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Daboia russelii (SHAW & NODDER, 1797)

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Higher TaxaViperidae, Viperinae, Colubroidea, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes) 
Common NamesE: Russel’s Viper
G: Kettenviper 
SynonymColuber Russelii [sic] SHAW & NODDER 1797: plate 291
Vipera elegans DAUDIN 1803: 447
Daboia elegans — GRAY 1842: 69
Daboia pulchella GRAY 1842: 69
Daboia Russellii GRAY 1849
Daboia elegans — SHORTT 1863: 384
Vipera Russellii STRAUCH 1869
Vipera russelli — SMITH 1943: 482
Vipera russelli nordicus DERANIYAGALA 1945
Daboia russelii — OBST 1983
Daboia (Daboia) russelli pulchella — OBST 1983
Daboia russelli russelli — WELCH 1994: 51
Daboia russellii — MANTHEY & GROSSMANN 1997: 434
Daboia russelii — MCDIARMID, CAMPBELL & TOURÉ 1999: 371
Vipera russelli — SHARMA 2004
Daboia russelii — THORPE et al. 2007
Daboia russelii — WALLACH et al. 2014: 208 
DistributionPakistan, India (Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Northern Bengal), Nepal, Sri Lanka (elevation up to 1500 m), Bangladesh

Type locality: Coromandel Coast [India]  
Reproductionovoviviparous, 5-50 live offspring. 
TypesSyntypes: BMNH
Holotype: NSMT H03312 [formosensis] 
DiagnosisDIAGNOSIS: No sensory pit between nostril and eye; head very distinct from neck, above covered by small, keeled, imbricate scales, 6–9 between narrow supraoculars; nostril large, in large nasal shield which, below, is fused to the rostral; eye, with vertically elliptic pupil, surrounded by 10–15 small scales, 3–4 rows of small scales separating the circumocular scales from the upper labials; temporals small; 10–12 upper labials; 27–33 longitudinal rows of scales at midbody, all except outmost row strongly keeled; ventrals 153–180; subcaudals 41–64, all paired; color above light brown with 3 longitudinal series of large black-margined brown spots or blotches, the vertebral series often merging to form a chain-like longitudinal stripe, occasionally an additional longitudinal series of small dark spots between vertebral and lateral series; yellowish white below occasionally with dark brown markings. Total length to 1600 mm are not uncommon (fide Smith 1943:484). [after LEVITON 2003] 
CommentVenomous! Possibly the most common of the dangerously venomous snakes occurring in southern Asia, and responsible for more than half of all reported snakebites.

Distribution: Possibly in Bhutan (Lenz 2012).

Subspecies: Wüster (1998) recognized only russelii and siamensis as subspecies. Daboia russelii siamensis (SMITH 1917) has been elevated to full species status.

Type species: Daboia elegans Gray, 1842 is the type species of the genus Daboia GRAY 1842.

Synonymy: Kaiser et al. 2013 considered the generic name Maxhoservipera Hoser 2012 invalid and rejected its use instead of Daboia.

