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|
Montivipera razii — KAMALI 2020: 13
Macrovipera razii — KAMALI 2020: 443
|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
|Reproduction||oviparous (not imputed, fide Zimin et al. 2022)|
|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. (Oraie et al. 2018)|
Description of holotype (Figs 5–7): A viper with a robust and massive body. Snout–vent length (SVL) 1110 mm, and tail length (TaL) 160 mm. Length of head from tip of rostral to end of lower jaw 46.92 mm, and width of head at widest point 34.76 mm. The head is broad and triangular with a bluntly rounded snout, well distinct from neck, covered with small, imbricate and strongly keeled scales. Dorsal side of head with 55 small, imbricate and strongly keeled scales (canthal + intersupraocular scales), and 10 small scales between supraoculars (intrasupraoculars). Eye bordered by a complete circumocular ring of 15 scales including one large supraocular. This circle is bordered by 21–22 scales in an outer ring. Loreals 15, of which 5 are in contact with the nasal scale. One nasorostral scale, partly fused with nasal. Two canthal scales (supranasals) above nasal, one apical scale above rostral. Twelve supralabials on each side (4th largerst, its length greater than width), and 13 infralabials more or less equal in size. Anterior chin-shields more than three times longer than the posterior ones, 3–4 infralabials in contact with anteriormost chin-shield. 175 ventral scales, which are followed by 47 divided subcaudal scales. Anal scute entire. 24 rows of dorsal scales, strongly keeled, around anterior dorsum (one head length behind head), 25 rows at mid-body, and 17 rows around posterior body (one head length before anal scute). Dorsum shiny black throughout, belly dark, anterior part of ventral face with irregular light blotches. (Oraie et al. 2018)
Paratype (Fig. 8): Body shape and coloration are very similar to that of the holotype. One large supraocular scale; 2/2 canthal scales; 10 interocular scales in a line between the eyes; 1 apical scale; 15 inner circumocular scales on each side, including suparaocular; 19/19 outer circumoculars on each side; 10/11 (l/r) supralabials; 12/13 (l/r) infralabials; dorsal scale rows 24/25/19; 172 ventrals: anal scute entire; 47 pairs of subcaudals. Snout–vent length 1110 mm, tail 180 mm. Length of head 50.84 mm and width of head at widest point 34.73 mm. (Oraie et al. 2018)
Chromatic variation: There is considerable geographic variation in the colour pattern of Macrovipera razii sp. n. Despite their very close genetic relationship (Fig. 2) and weak within-group genetic divergence (0.7%), individuals from Fars Province, southern Iran, (ERP 1981, ERP 1518, ERP 1531) differ significantly in their colour pattern from the holotype and paratype (Fig. 9). Rather than having an entirely black colour, their dorsum is brownish grey with narrow crossbars, and the ventral side is a little lighter than the dorsum with small black dots. Geographic variation in colour pattern could be strongly related to landscape features and altitude, as is suggested by the holotype and paratype with their black colour occurring in high-altitude habitats with black rocks. (Oraie et al. 2018)
|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.|
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