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Darevsky's Viper (Vipera darevskii)

Mohamed bin Zayed Species project number 212526523

Base Data on Threatened Vipers from Anatolia to Transcaucasia

Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation (Project No. 212526523) - Darevsky's Viper - Awarded $4,960 on May 07, 2021

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species lists several endemic taxa of shield-head vipers of high conservation concern for the Caucasus and the Transcaucasian region into Anatolia. With lowland Caucasus Viper (Vipera kaznakovi, EN) and the highland V. darevskii (CR) and Dinnik’s viper (VU), the Steppe Viper (Vipera eriwanensis (VU), that region harbors an array of confusing (all are related to each other) and variably threatened vipers, often known from very few populations.

The focus species, Darevsky’s Viper, originally known from a small 10x10 km area at sites >2000 m elevation in northern Armenia, have been discovered at a few locations in alpine mountains of south-western Georgia, and  adjacent northeastern Turkey, and recently described as separate taxon ”Vipera sakoi”, one location 250 km farther west. The Steppe Viper (Vipera eriwanensis) is roughly sympatric with the Darevsky’s Viper and relatively well known from grassland below 2000 m elevation of northeastern Turkey and Aremnia. However, it was discovered at only 4 small locations the southern Georgia’s high plateau despite availability of massive habitat. The other two vipers are better known from highly threatened lowland subtropical (Caucasus Viper) and alpine (Dinnik’s Viper) sites.

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