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Cerastes cerastes (LINNAEUS, 1758)

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Higher TaxaViperidae, Viperinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
SubspeciesCerastes cerastes cerastes (LINNAEUS 1758)
Cerastes cerastes hoofieni WERNER & SIVAN in WERNER et al. 1999 
Common NamesE: Desert Horned Viper
G: Hornviper 
SynonymCerastes cerastes cerastes (LINNAEUS 1758)
Coluber Cerastes LINNAEUS 1758: 217
Cerastes cornutus FORSKAL 1775 (nom. nud.)
Coluber Cerastes — SHAW & NODDER 1792: plate 122
Gonyechis cerastes — FITZINGER in TREITSCHKE 1842
Vipera cerastes — BOETTGER 1880: 169
Cerastes cornutus BOULENGER 1896
Cerastes cornutus — ANDERSON 1901: 151
Cerastes cerastes mutila DOMERGUE 1901
Aspis cerastes — SCHMIDT 1939
Cerastes cerastes — HAAS 1957
Cerastes cerastes karlhartli SOCHUREK 1974 (nom. nud.)
Cerastes cerastes karlhartli — SOCHUREK 1979
Cerastes cerastes mutila — SOCHUREK 1979
Cerastes cerastes cerastes — WELCH 1994: 43
Cerastes cerastes — WERNER et al. 1999
Cerastes cerastes — MCDIARMID, CAMPBELL & TOURÉ 1999: 367
Cerastes cerastes — WALLACH et al. 2014: 153
Cerastes cerastes — BAR et al. 2021

Cerastes cerastes hoofieni WERNER & SIVAN in WERNER et al. 1999
Cerastes cornutus BOULENGER 1896
Aspis cerastes — MERTENS 1944: 33 (part.)
Cerastes cerastes — LEVITON & ANDERSON 1967: 187
Cerastes cerastes gasperettii — ARNOLD 1980: 319 (part.)
Cerastes cerastes hoofieni WERNER & SIVAN in WERNER et al. 1999: 87 
DistributionEgypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Israel, Jordan, Sudan (Jumhūriyyat), Western Sahara, Chad

karlhartli: Sinai peninsula, SE Egypt through Kordofan

mutila: SW Algeria, adjacent Morocco.

hoofieni: SW corner of Arabian Peninsula (endemic). Type locality: King Khalid Airbase, Saudi Arabia, (18°18'N, 42°44'E)

Type locality: “Oriente’ (Egypt?)  
TypesHolotype: NRM (NHRM) 98.
Holotype: BMNH 1985.721, female [hoofieni] 

Distribution: Reports from Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen may represent C. gasperetti. The two subspecies Cerastes cerastes karlhartli and C. c. mutila are not even mentioned in WERNER et al. 1999. Both are synonymized with C. cerastes by MCDIARMID, CAMPBELL & TOURÉ 1999. Not in Syria fide MARTENS 199. Not in Oman (Carranza et al. 2018) although reported from there in Joger 1983. For a map see Sindaco et al. 2013 and Bar et al. 2021.

Morphology: both hornless and horn-bearing specimens are known in this species.

Diet: rodents (70%), arthropods (15%), lizards (10%) (Al-Sadoon & Paray 2016).

Subspecies: Sochurek (194) described’ a subspecies of C. cerastes which he called ‘C. cerastes karlhartli’. However, the description was done in his privately published so-called ‘Herpetologische Blätter’, which according to art. 8.1 of the International Code of zoological Nomenclature (ICZN 1999) does not constitute a publication and therefore the description is not valid. THe name Cerastes cornuts was first used by Forskål 15 but formally described only by Boulenger 1896 (WAGNER & WILMS 2010).

Type species: Coluber Cerastes LINNAEUS 158 is the type species of the genus Cerastes LINNAEUS 158. Note that Stejneger (1936: 139) has designated Cerastes candidus Laurenti as the type of the genus Cerastes Laurenti. As Cerastes candidus is identical with Coluber haje Linnaeus, the generic name Cerastes Laurenti ought to become a synonym of Naja Laurenti. But unfortunately a prior definite type designation of Cerastes Laurenti had been established by Fejervary (Zool. Anz. 56, 1923: 12), who selected Coluber rhombeatus Linnaeus. Thus the generic name Cerastes is not inactive in herpetological nomenclature, but is the valid name of the genus commonly known as Trimerorhinus Smith 184, which therefore becomes a synonym of Cerastes. Another synonym of Cerastes is Psammophylax Fitzinger 1843, which has the same genotype as Cerastes and Trimerorhinus (from MERTENS 193: 0).

Phylogenetics: for a recent phylogeny of this and related Viperinae see Šmíd & Tolley 2019. For a phylogenomic study see Mochales-Riaño et al. 2023, who found a significant Mitonuclear discordance between mitochondrial and nuclear phylogenies. 
EtymologyNamed after the Greek “keras” (= horn) after the horns many species of the genus display.

Cerastes cerastes hoofieni was named after Mr. Jacob Haim Hoofien (1913-1997) who studied Middle Eastern herpetology. 
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