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Montivipera wagneri

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA REPTILIA SQUAMATA VIPERIDAE

Scientific Name: Montivipera wagneri
Species Authority: (Nilson & Andrén, 1984)
Common Name(s):
English Wagner's Viper
French Vipère De Wagner
Synonym(s):
Vipera wagneri Nilson & Andrén, 1984

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered A2d+4cd ver 3.1
Year Published: 2009
Date Assessed: 2008-12-14
Assessor(s): Yakup Kaska, Yusuf Kumlutaş, Aziz Avci, Göran Nilson
Reviewer(s): Neil Cox and Helen Temple
Justification:
This species is listed Critically Endangered based upon a population decline of more than 80% from exploitation and collection for the international pet trade over the past three generations (18 years). Continued population declines are predicted for the future from over collection and planned dam construction in the Aras River Valley. Construction of the Kara kurt dam complex would cause a loss of over 80% of the suitable habitat for this species.
History:
1996 Endangered
1994 Indeterminate (Groombridge 1994)
1990 Indeterminate (IUCN 1990)
1988 Indeterminate (IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1988)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is restricted to eastern Turkey near the corners of the provinces of Kars, Erzurum, and Ağrı (Baran et al. 2004). More than 80% of the population is concentrated in the Aras River Valley which is northern portion of its distribution. In the southern portion of its distribution, the species is found in small, isolated populations in suitable habitat (Nilsen and Tuniyev, pers. comm.). The original type locality was collected in the mid-1800s along the old Armenian-Persian border. Currently, the distribution is entirely inside Turkey (Nilson, pers. comm. 2008). It is found between 1,200 and 2,000m asl.
Countries:
Native:
Turkey
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: This species is rare. It was abundant approximately 15-20 years ago, but since that time there has been significant collection including pregnant females (Nilson, pers. comm. 2008).
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It is found in sparsely vegetated rocky mountain slopes, often close to rivers and streams (Baran and Atatür, 1998). This species favors more densely vegetated and cooler microhabitats found on north-facing slopes. On warmer and south-facing slopes within its range M. wagneri is not present and Macrovipera raddei is present. Its suitable habitat is fragmented among the dominant warmer habitat types in the area. Most of the suitable habitat is concentrated in the northern part of its range with only small, isolated patches in the southern part (Nilson pers. comm.). It is ovoviviparous, giving birth to 10-12 young per clutch.
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species is threatened by overcollection for the international pet trade (Baran and Atatür, 1998). It is also severely threatened by planned construction of a dam complex (Kara kurt, Deniz golu, and Kulu) along the Aras river. In particular, there is a dam (Kara kurt) planned that would flood most of the known habitat of this species.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is listed on Appendix II of CITES. It is not found in any protected areas. Strong enforcement of trade restrictions are needed to help protect this species. Measures need to be taken to ensure the protection of this species in the development and implementation of infrastructure projects. The creation and enforcement of a protected area within this species restricted range would help to protect it from continuing decline.

Citation: Yakup Kaska, Yusuf Kumlutaş, Aziz Avci, Göran Nilson 2009. Montivipera wagneri. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 23 November 2014.
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