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Daboia palaestinae

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Daboia palaestinae
Vipera palaestina.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Viperidae
Genus: Daboia
D. palaestinae
Binomial name
Daboia palaestinae
F. Werner, 1938
Daboia palaestinae distribution.png
  • Vipera palaestinae F. Werner, 1938
  • Vipera xanthina palaestinae
    Mertens, 1952
  • Vipera palistinae [sic] Minton, 1971
  • Daboia (Daboia) palaestinae
    Obst, 1983
  • Daboia palestinae [sic]
    — Esterbauer, 1987
  • Vipera palgestinae [sic]
    Garcia, Huang & Perez, 1989
  • Vipera palaestinae
    — Golay et al., 1993[1]

Daboia palaestinae, also known as the Palestine viper[2][3][4][5], is a viper species endemic to the Levant.[1][4] Like all vipers, it is venomous. It is considered a leading cause of snakebite within its range.[6] No subspecies are currently recognized.[7]


D. palaestinae

It grows to an average total length (body + tail) of 70 to 90 cm (28 to 35 in), with a maximum total length of 130 cm (51 in).[2]

Geographic range[edit]

It is found in northern and central Israel, Palestine, western Syria, northwestern Jordan, and Lebanon.[1][4][5] Mallow et al. (2003) describe the range as relatively restricted, with the distribution being concentrated in the Mediterranean coastal plains to the inland hills of Lebanon and Israel, along with the adjoining regions of Syria and Jordan.[2]

The type locality given is "Haifa, Israel."[1]

Conservation status[edit]

This species is classified as Least Concern (LC) according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (v3.1, 2001).[5] It was given this status due to its relatively wide distribution, the fact that it is found in a wide range of habitats, its presumed large population, and because it is unlikely to be declining fast enough to qualify for listing in a more threatened category. The population trend is unknown. Year assessed: 2005.[8]

In 2018 the viper was named Israel's national snake.[9]


The classification of this species has resulted in much taxonomic controversy. Before Franz Werner (1938), this snake was included in Montivipera xanthina, and subsequently synonymized with V. lebetina by Boulenger (1896). Mertens (1952) moved it back to M. xanthina as a subspecies, and more recently a number of authorities, including Obst (1983) and Mallow et al. (2003) have included it as part of the genus Daboia.[2] The result is that many studies related to this medically significant species have been published under different scientific names.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d McDiarmid RW, Campbell JA, Touré T. 1999. Snake Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference, Volume 1. Herpetologists' League. 511 pp. ISBN 1-893777-00-6 (series). ISBN 1-893777-01-4 (volume).
  2. ^ a b c d e 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. ^ Mehrtens JM. 1987. Living Snakes of the World in Color. New York: Sterling Publishers. 480 pp. ISBN 0-8069-6460-X.
  4. ^ a b c O'Shea, Mark (2008). Venomous Snakes of the World (Illustrated ed.). New Holland Publishers. p. 60. ISBN 1-84773-086-8.
  5. ^ a b c Daboia palaestinae at the IUCN Red List. Accessed 2 September 2007.
  6. ^ U.S. Navy. 1991. Poisonous Snakes of the World. US Govt. New York: Dover Publications Inc. 203 pp. ISBN 0-486-26629-X.
  7. ^ "Vipera palaestinae". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 18 August 2006.
  8. ^ 2001 Categories & Criteria (version 3.1) at the IUCN Red List. Accessed 2 September 2007.
  9. ^ JTA (November 3, 2018). "Deadly Palestine Viper declared Israel's national snake". The Times of Israel. Retrieved November 4, 2018.

Further reading[edit]

  • Golay P, Smith HM, Broadley DG, Dixon JR, McCarthy CJ, Rage J-C, Schätti B, Toriba M. 1993. Endoglyphs and Other Venomous Snakes of the World. Geneva: Azemiops. 478 pp.
  • Werner F. 1938. Eine verkannte Viper ( Vipera palaestinae n. sp.). Zoologischer Anzeiger 122: 313-318.

External links[edit]