Vipera graeca (NILSON & ANDRÉN, 1988)
Can you confirm these amateur observations of Vipera graeca?
|Higher Taxa||Viperidae, Viperinae, Colubroidea, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)|
|Common Names||E: Greek Meadow Viper|
G: Griechische Wiesenotter
|Synonym||Vipera ursinii graeca NILSON & ANDRÉN 1988|
Vipera macrops graeca — WELCH 1994: 123
Vipera ursinii graeca — SCHWEIGER 2009
Vipera ursinii graeca — KUCHARZEWSKI 2011
Vipera graeca — FERCHAUD et al. 2012
Vipera graeca — MIZSEI et al. 2017
Type locality: Peristeri, Lakmos Mountains in the central Pindos mountain range, 1900 m altitude, Greece.
|Types||Holotype: GNM 4942 (Göteborg Natural History Museum). Leg. Nilson & Andrén 1988.|
Paratypes. GNM Re. ex. 6823 (six newborn), GNM Re. ex. 6849 (ZIG 146), GNM Re. ex. 6850 (ZIG 147), GNM Re. ex. 6851 (ZIG 142) + GNM ZIG 145. Leg. Nilson & Andrén 1988.
|Diagnosis||Diagnosis. This taxon differs from all other members of V. ursinii–renardi complex by having the following combination of morphological characters (Nilson & Andrén 1988; Nilson & Andrén 2001; Mizsei et al. 2016): small body size (for males a snout to vent length (SVL) max. 40.6 cm, and tail length is 5.4 cm, and for females a SVL max. 44.3 cm, and tail length is 4.1 cm); non-bilineate body ground colour pattern; white or bright brownish-grey ventral colour; no dark spots on labial, lateral and dorsal sides of head except occipital and postorbital stripes; dorsal zigzag pattern tagged with pointed corners at windings, or consisting of a narrow vertebral line only; 45–58 dorsal windings; nasal divided into two plates or united with nasorostralia; rostral as high as broad; 2–8 loreals; 13–20 circumoculars; upper preocular not separated from nasal; 7–20 crown scales; more fragmented parietals; 12–15 supralabials (sum of right and left sides); first three supralabials two times larger than the following ones; third supralabial below orbit; 14–19 sublabials (sum of right and left sides); 3–5 mental scales; early dorsal scale row reduction; 120–129 ventrals for males, 119–133 ventrals for females; lowest number of subcaudals in the complex: 21–29 subcaudals for males, 13–26 subcaudals for females (Mizsei et al. 2017: 84)|
Distribution: see map in Mizsei et al. 2017: 78 (Fig. 1)
Habitat. A mosaic of open or closed grass and shrub communities formed on limestone characterizes the main habitats of the taxon. Annual mean temperatures are about ~6°C, and the meadows are partially covered by snow until early summer (May-June. South-facing slopes are usually more open and rocky than north-facing slopes. Different species of Festuca, Poa and Sesleria dominate the open grasslands, and characteristic shrubs are Juniperus sabina, Daphne oleoides and Astragalus creticus. Most of the observed vipers were found close to shrubs or stone piles in south-facing habitat patches (Mizsei et al. 2017).
Diet: The diet of the species consists mainly of Orthoptera (97%) species, of which Stenobothrus rubicundulus, Platycleis sp., Decticus verrucivorus is the most frequent prey (Mizsei et al. in prep.). The abundance of Orthopterans is high from June to September (Lemonnier-Darcemont et al. 2015, Mizsei et al. 2017).
Predation: Known predators of the species are Vulpes vulpes, Falco tinnunculus and Circaetus gallicus (Mizsei et al. 2017).
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