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Vipera aspis (LINNAEUS, 1758)

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Higher TaxaViperidae, Viperinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
SubspeciesVipera aspis aspis (LINNAEUS 1758)
Vipera aspis atra MEISNER 1820
Vipera aspis francisciredi LAURENTI 1768
Vipera aspis hugyi SCHINZ 1833
Vipera aspis zinnikeri KRAMER 1958 
Common NamesE: Asp Viper
G: Aspisviper
Italian: vipera comune 
SynonymColuber Aspis LINNAEUS 1758: 218
Vipera Francisci Redi LAURENTI 1768
Coluber Charasii SHAW 1802: 379 (fide BRUNO 1985)
C[hersea]. vulgaris — FLEMING 1822: 295
Aspis ocellata — FITZINGER 1826: 62
[Pelias] Col[uber]. aspis — F. BOIE 1827: 558
Berus Vulgaris — GRAY 1831: 82
Vipera aspis var. rufa BONAPARTE 1834: plate 3d fig 1
Vipera aspis var. fusca BONAPARTE 1834: plate 3d fig 2
Vipera aspis var. nigra BONAPARTE 1834: plate 4
Vipera aspis var. rubriventris BONAPARTE 1834: plate 4 fig 3
Vipera aspis var. ocellata — BONAPARTE 1834: plate 4
Vipera aspis — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1854: 1406
Mesovipera charasii — REUSS 1933
Vipera aspis — ENGELMANN et al 1993
Vipera aspis — MCDIARMID, CAMPBELL & TOURÉ 1999: 392
Vipera (Vipera) aspis — VENCHI & SINDACO 2006
Vipera aspis — KWET & TRAPP 2015
Vipera aspis — WALLACH et al. 2014: 787

Vipera aspis aspis (LINNAEUS 1758)
Coluber aspis LINNAEUS 1758
Vipera aspis aspis — HARDING & WELCH 1980
Vipera (Rhinaspis) aspis aspis — OBST 1983
Vipera aspis aspis — ENGELMANN et al 1993
Vipera aspis aspis — WELCH 1994: 119
Vipera aspis aspis — SINDACO & RAZZETTI 2021

Vipera aspis atra MEISNER 1820
Vipera atra MEISNER 1820: 93
Vipera aspis atra — HARDING & WELCH 1980
Vipera (Rhinaspis) aspis atra — OBST 1983
Vipera aspis atra — ENGELMANN et al 1993
Vipera aspis atra — WELCH 1994: 119
Vipera atra — ZUFFI 2002

Vipera aspis francisredi LAURENTI 1768
Vipera Francisci Redi LAURENTI 1768
[Coluber] Redi GMELIN 1788: 1091 [Replacement name]
Vipera Redi — SONNINI & LATREILLE 1801: 304
Vipera aspis francisredi — HARDING & WELCH 1980
Vipera (Rhinaspis) aspis francisredi — OBST 1983
Vipera aspis francisredi — ENGELMANN et al 1993
Vipera aspis francisredi — WELCH 1994: 121
Vipera aspis francisciredi — SCHMIDT & KUNZ 2005: 7
Vipera aspis francisciredi — KOLODZIEJ 2019
Vipera aspis francisciredi — SINDACO & RAZZETTI 2021

Vipera aspis hugyi (SCHINZ 1833: 179)
Vipera Hugyi SCHINZ 1833: 179
Vipera aspis hugyi — HARDING & WELCH 1980
Vipera (Rhinaspis) aspis hugyi — OBST 1983
Vipera aspis montecristi MERTENS 1956 (fide GOLAY 1993: 282)
Vipera aspis hugyi — ENGELMANN et al 1993
Vipera aspis hugyi — WELCH 1994: 121
Vipera hugyi — ZUFFI 2002
Vipera aspis hugyi — SCHWEIGER 2009
Vipera aspis hugyi — HALLMEN 2015
Vipera aspis hugyi — SINDACO & RAZZETTI 2021

