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Overview

Distribution

Range Description

This species is endemic to the Caucasus. The distribution range is stretched along the Black Sea coast, covering the forested foothills of the Caucasus up to 900m asl, from the settlement of Khopa in Turkey and Suramsky pass in the east across Colchis up to Mikhailovsky pass in the west. From here the species ranges to the northern slope of the Great Caucasus. Populations are found along the foothills up to the settlement Ubinskaya in the west, to the town Maikop in the north and to the mouth of the Urushten River in the east. In general, the distribution is divided into two parts, Ajaro-Lazistan (Turkey and Ajaria) and north-Colchis (western Georgia, Abkhazia and the Krasnodar Territory of Russia).
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Continent: Asia Europe
Distribution: S Russia, W Georgia, NE Turkey. Elevation up to 3000 m.  
Type locality: Tsebel’da, Sukhumi district, Georgia
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Source: The Reptile Database

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
This species inhabits the forested slopes of mountains, the beds of wet ravines and post-forested clearings. It has been recorded from azalea and scumpea-Cornelian cherry groves; mixed-subtropical forests with an evergreen underwood; chestnut groves, beech, willow- and alder-tree woods; and from polydominant forests near river terraces and on large growing over scree. At the upper limit of its altitudinal distribution this snake reaches the coniferous forests zone, but are not found deep in this forest type. It has been recorded from the ecotone of beech-fir forest and motley grass. Animals may also be found in areas of tea cultivation (Baran and Atatur, 1998). It emerges from hibernation in March (on the Black-Sea coast), and at altitudes of 600-800m asl - in the second half of April -beginning of May. It reproduces from the end of March up to the middle of May. Hibernation begins at the start November (for coastal populations), and at the end of September - beginning of October for highland populations. The young appear at the end of August - beginning of September.

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
EN
Endangered

Red List Criteria
B2ab(ii,iii,v)

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2009

Assessor/s
Boris Tuniyev, Goren Nilson, Aram Agasyan, Nikolai Orlov, and Sako Tuniyev

Reviewer/s
Neil Cox and Helen Temple

Contributor/s

Justification
Listed as Endangered because its Area of Occupancy (confined to appropriate habitat within the range) is less than 500 km2, its distribution is severely fragmented, and there is continuing decline due to overcollecting for the pet trade and in the extent and quality of its habitat. In addition, future development projects (tourism, urban development and dams) will likely create further declines thus the species should be monitored. It is thus likely that a 50% decline will occur in the next 10 years if estimated rates of decline continue.

History
  • 1996
    Endangered
    (Baillie and Groombridge 1996)
  • 1996
    Endangered
  • 1994
    Vulnerable
    (Groombridge 1994)
  • 1990
    Vulnerable
    (IUCN 1990)
  • 1988
    Rare
    (IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1988)
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Population

Population
This is not a common species, and populations have significantly declined through overcollection (Baran and Atatür, 1998).

Population Trend
Decreasing
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Threats

Major Threats
This species is threatened by illegal overcollection for the international pet trade (Baran and Atatur, 1998). Additional threats include habitat conversion for urban development, tourism and agriculture. It is becoming rare throughout the Black Sea coastal part of its range, with many populations already extirpated. Key threats to the habitat of these lowland populations include the development of tourism (such as health resorts) and housing, and agricultural expansion (including the ploughing of submontane areas). Within Turkey, the species is additionally threatened by projects to construct dams within its range.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
The species is included in the Red Data Books of the USSR (1984) and Russian Federation (2001): category 2 - a species reducing in its number living on the northern periphery of the distribution range. It is protected marginally in Sochi National Park, Kameli Biosphere Reserve and Aritza Relict National, with higher density populations are preserved on rocky screes of the forest zone of mountains of the Caucasian Nature Reserve. The majority of populations are unprotected.
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Wikipedia

Vipera kaznakovi

Common names: Caucasus viper, Kaznakow's viper,[2] Kaznakov's viper.[3] more.

Vipera kaznakovi is a venomous viper species endemic to Turkey, Georgia and Russia.[1] No subspecies are currently recognized.[4]

Etymology[edit]

The specific name, kaznakovi, is in honor of Russian naturalist Aleksandr Nikolaevich Kaznakov.[5]

Description[edit]

V. kaznakovi is a stoutly built species, of which the males are usually shorter and more slender than the females. Adults may reach a maximum total length (body + tail) of 65 to 70 cm (26 to 28 in), but are usually less. Orlov and Tuniyev examined 39 specimens. Of the 23 males examined, the largest measured 47.5 cm (18.7 in) total length; while of the 16 females, the largest was 60 cm (24 in) total length.[2][6]

Common names[edit]

Caucasus viper, Kaznakow's viper,[2] Kaznakov's viper.[3] Caucasus adder.[7]

Geographic range[edit]

It is found in northeastern Turkey, Georgia, and Russia (eastern Black Sea coast).

