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Gloydius halys (PALLAS, 1776)

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Higher TaxaViperidae, Crotalinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
SubspeciesGloydius halys boehmei NILSON 1983
Gloydius halys halys (PALLAS 1776)
Gloydius halys mogoi (BOUR 1993)
Gloydius halys ubsunurensis KROPACHEV & ORLOV 2017 
Common NamesE: Halys Pit Viper (halys: Siberian, boehmei: Böhme’s pitviper)
G: Halys-Otter
Russian: Обыкновенный щитомордник
Chinese: 西伯利亚蝮 
SynonymColuber halys PALLAS 1776: 14 (Anhang)
Trigonocephalus Halys — BOIE 1827
Halys halys — GRAY 1849
Trigonocephalus Halys — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1854: 1495
Trigonocephalus halys — STRAUCH 1868: 294
Ancistrodon halys — BOULENGER 1913
Agkistrodon halys — POPE 1935
Ancistrodon halys — SMITH 1943: 499
Agkistrodon halys — HARDING & WELCH 1980
Gloydius halys — HOGE & ROMANO-HOGE 1981
Agkistrodon halys halys — ORLOV & BARABANOV 1999
Gloydius halys — MCDIARMID, CAMPBELL & TOURÉ 1999: 303
Gloydius halys — WALLACH et al. 2014: 310

Gloydius halys boehmei NILSON 1983
Gloydius halys boehmei — GUMPRECHT et al. 2004
Gloydius halys boehmei — DAVID & VOGEL 2015
Gloydius halys boehmei — WAGNER et al. 2015

Gloydius halys halys (PALLAS1776)
Coluber halys PALLAS 1776
Agkistrodon halys halys — HARDING & WELCH 1980
Agkistrodon halys halys — WELCH 1994: 11
Gloydius halys halys — GUMPRECHT et al. 2004
Gloydius halys halys — DAVID & VOGEL 2015
Gloydius halys halys — WAGNER et al. 2015

Gloydius halys mogoi BOUR 1993
Gloydius halys mogoi BOUR 1993: 395
Gloydius halys mogoi — DAVID & VOGEL 2015

Gloydius halys ubsunurensis KROPACHEV & ORLOV 2017
Gloydius halys ubsunurensis KROPACHEV & ORLOV 2017
Ancistrodon intermedius – NIKOLSKY 1905: 326.
Ancistrodon halys intermedius (Str.) – NIKOLSKY 1916: 276.
Ancistrodon halys halys – TERENTJEV & CHERNOV 1949: 278
Ancistrodon halys – CAREVSKIJ 1930: 215
Ancistrodon halis – BANNIKOV 1958: 87
Agkistrodon halys – ORLOVA & TERBISH 1986: 105
Agkistrodon halys halys – OBST 1963: 368.
Agkistrodon intermedius intermedius – GLOYD & CONANT 1990: 341
Agkistrodon halys mogoi – BOUR 1993: 335.
Agkistrodon intermedius Strauch, 1868 – ANANJEVA et al. 1998: 531 
DistributionChina, N Iran, S/SW Russia, Kazakhstan (between Volga and Ural River), Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, E Afghanistan, Mongolia, Turkmenistan

halys: N China, S Siberia, Mongolia; “salt lake near the Lugaskoi sawod [factory] on the upper yenisey” (Siberia, Russia), according to Gloyd & Conant (1990). Redefined as “naryn or ryn peski (desert), near the russia-Kazakhstan border” by Bour (1993). Type locality: Lower Volga River, Russia; "Salt Lake near the Lugaskoi Sawod [factory] on the Upper Yenisey” [Siberia, Russia], according to Gloyd and Conant, 1990:319. Redefined as Naryn or Ryn Peski desert, near the Russia-Kazakhstan border by Bour (1993: 335). Terra typica restricta. Lugaskoi Zavod (Strauch, 1873). Small salt lakes near Lugaskoi Zavod, Upper Yenisey River (= “Lugaskoi Zawod, oberes Jenissei Gebiet”) [ORLOV & BARABANOV 1999]

boehmei: E Afghanistan; Type locality: Andarab valley, province of Baghlan, 2500 m elevation, east Afghanistan.

paramonovi (invalid): Uzbekistan; Type locality: “in montibus Tschimganensis altitudine 1500- 2500 m probe urbem Taschkent in Turkestano” (= mountains near Tashkent, Uzbekistan).

ubsunurensis: W/S Mongolia / Tuva Republic, Russia. Type locality: Hoolu river, [Tes-Khemsky District], Tuva Republic, Russia.  
TypesNeotype: ZISP 14784. Borgaiskaya steep, 84 km W from Kyakhta town, Burin-Khan mountain. Leg.: P. S. Mikhno, July 20, 1930 (designated by Orlov and Barabanov 2000).
Holotype: ZFMK 8648 [boehmei]
Holotype. ZMMU 6153.1, adult female; coll.: E.E. Syroechkovsky, 07.1959 (Fig. 2, 3) [ubsunurensis]
Holotype: MNHN-RA 1933.0310 [mogoi] 
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.

Distribution: see maps in ORLOV & BARABANOV 1999. For a map see Sindaco et al. 2013. Shi et al. 2021 have localities of most gloydius in their Fig. 6.

Subspecies: Agkistrodon halys ussuriensis and other subspecies have been elevated to full species status. G. h. liupanensis has been elevated to full species status by Xu et al. 2012. Gloydius halys caucasicus (NIKOLSKY 1916) has been elevated to full species status by Asadi et al. 2019. While ASADI et al. provide a phylogenetic analysis of the species complex, they do not comment on or mention the status of boehmei, mogoi, or ubsunurensis.

Synonymy: The status of Trigonocephalus affinis GRAY 1849 remains unclear. MCDIARMID et al. 1999 list it as synonym of G. blomhoffi, which is followed by Orlov et al. 2014. GUMPRECHT et al. (2004) do not recognize the subspecies liupanensis, mogoi, and affinis. Zhao 2006 listed Gloydius halys cognatus, liupanensis, qinlingensis, and stejnegeri as synonyms of either G. strauchi or G. intermedius.

Type species: Trigonocephalus Halys (BOIE 1827) is the type species of the genus Gloydius HOGE & ROMANO-HOGE 1981, a replacement name for Halys GRAY 1849, which is pre-occupied by Halys FABRICIUS 1803 (Hemiptera). See also MCDIARMID et al. 1999 for further discussion.

Type specimens: Not located (fide MCDIARMID et al. 1999).

Activity Pattern. Diurnal and night.

NCBI taxon ID: 8719 [halys]

Comparisons: for a table of morphological characters across Gloydius see Shi et al. 2021. 
EtymologyPallas does not explain the origin of the species name; Halys was the name of a river in Turkey but the species does not occur there, hence the origin remains uncertain.

The 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 located in the south of Tuva (Russia) and north-western Mongolia. 
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