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Vipera darevskii

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA REPTILIA SQUAMATA VIPERIDAE

Scientific Name: Vipera darevskii
Species Authority: Vedmederja, Orlov and Tuniyev, 1986
Common Name(s):
English Darevsky's Viper
Synonym(s):
Vipera kaznakovi dinniki
Taxonomic Notes: This species is within the subgenus Pelias (Nilson et al. 1999).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered B1ab(ii,iii)+2ab(ii,iii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2009
Date Assessed: 2008-12-14
Assessor(s): Boris Tuniyev, Göran Nilson, Aram Agasyan, Nikolai Orlov, Sako Tuniyev
Reviewer(s): Neil Cox and Helen Temple
Justification:
Listed as Critically Endangered because its Extent of Occurrence is probably less than 100km2, its Area of Occupancy is probably less than 10 km2 (approximately 2 km2 in Armenia), its distribution is severely fragmented, and the extent of its habitat is declining due to effects of significant overgrazing.
History:
1996 Critically Endangered
1994 Rare (Groombridge 1994)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is endemic to the Caucasus region where it has been recorded from Armenia and possibly two localities in Turkey, and is possibly also present in Georgia. In Armenia, it is patchily distributed in the southeastern part of the Javakhet Mountain Range, Shirak Province, where it has been recorded from the alpine and subalpine meadows of Legli Mountain at altitudes of 2,100 to 2,700m asl. A total of seven populations are known from Armenia, with suitable habitat in these patches totaling 200.78 hectares (Aram Agasyan pers. comm., March 2009). In Turkey, a population has been recorded from eastern Artvin Vilayet (Geniez and Tynié 2005), with a second population possibly recently observed in the vicinity of Posof town (close to the Georgian border), although this record needs full confirmation (not mapped here) (Göran Nilson and Nikolai Orlov pers. comm., October 2008). The species may be present in Georgia, however this needs confirmation.
Countries:
Native:
Armenia (Armenia); Turkey
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Within its preferred habitat the species can be found at densities of 10 to 12 animals per hectare. Only a few hundred animals are known from Armenia (400 to 500 mature individuals) (Aram Agasyan pers. comm., March 2009).
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This highly montane species generally inhabits rocky talus or scree habitats (with flat stone slabs) among subalpine and alpine meadows.
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The primary threat to this species is overgrazing of vegetation in it's limited habitat by domestic sheep and cattle. In Armenia the species is not significantly threatened by the international pet trade, as significant protection is given to the few populations of this species (Aram Agasyan pers. comm., March 2009). It is possible that the pet trade may represent a threat to recently described populations from Turkey, however further details are needed.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There is a need to include this species within the Armenia Red Data Book. There is a need to establish protected areas to conserve suitable areas of habitat for the species, especially for the recently discovered population in Turkey. A transnational park covering the range of this species between Georgia and Armenia, is currently planned. There is a need to limit or exclude grazing by domestic livestock in the limited areas from which this species has been recorded. Additional surveys are needed to confirm the presence of this species in the vicinity of Posof (Turkey), to determine the presence of this species in Georgia, and to locate any additional populations of this species.

Citation: Boris Tuniyev, Göran Nilson, Aram Agasyan, Nikolai Orlov, Sako Tuniyev 2009. Vipera darevskii. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 24 October 2014.
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