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Vipera ursinii (BONAPARTE, 1835)

IUCN Red List - Vipera ursinii - Vulnerable, VU

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Higher TaxaViperidae, Viperinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
SubspeciesVipera ursinii macrops (MÉHELY 1911)
Vipera ursinii moldavica NILSON, ANDRÉN & JOGER 1993
Vipera ursinii rakosiensis MÉHELY 1893
Vipera ursinii ursinii (BONAPARTE 1835) 
Common NamesE: Meadow Viper, Orsinis Viper
G: Wiesenotter; rakosiensis: Ungarische Wiesenotter
Croatian: planinski žutokrug
Italian: vipera di Orsini 
SynonymPelias Ursinii BONAPARTE 1835 (under Pelias chersea)
Vipera ursinii — BOULENGER 1893: 596
Acridophaga uralensis REUSS 1925
Vipera ursinii wettsteini KNÖPFLER & SOCHUREK, 1955
Vipera ursinii — ENGELMANN et al 1993
Vipera ursinii — MCDIARMID, CAMPBELL & TOURÉ 1999: 409
Vipera (Pelias) ursinii — VENCHI & SINDACO 2006
Vipera (Acridophaga) ursinii — SOS 2008
Pelias ursinii — WALLACH et al. 2014: 545

Vipera ursinii macrops MÉHELY 1911
Vipera macrops MÉHELY 1911: 203
Vipera macrops — VEITH 1991
Vipera (Pelias) ursinii forma trans. rudolphi REUSS 1924
Vipera macrops macrops — WELCH 1994: 123
Vipera ursinii macrops — SCHWEIGER 2009
Vipera ursinii macrops — TRAPP 2011
Vipera ursinii macrops — TRAPP 2014
Vipera ursinii macrops — GEBHART 2020

Vipera ursinii moldavica NILSON, ANDRÉN & JOGER 1993
Vipera ursinii moldavica — SCHWEIGER 2009
Vipera ursinii moldavica — TRAPP 2014

Vipera ursinii rakosiensis MÉHELY 1893
Vipera berus rakosiensis MÉHELY 1893: 190
Vipera ursinii rakosiensis — SCHWEIGER 2009
Vipera ursinii rakosiensis — WAGNER et al. 2015
Vipera ursinii rakosiensis — HALLMEN 2015 
DistributionSE France, E Austria, Italy, Croatia, Bosnia and Hercegovina, Monte Negro, Macedonia, Serbia, N Albania, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Moldova.

macrops: Balkan, incl. Montenegro; Type locality: Herzegowina, Konto

moldavica: Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova; Type locality: Valea lui David, Jasi, Romania.

rakosiensis: E Austria, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, S Romania, N Bulgaria; Type locality: Rákos, Budapest, Hungary (part of the city now... there is no habitat anymore, fide E. Mizsei, pers. comm., 4 Feb 2017)

ursinii: C Italy; Type locality: “... monti dell’Abruzzo prossimi alla provincia d’Ascoli...” (mountains of Abruzzi, near Ascoli province, Italy).

wettsteini: SE France; Type locality: Montagne de Lure, Basses Alps.

Type locality: Italy  
TypesLectotype: ANSP 6915
Holotype: ZSM, untraced, uncatalogued, possibly destroyed during WW II [rudolphi]
Lectotype: NMW [macrops]
Holotype: NHMG 5057 [moldavica]
Lectotype: BMNH 1894.1.22.21 fide Golay et al. 1993: 290 [rakosiensis] 

Synonymy: Vipera ursinii ebneri KNÖPFLER & SOCHUREK, 1955 is now considered a synonym of V. eriwanensis. Vipera ursinii renardi (CHRISTOPH, 1861) is now considered as a valid species. Synonymy partly after KHALIKOV & ANANJEVA (pers. comm.).

Subspecies: Golay et al. (1993) recognized 4 subspecies: V. u. ursinii, rakosiensis, eriwanensis, and renardi, of which the latter 2 have been raised to species status. Vipera ursinii anatolica EISELT & BARAN 1970 is also treated as a full species now. Vipera ursinii graeca NILSON & ANDRÉN 1988 has been elevated to full species status.

Distribution: not in Ukraine fide Viktor Gasso, pers. comm. 12 June 2011. Joger and Stümpel (2005) recently recognized V. ursinii as being restricted to Europe, ranging as isolated populations from France in the west to Moldova in the east. Records of V. ursinii from the following countries represent V. renardi: NW Iran, Armenia, Russia, Moldova, Georgia, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, eastward through Kazakhstan to Mt. Altai, south to Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, China (W Xinjiang). Not in Kazakhstan fide Dujsebayeva (2010 and pers. comm., 6 Feb 2012). See map in Mizsei et al. 2017: 78 (Fig. 1) for all subspecies and V. graeca. For a map see Sindaco et al. 2013.

Diet: grasshoppers, crickets, etc. 
EtymologyNamed after Antonio Orsini (1788-1870), an Italian pharmacist and naturalist who collected the viper holotype (1833). He made large collections of artifacts, minerals, fossils, shells, and plants, all of which are housed at the Natural History Museum, Ascoli Piceno (where he lived). 
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