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Vipera kaznakovi NIKOLSKY, 1909

IUCN Red List - Vipera kaznakovi - Endangered, EN

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Higher TaxaViperidae, Viperinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Caucasus Viper
E: Magnificent (or Relic) viper [magnifica]
G: Kaukasusotter
Russian: Кавказская гадюка, или Гадюка Казнакова
Russian: Великолепная гадюка [magnifica] 
SynonymVipera kaznakovi NIKOLSKY 1909: 174
Vipera berus var. ornata BASOGLU 1947
Vipera kaznakovi — KRAMER 1961:703 (part.)
Vipera pontica BILLING, NILSON & SATTLER 1990
Vipera pontica — ENGELMANN et al 1993
Vipera pontica — WELCH 1994: 123
Vipera kaznakovi — WELCH 1994: 121
Vipera (Pelias) kaznakovi — NILSON et al. 1999: 103
Vipera kaznakovi — MCDIARMID, CAMPBELL & TOURÉ 1999: 405
Vipera pontica — MCDIARMID, CAMPBELL & TOURÉ 1999: 407
Vipera magnified [sic] TUNIYEV & OSTROVSKIKH 2001: 123 (in error)
Vipera magnifica TUNIYEV & OSTROVSKIKH 2001
Vipera kasnakovi [sic] — GARRIGUES et al. 2005
Vipera (Pelias) kaznakovi — VENCHI & SINDACO 2006
Pelias pontica — TUNIYEV et al. 2012
Pelias magnifica — TUNIYEV et al. 2012
Pelias magnifica — WALLACH et al. 2014: 544
Pelias pontica — WALLACH et al. 2014: 544
Pelias kaznakovi — WALLACH et al. 2014: 544
Pelias kaznakovi — TUNIYEV 2016
Pelias magnifica — TUNIYEV 2016
Pelias magnifica— DUNAEV & ORLOVA 2017
Pelias kaznakovi— DUNAEV & ORLOVA 2017
Pelias magnifica — TUNIYEV et al. 2019: 149
Pelias pontica — TUNIYEV et al. 2019: 156 
DistributionS Russia, W Republic of Georgia, NE Turkey. Elevation up to 3000 m.

Type locality: Tsebel’da, Sukhumi district, Republic of Georgia

magnifica: Russia (W Caucasus), elevation 700-1200 m; Type locality: Shakh-ghireevskoye Gorge, the Malaya Laba River, Krasno-darskii region, Russia.

pontica: Turkey, Republic of Georgia; Type locality: Coruh Valley, Artvin Province, NE Turkey  
TypesLectotype: ZMT 4408, designated by Orlov and Tuniyev, 1990: 6. Syntypes (5), according to Nikolsky (1916:246) as seen in the English translation.
Holotype: SNP (given as SDCSNBR 541), adult male, (Scientific Department, Caucasian State Nature Biosphere Reserve, Sochi), June 24, 1998, coll. B. S. Tuniyev [magnifica]
Holotype: GNM (Göteborg Natural History Museum) [pontica] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (magnifica). A small viper of the Eurosiberian group. Coloration is not bright. Number of ventral shields and number of crown shields are the biggest for all representatives of "kaznakovi" complex.

Coloration: there are melanistic and brown/black variants as well as intermediates (Tuniyev et al. 2016). Sindaco 2013: 410 shows a striped variant. 

Synonymy: partly after KHALIKOV & ANANJEVA (pers. comm.); V. pontica is of doubtful validity (U. Joger in MCDIARMID et al. 1999, Freitas et al. 2020). Maybe placed in the synonymy of V. barani (fide BARAN 2001). Only two specimens known, represents a hybrid between sympatric V. kaznakovi and V. transcaucasiana (Baran et al., 2001; Mebert et al., 2015, Freitas et al. 2020). The status of kaznakovi itself is unclear and “pending” fide Freitas et al. 2020. TUNIYEV & OSTROVSKIKH 2001 actually say “Vipera magnified” and later “Vipera magnifica”. Zinenko et al. 2016 synonymized magnifica with kaznakovi.

History: Nikolsky published a preliminary description that is dated 1908 (p. 174) but it’s in volume IV of 1909. He then published a “final” description in 1910 which is more detailed (in volume V, pp. 81 ff; M. Schweiger, pers. comm., 8 June 2017).

Distribution: For a map see Sindaco et al. 2013. 
EtymologyNamed after Aleksandr N. Kaznakov, a Russian naturalist and Director of the Caucasus Museum.

