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Vipera orlovi TUNIYEV & OSTROVSKIKH, 2001

IUCN Red List - Vipera orlovi - Critically Endangered, CR

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Higher TaxaViperidae, Viperinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesRussian: Гадюка Орлова 
SynonymVipera orlovi TUNIYEV & OSTROVSKIKH, 2001
Vipera kaznakovi — KRAMER 1961:703 (part.)
Vipera dinniki orlovi — SCHWEIGER 2009
Vipera orlovi — LIVIGNI 2013: 351
Pelias orlovi — WALLACH et al. 2014: 533
Pelias orlovi — TUNIYEV 2016
Pelias orlovi— DUNAEV & ORLOVA 2017
vipera orlovi — JOGER & ZINENKO 2021 
DistributionW Caucasus (50-1100 m elevation)

Type locality: Papai Mountain, Krasnodarskii region, Russia  
TypesHolotype: SNP (given as SD CSNBR 528), adult male, (Scientific Department, Caucasian State Nature Biosphere Reserve, Sochi), May 12, 1997, coll. S. V. Ostrovskikh. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: A medium-size viper of the Eurosibe-rian group. Head has more light coloration than body. Canthals and labials are white. Number of ventral shields and number of crown shields are the least for all representatives of "kaznakovi" complex. 
CommentSynonymy: this species may be synonymous with V. (P.) dinniki (Mallow et al., 2003, Smedt, 2006). The genome of V. orlovi is composed of the genomes of Vipera kaznakovi (major part) and of Vipera renardi (about 20%). V. orlovi is intermediate in ecology between its ‘parental species,’ however its habitat is not the typical habitat of neither V. kaznakovi nor V. renardi. As all three taxa are allopatric, there is no evidence of current geneflow between them, hence Joger & Zinenko 2021 proposed to maintain species status for V. orlovi.


Conservation: one of the 30 most endangered viper species (Maritz et al. 2016).

Distribution: For a map see Sindaco et al. 2013. 
EtymologySpecies is named after the Russian herpetologist — Nikolay L. Orlov, who made an im-portant contribution to the study of Caucasian vipers. 
  • Ananjeva, NB, Orlov NL; Khalikov RG; Darevsky IS; Ryabov IS & Barabanov AV 2006. The Reptiles of North Eurasia. Taxonomic Diversity, Distribution, Conservation Status [this comprises the territory of the former Soviet Union and Mongolia]. Pensoft Series Faunistica 47, 250 pp.
  • Beolens, Bo; Michael Watkins, and Michael Grayson 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA - get paper here
  • De Smedt, J. 2006. The Vipers of Europe. Monasteria, Münster, 340 pp.
  • Dunaev E.A., Orlova V.F. 2017. Amphibians and reptiles of Russia. Atlas and determination. 2nd. ed. Moscow: Phyton XXI, 328 p
  • Joger, Ulrich; Oleksandr Zinenko 2021. Is Vipera orlovi a Distinct Hybrid Species? Russian Journal of Herpetology 28 (1): 60-66 - get paper here
  • LiVigni, F. (ed.) 2013. A Life for Reptiles and Amphibians, Volume 1. Chimaira, Frankfurt, 495 pp. - get paper here
  • Mallow, D. Ludwig, D. & Nilson, G. 2003. True Vipers: Natural History and Toxinology of Old World Vipers. Krieger, Malabar, Florida, 410 pp. [review in HR 35: 200, Reptilia 35: 74]
  • Maritz, Bryan; Johannes Penner, Marcio Martins, Jelka Crnobrnja-Isailović, Stephen Spear, Laura R.V. Alencar, Jesús Sigala-Rodriguez, Kevin Messenger, Rulon W. Clark, Pritpal Soorae, Luca Luiselli, Chris Jenkins, Harry W. Greene 2016. Identifying global priorities for the conservation of vipers. Biological Conservation, doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2016.05.004 - get paper here
  • Phelps, T. 2010. Old World Vipers. Edition Chimaira, Frankfurt, 558 pp. [critical review in Sauria 33 (3): 19 and HR 43: 503]
  • Schweiger, M. 2009. Die Giftschlangen Europas. Eine Übersicht der Arten und Bemerkungen zu einzelnen Taxa. Reptilia (Münster) 14 (76): 14-25 - get paper here
  • Sindaco, R.; Alberto Venchi & Cristina Grieco 2013. The Reptiles of the Western Palearctic, Volume 2: Annotated Checklist and Distributional Atlas of the Snakes of Europe, North Africa, Middle East and Central Asia, with an Update to Volume 1. Edizioni Belvedere, Latina (Italy), 543 pp. - get paper here
  • Tuniyev B.S. 2016. Rare species of shield-head vipers in the Caucasus. Nature Conservation Research 1 (3): 11–25 - get paper here
  • TUNIYEV, B. S. & S. V. OSTROVSKIKH 2001. Two new species of vipers of "kaznakovi" complex (Ophidia, Viperidae) from western Caucasus. Russ. J. Herpetol. 8 (2): 117-126 - get paper here
  • Tuniyev, B.S.; N.L. Orlov, N.B. Ananjeva and A.L. Aghasyan 2019. Snakes of the Caucasus: taxonomic diversity, distribution, conservation. St. Petersburg, Moscow. KMK Scientific Press. 2019. 276 pp. - get paper here
  • Tuniyev, S. B.; A. Avcı, B. S. Tuniyev, A. L. Agasian, L. A. Agasian 2013. Description of a New Species of Shield-Head Vipers - Pelias olguni sp. nov. from Basin of Upper Flow of the Kura River in Turkey. Russ. J. Herpetol. 19 (4): 314-332 - get paper here
  • Wallach, Van; Kenneth L. Williams , Jeff Boundy 2014. Snakes of the World: A Catalogue of Living and Extinct Species. [type catalogue] Taylor and Francis, CRC Press, 1237 pp.
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