Pseudocerastes persicus fieldi

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Pseudocerastes persicus fieldi
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Viperidae
Subfamily: Viperinae
Genus: Pseudocerastes
Species: P. persicus
Subspecies: P. p. fieldi
Trinomial name
Pseudocerastes persicus fieldi
Schmidt, 1930
  • Pseudocerastes fieldi - Schmidt, 1930
  • Vipera persica fieldi - Marx & Rabb, 1965
  • Pseudocerastes persicus fieldi - Minton, Dowling & Russell, 1968
  • Daboia (Pseudocerastes) persicus fieldi - Obst, 1983[1]

Common names: Field's horned viper, Persian horned viper, false horned viper.[2]  
Pseudocerastes persicus fieldi is a venomous viper subspecies[3] found in the deserts of the Middle East. The main differences between this subspecies and the nominate race are in scalation and venom composition.


Outwardly, P. p. fieldi differs from P. p. persicus only in certain (lower) scale counts:[4]

P. p. fieldi P. p. persicus
Scales separating nasal and rostral 1 2
Midbody dorsals 21-23 23-25
Ventral scales 127-142 144-158
Subcaudal scales 34-46 38-48

Geographic distribution

According to McDiarmid et al. (1999): the Sinai Peninsula, Israel, Jordan, northern Saudi Arabia, northwestern Iraq and possibly in southern Syria.[1]

According to Mallow et al. (2003): the Sinai Peninsula, southern Israel, Jordan, extreme northern Saudi Arabia and southwestern Iraq.[2]


There is a more pronounced difference between the two subspecies with regard to their venom. While P. p. persicus venom exhibits strong hemorrhagic activity typical of most viperids, the venom of P. p. fieldi is unusual in that contains several fractions that show marked neurotoxic activity. No antivenin is available for bites from either subspecies. It is reported that a polyvalent antiserum does offer some protection from the hemotoxins, but none against the neurotoxic effects of P. p. fieldi venom.[4][2]


Some sources elevate P. p. fieldi to species level.[5]

See also

Cited references

  1. 1.0 1.1 McDiarmid RW, Campbell JA, Touré T. 1999. Snake Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference, vol. 1. Herpetologists' League. 511 pp. ISBN 1-893777-00-6 (series). ISBN 1-893777-01-4 (volume).
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 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. Pseudocerastes persicus fieldi (TSN 635249) at Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Accessed 14 April 2007.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Spawls S, Branch B. 1995. The Dangerous Snakes of Africa. Ralph Curtis Books. Dubai: Oriental Press. 192 pp. ISBN 0-88359-029-8.
  5. Species Pseudocerastes fieldi at the Species2000 Database

Other references

  • Duméril AMC, Bibron G, Duméril AHA. 1854. Erpétologie générale ou histoire naturelle complète des reptiles. Tome septième. Deuxième partie, comprenant l'histoire des serpents venimeux. Paris, Librairie Encyclopédique de Roret: i-xii + 781-1536.
  • Joger U. 1984. The venomous snakes of the Near and Middle East. Beihefte zum Tübinger Atlas des Vorderen Orients, A 12. Dr. Ludwig Reichert Verlag, Wiesbaden.
  • Lehmann M. 1982. Pseudocerastes persicus fieldi (Schmidt) im Terrarium. Herpetofauna 4 (21): 20-22
  • Marx H, Rabb GB. 1965. Relationships and zoogeography of the viperine snakes (Family Viperidae). Fieldiana 44 (21): 161-206