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Vipera altaica TUNIYEV, NILSON & ANDRÉN, 2010

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Higher TaxaViperidae, Viperinae, Serpentes (snakes) 
Subspecies 
Common Names 
SynonymVipera altaica TUNIYEV, NILSON & ANDRÉN 2010 
DistributionE Kazakhstan (Altay and Saur Mountains)

Type locality: Altay, eastern Kazakhstan. 4 km N. Village Chernyaevka, at river Kalgyr (Kalgir), E. Kazakhstan (48°41'59" N, 85°2'24.6" E), 218 - 327 m elevation. Map legend:
TDWG region - Region according to the TDWG standard, not a precise distribution map.

NOTE: TDWG regions are generated automatically from the text in the distribution field and not in every cases it works well. We are working on it.
 
TypesHolotype. Adult female GNM [Göteborg Natural History Museum] Re.ex. 6639. Leg. Göran Nilson 1997-06-01. 
CommentHybridization: This species is a hybrid of V. berus and V. renardi (U. Joger, pers. comm., 7 Jan 2013).

Diagnosis. A species within the ursinii complex that differs from all other taxa in the complex by the combination of characteristics. It has a small to medium size; non-bilineate ground color; white belly; small lateral blotches and spots present; dark sutures on labials in males; dorsal zigzag band with pointed comers of windings, or with transverse bars; high number of dorsal windings; upper nasal split absent; a squarish rostral; variable loreal number; many circumoculars; upper preocular in contact with nasal; medium number of crown scales; parietals fragmented or not; nine supralabials on each side; posterior supralabials of the same size as anterior ones; fourth supralabial below orbit; ten sublabials on each side; normally four mental scales; somewhat early dorsal scale row reduction compared to renardi; 21 rows on neck and at midbody; a high ventral number; no pronounced exposed intersquamose area; a high number of subcaudals and being a foothill valleys steppe inhabitant. A low mountain species of the ursinii complex characterized by an external morphology normally evolved as typical for mountain taxa of the ursinii complex; similar to European mountain populations (ursin ii, macrops) in some characters and to renardi and Asian mountain populations (eriwanensis) in others but unique to both in combination of characters. It is special in being the smallest taxon, and having the highest number of ventrals within the entire complex; in being a lowland dweller with a color and scalation characteristics typical for mountain taxa, and in having a sharp sexual dimorphism in labial pattern and loreal number. It differs from parapatric renardi by having an earlier dorsal scale row reduction (19 - 21, mean at 90th ventral number) (21 in renardi, with mean scale reduction at 95th ventral number) and a high number of ventrals, which are whitish in color. It differs from European mountain ursinii by having a high number of supralabials. It is separated from most taxa by having partly fragmented parietals (replaced by a mean number of eight scales), banded black suture on supralabials weakly developed or absent, lateral body pattern reduced to squarish rhombic spots that are tilted, dorsal scales are pronouncedly keeled. No interparietalia.

Reproduction: viviparous 
References
  • Dujsebayeva, T. N. (ed.) 2010. Short review of last changes in the checklist of amphibians and reptiles of Kazakhstan. In: Dujsebayeva, T. N. (ed.) Herpetological Researches in Kazakhstan and adjacent countries [in Russian]. Almaty: ACBK - KBCU, 260 pp. (p. 37-52; [ISBN 978-601-278-294-3]
  • Phelps, T. 2010. Old World Vipers. Edition Chimaira, Frankfurt, 558 pp. [critical review in Sauria 33 (3): 19 and HR 43: 503]
  • Tuniyev, B.; Nilson, G. & Andrén, C. 2010. A new species of viper (Reptilia, Viperidae) from the Altay and Saur Mountains, Kazakhstan. Russian Journal of Herpetology 17 (2): 110-120 - get paper here
 
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