NCBI taxonID: 97228 [pulchella] 
EtymologyNamed for Patrick Russell [sic!], author of “Indian Serpents” (1796). However, SHAW consistently spelled both Russell and the species epithet with a single “l”, therefore the name has to be russeli in accordance with the Code. For an extensive discussion of the nomenclatural history of this species see MCDIARMID, CAMPBELL & TOURÉ 1999 and ADLER et al. 2000. For biographical and other information on Russell see the series of papers in Hamadryad (2016). 
  • Adler, K., Hobart M. Smith, S. H. Prince, P. David & D. Chiszar 2000. Russell's Viper: Daboia russelii not Daboia russellii, due to Classical Latin rules. Hamadryad 25 (2): 83-85.
  • Adler, Kraig. 2015. The planning and publication history of Patrick Russell's classic book, "Indian Serpents". Hamadryad 37 (1-2): 12-17
  • Avadhani, R. 2005. Snakes of India. Reptilia (GB) (41): 32-37 - get paper here
  • Avadhani, R. 2006. Vipera russelli - The dreaded Russell’s viper. Reptilia (GB) (46): 50-53 - get paper here
  • Bannermann, W.B. 1907. Note on the breeding of Russell's Viper (Vipera russelli) in captivity. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 17: 808-811 - get paper here
  • Bannermann, W.B. 1907. Note on the Breeding of Snakes in captivity. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 18: 208 - get paper here
  • Bauer, Aaron M. 2015. Patrick Russell's snakes and their role as type specimens. Hamadryad 37 (1-2): 18-65
  • Bauer, Aaron M., Gernot Vogel and Patrick D. Campbell. 2015. A preliminary consideration of the dry snake skin specimens of Patrick Russell. Hamadryad 37 (1-2): 73-84
  • Beolens, Bo; Michael Watkins, and Michael Grayson 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA - get paper here
  • Bhupathy, Subramanian & N. Sathishkumar 2013. Status of reptiles in Meghamalai and its environs, Western Ghats, Tamil Nadu, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 5 (15): 4953-4961 - get paper here
  • Botejue, W. Madhava S.; Jayantha Wattavidanage 2012. Herpetofaunal diversity and distribution in Kalugala proposed forest reserve, Western province of Sri Lanka. Amphibian & Reptile Conservation 5 (2): 65-80(e38). - get paper here
  • Brongersma, L. D. 1958. Note on Vipera russelii (Shaw). Zoologische Mededelingen 36: 55-76 - get paper here
  • Campbell, Patrick D. 2015. The acquisition of Dr. Patrick Russell's snakeskin collections. Hamadryad 37 (1-2): 66-72
  • Campbell, Patrick D. and Efstratia Verveniotou. 2015. Collection storage improvement and the rehousing of the 1904 Patrick Russell snakeskins. Hamadryad 37 (1-2): 85-94
  • Chan-ard,T.; Grossmann,W.; Gumprecht,A. & Schulz,K. D. 1999. Amphibians and reptiles of peninsular Malaysia and Thailand - an illustrated checklist [bilingual English and German]. Bushmaster Publications, Würselen, Gemany, 240 pp. [book review in Russ. J Herp. 7: 87] - get paper here
  • Chettri, Krishna and Damodar Thapa Chhetry 2013. Diversity of Snakes in Sarlahi District, Nepal Our Nature 11(2): 201-207
  • Cox, Merel J.; Van Dijk, Peter Paul; Jarujin Nabhitabhata & Thirakhupt,Kumthorn 1998. A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. Ralph Curtis Publishing, 144 pp.
  • Das, I. & De Silva, A. 2005. Photographic guide to snakes and other reptiles of Sri Lanka. New Holland Publishers, 144 pp.
  • Das, Indraneil. 2015. Patrick Russell (1727-1805), surgeon and polymath naturalist. Hamadryad 37 (1-2): 1-11
  • de Silva, A. 1998. Snakes of Sri Lanka: a checklist and an annotated bibliography. Dept. Wildlife Conservation/GEF/UNDP/FAO, Colombo.
  • Dowling, H.G., & Jenner, J.V. 1988. Snakes of Burma: checklist of reported species and bibliography. Smithsonian Herp. Inf. Serv. (76): 19 pp. - get paper here
  • Dowling,H.G. 1993. The name of Russel's viper. Amphibia-Reptilia 14: 320 - get paper here
  • Fenton, L.L. 1905. The Russell's Viper. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 16: 173 - get paper here
  • Habib, Bilal & Bharat Cheda 2010. Ninety-six young ones born to Russell’s Viper Daboia russelii. Reptile Rap (10): 20-21 - get paper here
  • Hoser, R. 2012. A taxonomic revision of the Vipera palaestinae Werner, 1938 species group, with the creation of a new genus and a new subgenus. Australasian J. Herpetol. 11: 53-55 - get paper here
