SPECIES, SUBSPECIES AND ECOTYPES
The genus Vipera (Laurenti 1768), commonly known as Eurasian vipers currently holds 24 species of Vipers on the European, Asian and African continents. Due to several doubtful descriptions of species, that more likely resemble subspecies, ecotypes or even hybrids, the true count of species is more likely around 10-14 (1). The members of this genus are small to mid-sized snakes that may be very variable in coloration and ecological adaptations. The European adder (Vipera berus, image on the right) for example exhibits the widest and northernmost distribution of all snakes (2), while some species like the Anatolian meadow viper (Vipera anatolica) have very restricted ranges (3,4). Some subspecies, like the common Asp viper (Vipera aspis aspis) even occur in very compeating climates, such as in meditarranean as well as in subalpine habitats. The variability of coloration, morphology and ecology of this genus has fascinated me for a while, and I have been fortunate enough to work with this genus scientifically for a few years now. In the following gallery I have summarized my finds of Viperas over the years.
VIPERA ASPIS x VIPERA LATASTEI
VIPERA KAZNAKOVI - COMPLEX
(1) Freitas, Inês & Ursenbacher, Sylvain & Mebert, Konrad & Zinenko, Oleksandr & Schweiger, Silke & Wüster, Wolfgang & Brito, José & crnobrnja-isailovic, Jelka & Halpern, Bálint & FAHD, Soumia & Santos, Xavier & Pleguezuelos, Juan & Joger, Ulrich & Orlov, Nikolay & Mizsei, Edvárd & Lourdais, Olivier & Zuffi, Marco & Strugariu, Alexandru & Zamfirescu, Remus & Martínez-Freiría, Fernando. (2020). Evaluating taxonomic inflation: towards evidence-based species delimitation in Eurasian vipers (Serpentes: Viperinae). Amphibia-Reptilia. 41. 285-311
(2) Otte, Norbert & Thiesmeier, Burkard & Bohle, Daniel (2020). Die Kreuzotter, ein Leben in ziemlich festen Bahnen. Laurenti, Bielefeld.
(3) Göçmen, Bayram & Mulder, John & Karış, Mert & Oğuz, Mehmet. (2014). The poorly known Anatolian Meadow Viper, Vipera anatolica: new morphological and ecological data.. Herpetologica Romanica. 8. 1-10.
(4) Mebert, Konrad & Göçmen, Bayram & Karış, Mert. (2017). Range extension of the critically endangered Anatolian Meadow Viper Vipera anatolica senliki in Eastern Antalya Province. South Western Journal of Horticulture, Biology and Environment. 8. 65-77.