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Gloydius caucasicus (NIKOLSKY, 1916)

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Higher TaxaViperidae, Crotalinae, Colubroidea, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes) 
Subspecies 
Common NamesE: Caucasian pitviper
G: Kaukasus-Otter 
SynonymAncistrodon halys caucasicus NIKOLSKY 1916
Ancistrodon halys persicus RENDAHL 1933: 12
Ancistrodon halys caucasicus — RENDAHL 1933: 11
Agkistrodon halys caucasicus — HARDING & WELCH 1980
Agkistrodon intermedius caucasicus — GLOYD & CONANT 1982
Gloydius halys caucasicus — GUMPRECHT et al. 2004
Gloydius halys caucasicus — DAVID & VOGEL 2015
Gloydius halys caucasicus — WAGNER et al. 2016
Gloydius caucasicus — ASADI et al. 2019 
DistributionS Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, N Iran, NW Afghanistan.

Type locality: Lenkoransky Uezd (now Lenkoran
District, south-eastern Azerbaijan).  
ReproductionViviparous. 
TypesNeotype: ZISP 19017.1, adult male, Azerbaijan, Lenkoran District, vicinity of the Kirovsk town. Leg.: V. E. Dmitrijev, May 15, 1978; Lectotype (designated by VEDMEDERYA et al. 2009). MNKNU 14942 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (halys). Dorsal scales in 23 rows at midbody (very seldom 21 or 25); ventrals 141 – 187, sub- caudals 29 – 56; 7 – 9 supralabials. Total length up to 750 mm [ORLOV & BARABANOV 1999].

Diagnosis (halys). A moderately stout viper up to 530 mm total length in males, to 590 mm in females according to Gloyd and Conant (1990), but up to 750 mm fide Orlov and Barabanov (1999). Snout seen in profile recurved; supralabial scales usually 7-9. Apical pits absent. Dorsal scales in 23 (very rarely in 21 or 25) rows around midbody; ventral scales between 164- 178 (147-187 fide Orlov and Barabanov, 1999); subcaudal scales paired, between 42-49 (29-56 fide Orlov and Barabanov, 1999). Body with 33- 47 dark transverse bands, each 3-5 scales wide and extending down to scale row 3 or 2; light areas between blotches relatively narrow. Light line above dark cheek stripe on 1-1.5 adjacent rows of scales [WAGNER et al. 2015].

Diagnosis (boehmei, sensu Nilson, 1983). Total length 438 mm and tail 49 mm. Snout slightly raised. Dorsal scales, except lowermost row, strongly keeled on body and tail. At midbody scale rows are 23, apical pits absent. Two pre- and two postoculars on each side. Supralabials 7, sublabials 11. Ventrals 155, subcaudals 35, anal not divided [ORLOV & BARABANOV 1999].

Diagnosis (boehmei). A small viper up to 487 mm total length. Apical pits absent. Two pre- and two postocular scales on each side. Seven supralabial scales and 11 sublabial scales. Dorsal scales in 23 rows around midbody; ventral scales 155; 35 subcaudal scales paired, cloacal plate not divided. Body with 41 dark transverse bands, each 3-4 scales wide and extending down to scale row 7 or 8 [WAGNER et al. 2015].

Diagnosis (caraganus). A relatively slender and moderately stout viper up to 735 mm total length in males (740 mm and more according to Orlov and Barabanov, 1999), to 530 mm in females. Snout seen in profile slightly recurved, supralabial scales usually 8 (71%) sometimes 7. Apical pits absent. Dorsal scales in 23 (rarely 21) rows around midbody; ventral scales between 149-167 (141-183 fide Orlov and Barabanov, 1999); subcaudal scales paired, between 33-47 (16-51 fide Orlov and Barabanov, 1999). General coloration is pale. Body with 36-50 dark transverse bands, not extending low on the sides and with relatively broad light areas between them [WAGNER et al. 2015].

Diagnosis (caucasicus). Total length up to 660 mm. Supra- labials 7 – 8, rarely 9; dorsal scales in 23 rows at midbody (rarely 25); ventrals 142 – 169; subcaudals 31 – 46 [ORLOV & BARABANOV 1999].

