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Montivipera xanthina (GRAY, 1849)

IUCN Red List - Montivipera xanthina - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaViperidae, Viperinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
SubspeciesMontivipera xanthina xanthina (GRAY 1849)
Montivipera xanthina nilsoni CATTANEO 2014
Montivipera xanthina dianae CATTANEO 2014
Montivipera xanthina occidentalis CATTANEO 2017
Montivipera xanthina varoli AFSAR, YAKIN, ÇİÇEK & AYAZ 2019 
Common NamesE: Coastal Viper, Ottoman Viper
G: (Kleinasiatische oder Türkische) Bergotter 
SynonymDaboia xanthina GRAY 1849: 24
Vipera xanthina — STRAUCH 1868: 291
Daboia xanthina — ENGELMANN et al. 1993
Vipera xanthina — WELCH 1994: 123
Vipera (Montivipera) xanthina — NILSON et al. 1999: 101
Vipera xanthina — MCDIARMID, CAMPBELL & TOURÉ 1999: 412
Montivipera xanthina — NILSON et al. 1999
Montivipera xanthina — GARRIGUES et al. 2005
Montivipera xanthina — STÜMPEL & TRAPP 2006
Vipera (Montivipera) xanthina — VENCHI & SINDACO 2006
Montivipera xanthina — TRAPP 2007
Daboia xanthina — GAULKE 2008
Montivipera xanthina — ARIKAN et al. 2008
Montivipera xanthina — WALLACH et al. 2014: 459

Montivipera xanthina nilsoni CATTANEO 2014
Montivipera xanthina nilsoni — AFSAR, YAKIN, ÇİÇEK & AYAZ 2019

Montivipera xanthina dianae CATTANEO 2014
Montivipera xanthina dianae — AFSAR, YAKIN, ÇİÇEK & AYAZ 2019

Montivipera xanthina occidentalis CATTANEO 2017
Montivipera xanthina occidentalis — AFSAR, YAKIN, ÇİÇEK & AYAZ 2019

Montivipera xanthina varoli AFSAR, YAKIN, ÇİÇEK & AYAZ 2019 
DistributionW Turkey,
Greece (NE Makri, Lesbos, Chios, Samos, Patmos, Lipsi, Leros, Kalymnos, Symi, Chalki),
Elevation up to 3000 m.

dianae: Greece (Island of Leros)

nilsoni: Greece (Island of Leros)

occidentalis: Greece (Rhodopes); Type locality: “Tracia greca centrale, Regione dei Rodopi, località Proskinites, 121 m s.l.m.”

varoli: S Turkey (Antalya); Type locality: Mühür Dağ on western of Geyik Mountains, Gündoğmuş, Antalya, Turkey 1601 m. a.s.l.

Type locality: Xanthus, SW Turkey  
Reproduction(ovo-) viparous. Experimental hybridizations between M. wagneri and M. xanthina result in fertile offspring (Stümpel et al. 2016). 
TypesLectotype: BMNH 1946.1.18.11 (formerly BMNH ii.1.3a, Xanthos), designated by Nilson and Andren, 1986: 63. Paralectotype: BMNH 1946.1.20.93 (Asia Minor).
Holotype: MCZR (originally as MCZRVR/02359, Museo Civico di Zoologia, Roma), adult male, ; isola greca di Leros, località Ag. Petros, c. 110 m s.l.m. (Dodecaneso); A. Cattaneo leg., 22/05/2007 (trovato morto) [dianae]
Holotype: MCZR (originally as MCZRVR 02358, Museo Civico di Zoologia, Roma), adult male; isola greca di Chios, località Dafnonas, c. 220 m s.l.m. (Mar Egeo orientale), A. Vesci leg., 11/05/2001 (trovato morto) [nilsoni]
Holotype: ZFMK 101040 (paper says that types will be transferred to ZFMK; paper cites private collection: MX/TR20/5 C.C. = Collezione Erpetologica Augusto Cattaneo, Roma); adult male, A. Cattaneo legit (trovato morto), 06/05/2015. Farà parte della Collezione Erpetologica del Museo Alexander Koenig (Bonn) [occidentalis] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (nilsoni): M. x. nilsoni is distinct from the typical form as it is far larger in size that the standard type (males up to 140 cm in total length and weighing almost 1300 g, respectively, up to 95 cm and 380 g on the continent); for the tendency to have three rows of unilateral or bilateral circumocular scales (instead of two); for the larger number of rows of anterior dorsal scales (average about 24 instead of 23); for the more extensive development of the dorsal pattern and absence or poor definition of the ventral semilunar spots in the adult. 

Subspecies: Vipera bornmuelleri has been considered as a subspecies of V. xanthina but is now considered as a valid species. M. xanthina appears to constitute a cryptic species complex with three or four new taxa (Stümpel et al. 2016).

Synonymy: The new subspecies (nilsoni, dianae, and occidentalis) may be synonyms of M. xanthina (Wolfgang Wüster, pers. comm., 21 Oct 2017). In fact, the descriptions do not include any phylogenetic or molecular data and there is broad overlap of meristic characters across the subspecies (Table 4 in Cattaneo 2017).

Type species: Daboia xanthina GRAY 1849: 24 is the type species of the genus Montivipera NILSON et al. 1999.

Phylogenetics: for a recent phylogeny of this and related Viperinae see Šmíd & Tolley 2019.

Distribution: for a map with localities in Turkey see Mebert et al. 2020: 172 (Fig. 2) and 180 (Fig. 11). For a map see Sindaco et al. 2013. Not in the Middle East (Syria) fide IUCN assessment. 
EtymologyMontivipera xanthina nilsoni has been named after Prof. Dr. Göran Nilson (Göteborg).
M. x. dianae has been named after the Greek goddess Diana; a sanctuary dedicated to her was found near its type locality on the island of Leros.
M. x. occidentalis was named after its type locality, which is in the westernmost territory inhabited by this subspecies.
M. x. varoli was named in honor of Prof. Dr. Cemal Varol TOK who made valuable contributions to Turkish Herpetofauna and also the word “var’ol” is a verb that means “to exist, to stay alive, to be in existence”. 
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