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Vipera ammodytes transcaucasiana

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Vipera ammodytes transcaucasiana
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Viperidae
Subfamily: Viperinae
Genus: Vipera
Species: V. ammodytes
Subspecies: V. a. transcaucasiana
Trinomial name
Vipera ammodytes transcaucasiana
Boulenger, 1913
  • Vipera ammodytes transcaucasiana - Boulenger, 1913
  • Vipera ammodytes transversovirgata - Zarevski, 1915
  • V[ipera]. a[mmodytes]. transcaucasiana - Bruno, 1985
  • [Vipera ammodytes] transcaucasiana - Golay et al., 1993
  • [Vipera ammodytes] transcaucasiana - Herprint Internatl., 1994[1]

Common names: Transcaucasian sand viper, Armenian sand viper.[2]  
Vipera ammodytes transcaucasiana is a venomous viper subspecies[3] found in parts of Georgia and northern Turkish Anatolia.[2]


Grows to a maximum length of 75 cm, but is usually not so large.[2]

On the head, the rostral scale is wider than it is long, supporting a rostral appendage or "horn" covered with 9-17 scales arranged in 3 (rarely 2 or 4) transverse rows. On the dorsum, there are two large supraoculars of which the posterior extends beyond the posterior margin of the eye. The rest of the head is covered with small, irregular scales that are either smooth or weakly keeled. There are 7 interocular scale rows. Frontal and parietal plates usually absent. The nostril is located within a single, large, concave nasal scale that is rarely divided. The nasal is separated from the rostral by a single nasorostral scale. The temporal scales are either smooth or weakly keeled. There are 11-12 circumorbital scales, while two rows separate the eye from the supralabials. There are 9-10 supralabials, of which the 4th and 5th are the largest.[2]

Midbody there are 21 rows of strongly keeled dorsal scales, while those bordering the ventrals are either smooth or only weakly keeled. There are 148-160 ventrals and 32-40 paired subcaudal scales. The anal plate is single.[2]

The color pattern consists of a light gray, ash gray, silver gray, pale gray or grayish white ground color, overlaid with a dorsal pattern of narrow transverse bands. The top of the head and the nasal horn do not have any irregular dark markings, except for a weak V-marking on the back of the head. The iris id golden or coppery. Juveniles have a similar color pattern.[2]

Geographic range

Confined to sections of Georgia and northern Turkish Anatolia, according to Nilson et al. (1988). Contrary to some publications, this subspecies does not occur in Armenia, Azerbaijan or Iran.[2]


Some elevate V. a. transcaucasiana to species level based on genetic distances that are larger than other full species, such as between V. aspis and V. latastei (Herrmann et al. 1987, 1992).[2]

See also

Cited references

  1. McDiarmid RW, Campbell JA, Touré T. 1999. Snake Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference, vol. 1. Herpetologists' League. ISBN 1-893777-00-6 (series). 511 pp. ISBN 1-893777-01-4 (volume).
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 Mallow D, Ludwig D, Nilson G. 2003. True Vipers: Natural History and Toxinology of Old World Vipers. Krieger Publishing Company, Malabar, Florida. 359 pp. ISBN 0-89464-877-2.
  3. Vipera ammodytes transcaucasiana (TSN 635293) at Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Accessed 23 June 2007.

External links