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Vipera monticola SAINT GIRONS, 1953

IUCN Red List - Vipera monticola - Near Threatened, NT

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Higher TaxaViperidae, Viperinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
SubspeciesVipera monticola atlantica MARTÍNEZ-FREIRÍA, LUCCHINI & FREITAS in MARTÍNEZ-FREIRÍA et al. 2021
Vipera monticola monticola SAINT-GIRONS 1953
Vipera monticola saintgironsi MARTÍNEZ-FREIRÍA, FAHD, LARBES & BRITO in MARTÍNEZ-FREIRÍA et al. 2021 
Common NamesE: Mountain Viper 
SynonymVipera latastei montana SAINT GIRONS 1953: 24 (sec. homonym)
Vipera latastei monticola SAINT GIRONS 1954 (replacement name)
Vipera monticola — BEERLI, BILLING & SCHÄTTI 1986
Vipera latasti monticola — SOCHUREK 1979
Vipera (Rhinaspis) monticola — OBST 1983
Vipera monticola — WELCH 1994: 123
Vipera monticola — MCDIARMID, CAMPBELL & TOURÉ 1999: 406
Vipera (Vipera) monticola — VENCHI & SINDACO 2006
Vipera monticola — WALLACH et al. 2014: 775 
DistributionMorocco (High Atlas), elevation up to 3000 m, Algeria

monticola: Morocco; Type locality: Massif du Toubkal, Haut Atlas, Morocco, 2800 m.

atlantica: Morocco; Type locality: Nfis meadows of the Tichka Plateau (region of Marrakesh-Safi, Morocco).

saintgironsi: Algeria; Type locality: Djurjurá Mts (Algeria)  
Reproductionovovivparous 
TypesSyntypes: MNHN-RA 8959, MNHN-RA 2012.0433 (formerly MNHN-RA 8959A), MNHN-RA 2012.0434 (formerly MNHN-RA 8959B), MNHN-RA 8410, MNHN-RA 2012.0412 (formerly MNHN-RA 8410A), MNHN-RA 1973.0079-0080; ZMA.RENA 11154
Holotype: 15VM073. Although no specimens were sacrificed and deposited in a collection, we designate as holotype the specimen 15VM073 (male, adult), sampled in the Nfis meadows of the Tichka Plateau (Morocco) by F. Martínez-Freiría, A. Pimenta, and I. Freitas in 2015. For specimen description, and sequences and tissue availability, see Appendix 2 in MARTÍNEZ-FREIRÍA et al. 2021. Paratypes: We designate the following three paratypes, all of them sampled in the Nfis meadows of the Tichka Plateau in Morocco: 15VM074 (adult, female) sampled by F. Martínez-Freiría, A. Pinto, and I. Freitas in 2015; and 19VM053 (adult, female) and 19VM059 (adult, male) sampled by F. Martínez-Freiría, I. Avella, F. Corga, U. Enríquez-Urzelai, and N. Lucchini in 2019. For specimens description, and sequences and tissue availability, see Appendix 2 in MARTÍNEZ-FREIRÍA et al. 2021 [atlantica]
Holotype: MNCN 50498 (adult, female) collected by S. Larbes in 2010, de- posited in the Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales—CSIC (Madrid, Spain). For specimen description, and sequences and tissue availability, see Appendix 3. Paratypes: BEV.11978 (juvenile) collected in Tislit lake, Imilchil (region Draa-Tafilalet, Morocco) by P. Geniez and A. Miralles in 2012, deposited in the Centre d'Ecologie Fonctionnelle & Evolutive (Montpellier, France); BMNH 1894.3.22.5 (adult, male) collected near Tangier (Morocco) by an unknown collector in 1894, deposited in the Natural History Museum (London, UK); and MNCN 50497 (adult, male), collected in Aurès Mts, Batna (Algeria) by S. Larbes in 2018, deposited in the Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales—CSIC (Madrid, Spain). For specimens description, and sequences and tissue availability, see Appendix 3 in MARTÍNEZ-FREIRÍA et al. 2021 [saintgironsi] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (monticola): In relation to the other North African Mountain viper subspecies, V. m. monticola presents small size (but larger than the specimens from Western High Atlas), low number of intercanthal + intrasupraocular, lo- real and periocular scales, moderate number of ventral scales, 19 dorsal rows (a characteristic also shared with vipers from other lineages), high number of dorsal marks and frequently, a barred dorsal pattern (a char- acteristic also shared with specimens from the Western High Atlas). Only dwarf specimens are known (see Table S7). See Figure 5a–c in MARTÍNEZ-FREIRÍA et al. 2021.

Diagnosis (atlantica): In relation to the other North African Mountain viper subspecies, Vipera m. atlantica presents the smallest size, the highest number of intercanthal + intrasupraocular and ventral scales, moderate num- ber of loreal and periocular scales, 19 dorsal rows (a characteristic shared with V. m. monticola and few specimens from the Rif-E.Atl-Alg lineage), moderate number of dorsal marks and frequently, a barred dorsal pattern (a characteristic also shared with V. m. monticola). Only dwarf specimens are known, resembling V. m. monticola but with previous mentioned differences (see Figure 5d,e; Table S7 in MARTÍNEZ-FREIRÍA et al. 2021).

Diagnosis (saintgironsi): In relation to the other North African Mountain viper subspe- cies, V. m. saintgironsi presents larger size, moderate number of intercanthal + intrasupraocular scales, high number of loreal and periocular scales, low number of ventral scales, 19 to 23, frequently 21 dorsal rows at midbody, low number of dorsal marks, and variable dorsal pattern (including the three general types; see Figure 5f,j; Table S7). Specimens with dwarf characteristics (i.e., small size and 19 dor- sal rows) are known for the Eastern High Atlas Mountains in Morocco (Figure 5H) and the Aurès Mountains in Algeria (i.e., paratype MNCN 50498, Appendix 3 in MARTÍNEZ-FREIRÍA et al. 2021). 
CommentVenomous!

Synonymy: Vipera latastei montana is a junior secondary homonym of Vipera berus var. montana MÉHELY 189.

Distribution: Not in Morocco but possibly there; has been confused with V. latastei (Martínez et al. 2019, and pers. comm. 18 Jan 2021). For a map see Sindaco et al. 2013 and MARTÍNEZ-FREIRÍA et al. 2021: Fig. 3. 
EtymologyThe species name, ‘monticola’, is Latin for ‘inhabitant of the mountains’ (Latin “colere” = inhabiting).

The adjective “atlantica” refers to the location of this subspecies range, in the westernmost distribution range of the species, close to the Atlantic Ocean (at about 120 km in a straight line).

The adjective “saintgironsi” refers to Hubert Saint Girons, French herpetologist who extensively worked in biogeography, ecology, and taxonomy of European vipers, also describing V. monticola. 
References
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