Macrovipera razii ORAIE, RASTEGAR-POUYANI, KHOSRAVANI, MORADI, AKBARI, SEHHATISABET, SHAFIEI, STÜMPEL & JOGER, 2018
Can you confirm these amateur observations of Macrovipera razii?
|Higher Taxa||Viperidae, Viperinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)|
|Common Names||E: Razi’s Viper|
|Synonym||Macrovipera razii ORAIE, RASTEGAR-POUYANI, KHOSROVANI, MORADI, AKBARI, SEHHATISABET, SHAFIEI, STÜMPEL & JOGER 2018|
|Distribution||Iran (Kerman, central Zagros)|
Type locality: 105 km on the road from Jiroft to Bam near Bab-Gorgi village and Valley, Kerman Province, 29°05’054’’ N, 57°34’120’’ E; elevation 3150 m
|Types||Holotype: SUHC 143, male, collected 3–4 June 2004 by Eskandar Rastegar Pouyani. Paratype: SUHC 1941, female, Iran, Kerman Province, Pariz, 50 km north of Sirjan, collected by Naeim Moradi, 25 April 2010|
|Diagnosis||Diagnosis: The newly described species differs from M. schweizeri by its higher number of mid-dorsal scales (25 vs. 23), which however overlaps the counts in other M. lebetina subspecies. Macrovipera razii sp. n. differs from M. lebetina by possessing a higher count of ventrals (172–175 vs. 160–170), and by having elongated anterior chin-shields, which are more than three times longer than the posterior ones. In contrast, M. lebetina has square anterior chin-shields, which are less than twice as long as the posterior chin-shields (Fig. 6). Compared to M. lebetina, the new species has a lower number of canthal + intersupraocular scales. More comparisons are provided in Table 4. Interestingly, Macrovipera razii sp. n. and M. lebetina cernovi are similar in both possessing one large supraocular scale, which is absent in M. lebetina obtusa (Fig. 5). Outside Iran, the subspecies M. lebetina euphratica (Schmidt, 1939) differs by having supraoculars that are split up into five scales, making it clearly distinguishable from Macrovipera razii sp. n., which has one large supraocular scale. The latter can be distinguished from Macrovipera lebetina lebetina (Linnaeus, 1758) and Macrovipera lebetina transmediterranea (Nilson & Andrén 1988) by the higher number of ventrals (172– 175 vs. 146–163 and 150–164, respectively), from Macrovipera lebetina turanica (Chernov, 1940) by the latter’s semidivided supraoculars and a dorsal colour pattern that consists of a dark ground colour with a lighter, orange zigzag pattern.|
|Comment||Habitat and ecology: habitats at altitudes above 3000 m at the type locality in Kerman Province and at about 1500 m near Lake Bakhtegan (ERP 1518) in Fars Province. The type locality is located in an area with relatively dense vegetation, including Orchis, Zygophyllum and Astragalus spp., and lots of stones at the bases of the surrounding hills. This region has a rather cold mountain climate with long and cold winters that will see patches of snow persisting on the slopes until late May (Fig. 10A). In contrast to the type locality, Macrovipera razii sp. n. was found in a much warmer and dryer habitat near Lake Bakhtegan (Fig. 10C), with a semi-desert climate and scattered shrubs due to overgrazing and a lasting drought. Harsh mountain habitats are another type of habitat which is occupied by Macrovipera razii sp. n.|
Sympatry and syntopy: Eremias lalezharica, Paralaudakia microlepis, Ablepharus pannonicus, Laudakia nupta, Psammophis schokari, and Hemorrhois ravergieri, Echis carinatus.
Diet: birds such as Ammoperdix grisegularis.
|Etymology||The specific epithet is a noun in the genitive case, in honour of Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Zakariyya al-Razi (854–925 CE), a Persian polymath, physician, alchemist, philosopher, and important figure in the history of medicine. Macrovipera is one of the most medically important snakes in Iran, and historically, physicians like him have been involved in snake bite therapy.|