimum)
  • Vipera latastii [sic]
    Boulenger, 1896
  • Vipera latasti [sic]
    Mertens, 1925
  • Latastea latastei
    A.F. Reuss, 1929
  • Rhinaspis latastei nigricaudata
    A.F. Reuss, 1933
  • V [ipera]. ammodytes latastei
    Schwarz, 1935
  • Vipera latastei latastei
    H. Saint-Girons, 1953
  • Vipera (Rhinaspis) latastei latastei
    Obst, 1983
Common names: Lataste's viper, snub-nosed viper,[3] snub-nosed adder.[4]

Vipera latastei is a species of venomous snake in the subfamily Viperinae of the family Viperidae. The species is endemic to the Iberian Peninsula and northwestern Maghreb.[2] Two extant subspecies and one extinct subspecies are currently recognized, including the nominate subspecies described here.[5][6]


The specific name latastei, is in honor of Boscà's French colleague, herpetologist Fernand Lataste,[7] who would a year later return him the honor, by naming after him a discovery of his own, Boscá's newt (Lissotriton boscai ).


V. latastei grows to a maximum total length (including tail) of about 72 cm (28.3 in), but usually less.[3] It is grey in colour, has a triangular head, a "horn" on the tip of its nose, and a zig-zag pattern on its back.[8] The tip of the tail is yellow.


V. latasei can be seen day or night but is usually hidden under rocks. The yellow tip of the tail is possibly used to lure prey.[9]

Geographic range[edit]

V. latastei is found in southwestern Europe (Portugal and Spain) and northwestern Africa (the Mediterranean region of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia).[1][5] It is possibly extinct in Tunisia.[1]

The type locality given is "Ciudad Real ", emended to "Valencia, Spanien " (Valencia, Spain) by Mertens and L. Müller (1928).[2]


V. latastei is found in generally moist, rocky areas, in dry scrubland and woodland, hedgerows, stone walls, and sometimes in coastal dunes.[1]


Females of V. latasei give birth to between two and 13 young. On average, females give birth only once every three years.[1]

Conservation status[edit]

The species V. latastei was classified as Near Threatened (NT) according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (v3.1, 2001), and from 2008 is recognised as Vulnerable (VU). It is listed as such because it is probably in significant decline (but likely at a rate of less than 30% over ten years) due to widespread habitat loss and persecution throughout much of its range, thus making the species close to qualifying for Vulnerable. Further population reduction is expected, but is not likely to exceed 30% over the next 10 years, but localized extinctions in parts of its range are possible (e.g., Tunisia, Spain).[1]

It is also listed as a strictly protected species (Appendix II) under the Berne Convention.[10]


Species[5][6] Taxon author[5][6] Geographic range
V. l. gaditana H. Saint-Girons, 1977 Southern Spain and Portugal, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia.[2][3]
V. l. latastei Boscá, 1878 Most of the Iberian peninsula south of the Pyrenees.[3]
V. l. ebusitana Torres-Roig et al., 2020 Originally endemic to Ibiza, Spain, now it is extinct.[6]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Jose Antonio Mateo Miras, Marc Cheylan, M. Saïd Nouira, Ulrich Joger, Paulo Sá-Sousa, Valentin Pérez-Mellado, Iñigo Martínez-Solano (2009). "Vipera latastei". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2009: e.T61592A12503848. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2009.RLTS.T61592A12503848.en. Retrieved 19 November 2021.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  2. ^ a b c d McDiarmid RW, Campbell JA, Touré T (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).
  3. ^ a b c d 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.
  4. ^ United States Navy (1991). Poisonous Snakes of the World. New York: US Government / Dover Publications Inc. 203 pp. ISBN 0-486-26629-X.
  5. ^ a b c d Vipera latastei at the Reptile Database. Accessed 9 January 2021.
  6. ^ a b c d Enric Torres-Roig; Kieren J. Mitchell; Josep Antoni Alcover; Fernando Martínez-Freiría; Salvador Bailón; Holly Heiniger; Matthew Williams; Alan Cooper; Joan Pons; Pere Bover (2021). "Origin, extinction and ancient DNA of a new fossil insular viper: molecular clues of overseas immigration". Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. 192 (1): 144–168. doi:10.1093/zoolinnean/zlaa094.
  7. ^ Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michael; Grayson, Michael (2011). The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. xiii + 312 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. ("Vipera latasti [sic]", p. 151).
  8. ^ "Dangerous Snakes in Spain. Iberia Nature".
  9. ^ "Lataste's Viper, St. Louis Zoo". Archived from the original on 22 July 2011. Retrieved 1 July 2011.
  10. ^ Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats, Appendix II at Council of Europe. Accessed 9 October 2006.

Further reading[edit]

  • Arnold EN, Burton JA (1978). A Field Guide to the Reptiles and Amphibians of Britain and Europe. London: Collins. 272 pp. ISBN 0-00-219318-3. ("Vipera latasti [sic]", pp. 219, 222 + Plate 40 + Map 124).
  • Boulenger GA (1896). Catalogue of the Snakes in the British Museum (Natural History). Volume III., Containing the ... Viperidæ. London: Trustees of the British Museum (Natural History). (Taylor and Francis, printers). xiv + 727 pp. + Plates I-XXV. ("Vipera latastii [sic]", pp. 484–485).
  • Boscá E (1878). "Note sur une forme nouvelle ou peu connue de vipère ". Bulletin de la Société Zoologique de France 3: 116–121. ("Vipera Latasti [sic]", new species, p. 121). (in French).
  • Mertens R, Müller L (1928). "Liste der amphibien und reptilien Europas ". Abh. Senckenb. Naturf. Ges. 45: 1–62. (in German).

External links[edit]