  • Jadhav, Pavan Laxmanrao; Shivaji P Chavan and Harshad Sudarshan Trimukhe 2018. Snake species diversity and their distribution in and around Nanded city, Maharashtra, India. Journal of Entomology and Zoology Studies 2018; 6(4): 1855-1860
  • Janzen, P.; Klaas, P. & Ziesmann, S. 2007. Sri Lankas Schlangenfauna. Draco 7 (30): 56-64 - get paper here
  • Jayakody, RL. 2001. Russell of Russell's Viper Fame. Ceylon Medical Journal 46 (2):39-40
  • Kaiser, H.; Crother, B.I.; Kelly, C.M.R.; Luiselli, L.; O’Shea, M.; Ota, H.; Passos, P.; Schleip, W.D. & Wüster, W. 2013. Best Practices: In the 21st Century, Taxonomic Decisions in Herpetology are Acceptable Only When Supported by a Body of Evidence and Published via Peer-Review. Herpetological Review 44 (1): 8-23
  • Karunarathna, Suranjan; D. M. S. and A. A. Thasun Amarasinghe 2011. A PRELIMINARY SURVEY OF THE REPTILE FAUNA IN NILGALA FOREST AND ITS VICINITY, MONARAGALA DISTRICT, SRI LANKA. Taprobanica 3 (02): 69-76
  • Kästle , W., Rai, K. & Schleich, H.H. 2013. FIELD GUIDE to Amphibians and Reptiles of Nepal. ARCO-Nepal e.V., 625 pp. - get paper here
  • Khan, M.S. 1983. Venomous terrestrial snakes of Pakistan. The Snake 15 (2): 101-105.
  • Lenz, Norbert 2012. Von Schmetterlingen und Donnerdrachen - Natur und Kultur in Bhutan. Karlsruher Naturhefte 4, Naturkundemuseum Karlsruhe, 124 pp.
  • Leviton, Alan E.; Guinevere O.U. Wogan; Michelle S. Koo; George R. Zug; Rhonda S. Lucas and Jens V. Vindum 2003. The Dangerously Venomous Snakes of Myanmar Illustrated Checklist with Keys. Proc. Cal. Acad. Sci. 54 (24): 407–462 - get paper here
  • Maki, M. 1931. Monograph of the Snakes of Japan. Dai-ichi Shobo, Tokyo. (1), 7, 240 pages (expanded edition 1933)
  • Manhas, Amit; Rajni Raina, and Ashwani Wanganeo 2018. Reptilian diversity of the Bhopal Region in the State of Madhya Pradesh in central India. IRCF Reptiles & Amphibians 25 (2): 104–114 - get paper here
  • Manhas, Amit; Rajni Raina, Ashwani Wanganeo 2016. An assessment of reptilian diversity and their distribution in Jammu and Kashmir state from Jammu city in northern India: A case study International Journal of Fauna and Biological Studies 2016; 3(3): 20-23 - get paper here
  • Manthey, U. & Grossmann, W. 1997. Amphibien & Reptilien Südostasiens. Natur und Tier Verlag (Münster), 512 pp. - get paper here
  • Masroor, R. 2012. A Contribution to the Herpetology of Northern Pakistan. SSAR, Ithaca [review in JoTT 4(6): 2670] - get paper here
  • McDiarmid, R.W.; Campbell, J.A. & Touré,T.A. 1999. Snake species of the world. Vol. 1. [type catalogue] Herpetologists’ League, 511 pp.
  • Mertens, R. 1927. Herpetologische Mitteilungen XVIII. Zur Verbreitung der Vipera russelii SHAW. Senckenbergiana biologica 19:182-184.
  • Mertens, R. 1930. Die Amphibien und Reptilien der Inseln Bali, Lombok, Sumbawa und Flores. Senck. Naturf. Gesell., Frankfurt am Main, Abhandl. 42(3): 117-344.
  • Murthy, T.S.N. 2010. The reptile fauna of India. B.R. Publishing, New Delhi, 332 pp.
  • Narayan Rao, C.R. 1918. Notes on the Russell's Viper. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 25: 307 - get paper here
  • Norval, G.; Chu, H.P.; Bursey, C.R.; Goldberg, S.R.; Cheng, M.H. & Mao, J.J. 2008. Kalicephalus sp. von einer Kettenviper (Vipera russellii siamensis SMITH 1917) in Taiwan. Sauria 30 (2): 41-44 - get paper here
  • O’Shea, M. 2018. The Book of Snakes. Ivy Press / Quarto Publishing, London, - get paper here
  • Palot, M.J. 2015. A checklist of reptiles of Kerala, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 7(13): 8010–8022 - get paper here
  • Pandey, Deb Prasad 2018. New records of snakes from Chitwan National Park and vicinity, Central Nepal Herpetology Notes 11: 679-696 - get paper here
  • Patel, Harshil; Raju Vyas, Vaibhav Naik, Bhautik Dudhatra & Shantilal K. Tank 2018. Herpetofauna of the Northern Western Ghats of Gujarat, India. Zoology and Ecology, DOI: 10.1080/21658005.2018.1499237 - get paper here
  • Phelps, T. 2010. Old World Vipers. Edition Chimaira, Frankfurt, 558 pp. [critical review in Sauria 33 (3): 19 and HR 43: 503]
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  • Sharma, R. C. 2004. Handbook Indian Snakes. AKHIL BOOKS, New Delhi, 292 pp.