The type locality is "Tsebel'da, Sukhumi District," according to the English translation of Nikolsky (1909). Orlov and Tuniyev (1990) interpret this as "Tsebelda, the vicinity of Sukhumi [on the east coast of the Black Sea], Abkhazia, the Caucasus [Georgia]".[1]

Habitat and Ecology[edit]

This species inhabits the forested slopes of mountains, the beds of wet ravines and post-forested clearings. It has been recorded from azalea and scumpea-Cornelian cherry groves; mixed-subtropical forests with an evergreen underwood; chestnut groves; beech, willow, and alder woods; and from polydominant forests near river terraces and on large growing-over scree. At the upper limit of its altitudinal distribution this snake reaches the coniferous forests zone, but is not found deep in this forest type. It has been recorded from the ecotone of beech-fir forest and motley grass. Animals may also be found in areas of tea cultivation (Baran and Atatur, 1998).

On the Black Sea coast it emerges from hibernation in March, but at altitudes of 600–800 m (2,000–2,600 ft) above sea level it emerges in the second half of April or the beginning of May. It reproduces from the end of March up to the middle of May. Hibernation begins at the start November (for coastal populations), and at the end of September or the beginning of October for highland populations. The young appear at the end of August or the beginning of September.[8]

Conservation status[edit]

This species is classified as Endangered (EN) according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species with the following criteria: A1cd+2 cd (v2.3, 1994).[9] This indicates that the species is not critically endangered, but is facing a very high risk of extinction in the wild in the near future. This is due to an observed, estimated, inferred or suspected reduction in population of at least 50% over the last 10 years or three generations, whichever is the longer, based on a decline in area of occupancy, extent of occurrence and/or quality of habitat, as well as actual or potential levels of exploitation. For the same reasons, a reduction in the population of at least 50% is also projected or suspected to be met within the next 10 years or three generations, whichever is the longer. Year assessed: 1996.[10]

As of 2008, the IUCN red list of endangered species has listed the Caucasus Viper has been listed as being endangered with a decreasing population trend.[8]


It is also listed as strictly protected (Appendix II) under the Berne Convention.[11]

Major Threats[edit]

This species is threatened by illegal overcollection for the international pet trade (Baran and Atatur, 1998). Additional threats include habitat conversion for urban development, tourism, and agriculture. It is becoming rare throughout the Black Sea coastal part of its range, with many populations already extirpated. Key threats to the habitat of these lowland populations include the development of tourism (such as health resorts) and housing, and agricultural expansion (including the ploughing of submontane areas). Within Turkey, the species is additionally threatened by projects to construct dams within its range.[8]

One further factor that affects the population of the viper is its gestation and birthing procedure. The viper is viviparous. Therefore when the mother viper is injured or killed, the entire litter is affected, whereas in an oviparous snake each individual egg has a chance of surviving no matter what happens to the mother.[12]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c McDiarmid RW, Campbell JA, Touré T. 1999. Snake Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference, Volume 1. Herpetologists' League. 511 pp. ISBN 1-893777-00-6 (series). ISBN 1-893777-01-4 (volume).
  2. ^ a b c Mallow D, Ludwig D, Nilson G. 2003. True Vipers: Natural History and Toxinology of Old World Vipers. Malabar, Florida: Krieger Publishing Company. 359 pp. ISBN 0-89464-877-2.
  3. ^ a b Mehrtens JM. 1987. Living Snakes of the World in Color. New York: Sterling Publishers. 480 pp. ISBN 0-8069-6460-X.
  4. ^ "Vipera kaznakovi". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 17 August 2006. 
  5. ^ Beolens, Bo; Michael Watkins; Michael Grayson. 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. xiii + 312 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. (Vipera kaznakovi, p. 138.)
  6. ^ http://www.factzoo.com/reptiles/snakes/types-of-snakes.html
  7. ^ Brown JH. 1973. Toxicology and Pharmacology of Venoms from Poisonous Snakes. Springfield, Illinois: Charles C. Thomas. 184 pp. LCCCN 73-229. ISBN 0-398-02808-7.
  8. ^ a b c http://www.iucnredlist.org/apps/redlist/details/22990/0
  9. ^ Vipera kaznakovi at the IUCN Red List. Accessed 2 September 2007.
  10. ^ 1994 Categories & Criteria (version 2.3) at the IUCN Red List. Accessed 2 September 2007.
  11. ^ Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats, Appendix II at Council of Europe. Accessed 9 October 2006.
  12. ^ Neill, Wilfred T. 1964. Viviparity in snakes: some ecological and zoogeographical considerations. American Naturalist 98: 35-55.

Further reading[edit]

  • Nikolsky AM. 1909. Eine neue Vipernart aus dem Kaukasus. Tiflis Mitt. Kaukas. Mus. 4: 173-174. (Vipera kaznakovi, new species.)
  • Orlov NL, Tuniyev BF. 1990. Three species in the Vipera kaznakowi complex (Eurosiberian Group) in the Caucasus: Their present distribution, possible genesis, and phylogeny. Asiatic Herpetological Research 3: 1-36.
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