Diagnosis (caucasicus). A moderately stout viper up to 660 mm total length. Supralabial scales 7-8, rarely 9. Dorsal scales in 23 (rarely 25) rows around midbody; ventral scales between 142-169; subcaudal scales paired, between 31-46. Body with 33-42 dark transverse bands, each 4-6 scales wide and extending down to scale row 3 [WAGNER et al. 2015].

Diagnosis (cognatus). Total length up to 590 mm. Supralabials 7 – 8; dorsal scale in 23 rows at midbody, sometimes 21; ventrals 153 – 165; subcaudals 36 – 54 [ORLOV & BARABANOV 1999].

Diagnosis (cognatus). A small viper of the genus, up to 590 mm total length. Supralabial scales 7-8. Dorsal scales in 23 (rarely 21) rows around mid-body; ventral scales between 153-165; subcaudal scales paired, between 36-54. Body with 29- 43 dark transverse bands, each 4-5 scales wide and extending down to scale row 4 to 2 [WAGNER et al. 2015].

Diagnosis (stejnegeri). Supralabials 7 – 8; dorsal scales in 23 rows at midbody; ventrals 147 – 165; subcaudals 39 – 46. Total length up to 625 mm [ORLOV & BARABANOV 1999].

Diagnosis (stejnegeri). A small viper of the genus, up to 625 mm total length. Supralabial scales 7-8. Dorsal scales in 23 rows around midbody; ven- tral scales between 147-165; subcaudal scales paired, between 39-46. Body with 28-38 dark transverse bands, each 3-6 scales wide and ex- tending down to scale row 3 or 2 [WAGNER et al. 2015].

Diagnosis (ubsunurensis). Halys pit viper of “Gloydius halys” complex is diagnosed by the combination of the fol- lowing features: (1) a large number of ventral scales (V+PreV) from 171 to 188; (2) a large number of sub- caudal scales: 47–53 in males and 42–46 in females; (3) a large number of light bands around the body: 35–41; (4) a large number of light bands around the body and the tail: 47–63; (5) a light background “desert” coloration of the body dorsal surface. For detailed comparisons see KROPACHEV & ORLOV 2017: 141.
 
CommentVenomous!

Distribution: see maps in ORLOV & BARABANOV 1999, ASADI et al. 2019 (Fig. 4). 
EtymologyThe genus has been named after Howard Kay Gloyd (1902-1978), American herpetologist.

The name of G. h. ubsunurensis is derived from the name of the Ubsunur Hollow which is locat- ed in the south of Tuva (Russia) and north-western Mongolia. 
References
  • Asadi, Atefeh; Claudine Montgelard, Masoud Nazarizadeh, Akram Moghaddasi,<br />Faezeh Fatemizadeh, evgeniy simonov, Haji Gholi Kami & Mohammad Kaboli 2019. Evolutionary history and postglacial colonization of an Asian pit viper (Gloydius halys caucasicus) into transcaucasia revealed by phylogenetic and phylogeographic analyses. Scientific Reports 9:1224 - get paper here
  • David, P. & Vogel, G. 2015. An updated list of Asian pitvipers and a selection of recent publications, in: Visser: Asian Pitvipers. Breeding Experience & Wildlife. Frankfurt am Main, Edition Chimaira, 571pp. ISBN 978-3-89973-450-8 - get paper here
  • Gloyd, H. and Conant, R. 1982. Japanese J. Herpetol. 9: 75-78
  • Gumprecht, A.; Tillack, F.; Orlov, N.L.; Captain, A. & Ryabow, S. 2004. Asian pitvipers. Geitje Books, Berlin, 368 pp.
  • Harding, K.A., & Welch, K.R.G. 1980. Venomous snakes of the world; a checklist. Pergamon Press, Oxford 188 pp.
  • Nikolsky, A. M. 1916. Faune de la Russie, Reptiles Vol. 2, Ophidia. Petrograd, 396 pp. [English translation by A. Mercado, Israel and Smithsonian Institution, 247 pp.]
  • Rendahl, Hialmar 1933. Die Unterarten des Ancistrodon halys Pall. nebst elnigen Bemerkungen zur Herpetologie Zentralasiens. Arkiv för Zoologi 25 (8): 1-31
 
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