  • Shaw, George & Nodder, Frederick P. (Eds.) 1797. The Naturalist's Miscellany [...], Vol. VIII. London, Nodder & Co., plates 255-300, 180 unnumbered pages, [published in monthly issues between August 1, 1796, and July 1, 1797] - get paper here
  • Shortt 1861. Letter respecting an Indian snake [Daboia elegans]. Proc. Zool. Soc. London 1861: 265-266 - get paper here
  • Shortt 1863. ... A short account of the viper Daboia elegans (Vipera Russellii)... Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. (3) 11: 384-385 - get paper here
  • Smith, M.A. 1917. Descriptions of new reptiles and a new batrachian from Siam. J. Nat. Hist. Soc. Siam 2: 221-225 - get paper here
  • Smith, M.A. 1943. The Fauna of British India, Ceylon and Burma, Including the Whole of the Indo-Chinese Sub-Region. Reptilia and Amphibia. 3 (Serpentes). Taylor and Francis, London. 583 pp.
  • Taylor,E.H. 1965. The serpents of Thailand and adjacent waters. Univ. Kansas Sci. Bull. 45 (9): 609-1096 - get paper here
  • Thakur, Sanjay 2011. A note on snakes of Kanha National Park and surrounding areas. Reptile Rap (11): 2-4 - get paper here
  • Thorpe, S Roger, Pook, E Catharine, Malhotra, Anita 2007. Phylogeography of the Russell's viper (Daboia russelii) complex in relation to variation in the colour pattern and symptoms of envenoming. The Herpetological Journal 17 (4): 209-218
  • Toriba, M. 1993. Present location of the type specimens described by Maki. The Snake 25: 71-72
  • Tsetan, Chime & R. Ramanibai 2011. Reptilian fauna of agricultural landscapes of Chembarambakkam Lake, Chennai, Tamil Nadu. Reptile Rap (13): 2-8 - get paper here
  • VYAS, R. & THAKUR, M.N. 2015. Ein Fall von Albinismus bei Daboia russelii (SHAW & NODDER, 1797) aus Gujarat, Indien. Sauria 37 (1): 59 - 61 - get paper here
  • Vyas, Raju 2007. Herptofauna of Puma Wildlife Sanctuary, Gujarat, India. Reptile Rap (8): 10-15 - get paper here
  • Vyas, Raju 2011. Reptilian diversity in and around the Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary, Gujarat, India. Reptile Rap (11): 5-15 - get paper here
  • Vyas, Raju 2013. Snake diversity and voluntary rescue practice in the cities of Gujarat State, India: an evaluation. Reptile Rap (15): 27-39 - get paper here
  • Vyas, Raju; B.M. Parasharya & J.J. Jani 2012. Herpetofaunal diversity in and around the selected man-made wetlands of central and northern Gujarat, India. Reptile Rap (14): 21–26 - get paper here
  • Wall, F. 1905. The Breeding of Russell's Viper (Vipera russellii). J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 16: 374-375 - get paper here
  • Wall, F. 1905. Notes on Snakes collected in Cannanore from 5th November 1903 to 5th August 1904. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 16: 292 - get paper here
  • Wall, F. 1906. The poisonous snakes of India and how to recognize them, Part II. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 17: 299-334 - get paper here
  • Wall, F. 1907. A Popular Treatise on the Common Indian Snakes. Part V. The Russell's Viper (Vipera russellii). J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 18: 1-18 - get paper here
  • Wallach, Van; Kenneth L. Williams , Jeff Boundy 2014. Snakes of the World: A Catalogue of Living and Extinct Species. [type catalogue] Taylor and Francis, CRC Press, 1237 pp.
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  • Winchell, S. 2003. The wide world of snakes in China. Reptilia (GB) (31): 12-21 - get paper here
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  • Wirth, M. 2011. TERRARIENSCHAUANLAGEN Das Paradies der Ungeliebten – der Reptilienzoo Scheidegg. Reptilia (Münster) 16 (88): 80 - get paper here
  • Wüster, Wolfgang 1998. The genus Daboia (Serpentes: Viperidae): Russell's Viper. Hamadryad 23 (1): 33-40
  • Wuster, Wolfgang, Satoko Otsuka, Anita Malhotra, and Roger S. Thorpe 1992. Population Systematics of Russell's Viper: A Multivariate Study. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 47 (1):97-113 - get paper here
  • Wuster, Wolfgang; Otsuka, Satoko; Thorpe, Roger S.; Malhotra, Anita 1992. Morphological Variation in Russell's Viper in Burma and Thailand. The Herpetological Journal 2 (3):99-101
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