V. pontica was named after the type locality in the Pontic mountain chain. 
  • Afsar, Murat and Birgül Afsar 2009. A New Locality for Vipera (Pelias) kaznakovi Nikolsky, 1909 (Reptilia, Viperidae) in the North-Eastern Anatolia. Russ. J. Herpetol. 16 (2): 155-158 - get paper here
  • Arıkan, H., Göçmen, B., Kumlutaş, Y., Alpagut-Keskin, N., Ilgaz, Ç & Yıldız, M.Z. 2008. Electrophoretic characterisation of the venom samples obtained from various Anatolian snakes (Serpentes: Colubridae, Viperidae, Elapidae). North-Western Journal of Zoology 4 (1): 16-28 - get paper here
  • Baran, I., U. Joger, B. Kutrup & O. Türkozan 2001. On new specimens of Vipera barani Böhme & Joger, 1983, from northeastern Anatolia, and implications for the validity of Vipera pontica Billing, Nilson & Sattler, 1990 (Reptilia, Viperidae). Zoology in the Middle East 23:47 - get paper here
  • Baran, I.; Tok, C.V.; Olgun, K.; Iret, F. & Avci, Z. 2005. On Viperid (Serpentes: Sauria) Specimens Collected from Northeastern Anatolia. Turkish Journal of Zoology 29: 225-228 - get paper here
  • Basoglu, M. 1947. On some varieties of Vipera berus from the extreme North-eastern Anatolia. Rev. Facult. Sci. Univ. Istanbul (B) 12: 182-190
  • Beolens, Bo; Michael Watkins, and Michael Grayson 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA - get paper here
  • Billing H; Nilson G; Sattler U 1990. Vipera pontica sp. n., a new viper species in the kaznakovi group (Reptilia, Viperidae) from northeastern Turkey and adjacent Transcaucasia. Zoologica Scripta 19 (2): 227-231 - get paper here
  • Billing, H. 1983. Polymorphismus bei Vipera berus seoanei. Herpetofauna 5 (24): 31-33 - get paper here
  • Böhme W; Joger U 1984. Eine neue Art des Vipera berus-Komplexes aus der Turkei. Amphibia-Reptilia 4 (2-4) 1983: 265-271 - get paper here
  • Chiszar, D., J. Brown, A. Chiszar & H.M. Smith 1999. Strike-induced Chemosensory Searching in the Caucasian Viper (Vipera kaznakovi) and the Ocellata Mountain Viper (Vipera wagneri) Bull. Maryland Herpetol. Soc., 35(3): 85-91. - get paper here
  • Dunaev E.A., Orlova V.F. 2017. Amphibians and reptiles of Russia. Atlas and determination. 2nd. ed. Moscow: Phyton XXI, 328 p
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  • Freitas, Inês; Sylvain Ursenbacher, Konrad Mebert, Oleksandr Zinenko, Silke Schweiger, Wolfgang Wüster, José C. Brito, Jelka Crnobrnja-Isailovic ́, Bálint Halpern, Soumia Fahd, Xavier Santos, Juan M. Pleguezuelos, Ulrich Joger, Nikolay Orlov, Edv 2020. Evaluating taxonomic inflation: towards evidence-based species delimitation in Eurasian vipers (Serpentes: Viperinae). Amphibia-Reptilia 41 (3): 285–311 - get paper here
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  • Ghielmi, S., Menegon, M., Marsden, S. J., Laddaga, L. and Ursenbacher, S. 2016. A new vertebrate for Europe: the discovery of a range-restricted relict viper in the western Italian Alps. Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research, 54: 161–173.doi: 10.1111/jzs.12138 - get paper here
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  • Joger, U.; Fritz, U.; Guicking, D.; Kalyabina-Hauf, S.; Nagy, Z.T. & Wink, M. 2007. Phylogeography of western Palaearctic reptiles – Spatial and temporal speciation patterns. Zoologischer Anzeiger 246: 293–313 - get paper here
  • Kramer, E. 1961. Variation, Sexualdimorphismus, Wachstum und Taxonomie von Vipera ursinii (Bonaparte, 1835) und Vipera kaznakovi Nikolskij, 1909. Revue Suisse de Zoologie 68 (4): 627-725 - get paper here
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  • McDiarmid, R.W.; Campbell, J.A. & Touré,T.A. 1999. Snake species of the world. Vol. 1. [type catalogue] Herpetologists’ League, 511 pp.
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  • Mebert, Konrad; Nasit Igci, Bayram Göçmen & Sylvain Ursenbacher 2014. Vipern der Nordost-Türkei: Genfluss und Umweltfaktoren zwischen den Taxa des Vipera-barani-kaznakovi-darevskii-Komplexes. Terraria-Elaphe 2014 (5): 58-67 - get paper here
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