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Vipera kaznakovi

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA REPTILIA SQUAMATA VIPERIDAE

Scientific Name: Vipera kaznakovi
Species Authority: Nikolsky, 1909
Common Name(s):
English Caucasian (Caucasus) Viper, Caucasian Viper
French Vipere du Caucase
Synonym(s):
Coluber kaznakowi (Nikolskii, 1909)
Vipera berus ornata Basoglu, 1947
Vipera ursini kaznakowi (Nikolsky, 1909)
Taxonomic Notes: This species is within the subgenus Pelias (Nilson et al. 1999).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B2ab(ii,iii,v) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2009
Date Assessed: 2008-12-14
Assessor(s): Boris Tuniyev, Goren Nilson, Aram Agasyan, Nikolai Orlov, and Sako Tuniyev
Reviewer(s): Neil Cox and Helen Temple
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)

Geographic Range [top]

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).
Countries:
Native:
Georgia; Russian Federation; Turkey
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

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

Habitat and Ecology [top]

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

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): 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.

Conservation Actions [top]

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.

Citation: Boris Tuniyev, Goren Nilson, Aram Agasyan, Nikolai Orlov, and Sako Tuniyev 2009. Vipera kaznakovi. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 24 November 2014.
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