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Higher TaxaViperidae, Viperinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Sako’s Viper 
Vipera sakoi — FREITAS et al. 2020 
DistributionTurkey (Gumuşhane)

Type locality: Turkey, Gumuşhane District, vicinity of Erzincan, Çilhoroz Village (elevation 2000 m above sea level),  
TypesHolotype. SNP 911, adult male, 10.07.2012, collector A. Avcı (Fig. 6). Paratypes. SNP 906, one adult female, four new-born females and two new-born males, born in terrarium (Fig. 7), Turkey, Gumushkhane District, vicinity of Erzincan, (2000 m above sea level), 10.07.2012, collector A. Avcı; ZDEU 59/2003, adult male and semiadult female (Fig. 5), Turkey, Gumuşhane Dis- trict, vicinity of Erzincan, (2000 m above sea level), 05.06.2003, collector C.V. Tok. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. Small-sized snake, males have mini- mal value of midbody scales (19), loreals, apicals and crown shields, a relatively large number of preven- trals, and maximum number of supralabials; females have maximum number of ventrals and supralabials, minimal value of sublabials, loreals and number of shields around an eye, a relatively small number of zigzag wings. Vipers of both sexes from Erzincan differ from all other vipers under comparison by minimum number of loreals and maximal number of supralabials. From above, males are painted in grey, females, in light brown tones (Fig. 4); zigzag consists of not numerous transversely elongated stains, united only in some places in males, the zigzag is well devel- oped in females. The belly is light-grey in females and dark-spotted grey in males. Both sexes have a white throat (Fig. 5). 
CommentHabitat: Biotopes of the vipers are at present strongly destroyed from overgrazing sites with small outcroppings of limestone rocks and taluses among mountainous xerophyte vegetation types like phrygana with tragocanth astragals (Fig. 10 in Tuniyev et al. 2018).

Status: uncertain. V. sakoi has moderate to high genetic divergence to V. darevskii (4-5%) but only one independent sample was tested and geographic isolation from V. darevskii is uncertain (Freitas et al. 2020). 
EtymologyThe species is named in honor of Sako Tuniyev – the colleague, friend and son of the authors. Sako Tuniyev studied the shield-head vipers of the Caucasus and north-eastern Anatolia, and who generated the basis of this article, and tragically died in 2015. 
  • 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
  • Martínez-Freiría, F., Toyama, K. S., Freitas, I., & Kaliontzopoulou, A. 2020. Thermal melanism explains macroevolutionary variation of dorsal pigmentation in Eurasian vipers. Scientific Reports, 10(1) - get paper here
  • Tuniyev, B.S.; A. Avcı, Ç. Ilgaz, K. Olgun, T.V. Petrova, S.Yu. Bodrov, P. Geniez and A. Teynié 2018. ON TAXONOMIC STATUS OF SHIELD-HEAD VIPERS FROM TURKISH LESSER CAUCASUS AND EAST ANATOLIA. Proceedings of the Zoological Institute RAS 322 (1): 3–44 - get paper here
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