Vipera aspis montecristi MERTENS 1956
Vipera aspis montecristi MERTENS 1956: 222
Vipera aspis montecristi — HARDING & WELCH 1980
Vipera (Rhinaspis) aspis montecristi — OBST 1983
Vipera aspis montecristi — WELCH 1994: 121

Vipera aspis zinnikeri KRAMER 1958
Vipera aspis zinnikeri KRAMER 1958
Vipera aspis zinnikeri — HARDING & WELCH 1980
Vipera (Rhinaspis) aspis zinnikeri — OBST 1983
Vipera aspis zinnikeri — ENGELMANN et al 1993
Vipera aspis zinnikeri — WELCH 1994: 121
Vipera zinnikeri — ZUFFI 2002
Vipera aspis zinnikeri — SCHWEIGER 2009 
DistributionNE Spain, France, Switzerland, Germany, Italy,
NW Yugoslavia: Slovenia

aspis: France, NW Switzerland, SW Germany, Italy

atra: W Switzerland, NW Italy, SE France; Type locality: Kandersteg [Kanton Bern, Switzerland], according to Schwarz

francisciredi: S Switzerland, N/C Italy, Slovenia, NW Croatia; Type locality: "Austriaco & Italico" [Austria and Italy].

hugyi: S Italy (Apulia, Puglia, Basilicata, Calabria, Sicily); Type locality: "Sizilien."

montecristi: Italy (Montecristo Island)

zinnikeri: NE Spain, SW France (Pyrenees); Type locality: “Auch, Dép. Gers, Südwestfrankreich”.

Type locality: “Gallia”  
ReproductionViviparous. V. a. ammodytes hybridized with V. aspis atra in captivity (FAORO 1986), with V. aspis zinnikeri (OBERMAYER 1967), and with V. aspis aspis (SCHWEIZER 1941). Vipera berus hybridizes with V. aspis in France (Guiller et al. 2017, Althoetmar 2017). 
TypesType: Unlocated fide McDiarmid 1999
Type: Unlocated fide McDiarmid 1999 [atra]
Type: Unlocated fide McDiarmid 1999 [francisciredi]
Type: Unlocated fide McDiarmid 1999 [hugyi]
Holotype: NMBA 1547 1 (Originally No. 201, Museum Winterthur), according to Kramer 1978: 664 [zinnikeri] 

Synonymy: partly after McDIARMID et al. 1999. Vipera aspis balcanica BURESCH & ZONKOV 1934 is a synonym of V. ammodytes.

Variation: this species is highly variable, at least in some areas (Mebert et al. 2011).

Subspecies: Note that ZUFFI (2002) elevated some subspecies to species status. Molecular methods grouped individuals of the three morphological subspecies (V. a. aspis, V. a. francisciredi, V. a. hugyi) into five different haploclades (BARBANERA et al. 2009). V. a. atra is not listed by Sindaco & Razzetti 2021 for Italy.

Distribution: May occur in Austria but there are not reliable records for this country. For a map see Sindaco et al. 2013.

Type species: Vipera Francisci Redi LAURENTI 1768 is the type species of the genus Vipera LAURENTI 1768. Note that Mertens & Müller (1928: 51) had previously designated Vipera illyrica LAURENTI 1768 as nucleospecies (= type species) of Vipera Laurenti, 1768. DUBOIS & BOUR (2010) suggested to transfer authority of Vipera to GARSAULT 1764 with Coluber aspis Linnaeus, 1758 as its nucleospecies.

Phylogenetics: for a recent phylogeny of this and related Viperinae see Šmíd & Tolley 2019. 
EtymologyNamed after Greek “aspis” = scale or shield, also snake, latinized also “aspis” (colubrid).

Vipera aspis zinnikeri was named after a friend of the author, Mr. W. Zinniker, who donated the types (Museum Wintherthur).

V. a. francisciredi was named after Italian physician, naturalist, biologist, and poet Francesco Redi (1626–1697) (Murphy 2019, Dost 2023). 
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