Vipera pontica 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Reptilia Squamata Viperidae

Scientific Name: Vipera pontica Billing, Nilson and Sattler, 1990
Common Name(s):
English Black Sea Viper
Taxonomic Notes: The validity of this taxon has been questioned by some authors (e.g.. Baran et al. 2001; McDiarmid et al., 1999; Joger et al. 2003). This species is within the subgenus Pelias (Nilson et al. 1999).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered D ver 3.1
Year Published: 2009
Date Assessed: 2008-12-14
Assessor(s): Nilson, G., Akarsu, F., Tuniyev, B., Agasyan, A., Orlov, N.L. & Tuniyev, S.
Reviewer(s): Cox, N.A. & Temple, H.J.
Listed as Endangered because, the population is believed to be very small, numbering fewer than 250 mature individuals.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is restricted to the Pontic Black Sea region of Turkey, where it is known from the Çoruh Valley in Vilayet Artvin. An additional specimen was found in a tea plantation near the Turkish-Georgian border, northwest of Artvin (Baran et al. 2001). It is possible that a population of this species could be present also in adjacent Georgia, however this needs to be confirmed. The record from the vicinity of Çamlihemsin in Vilayet Rize (Baran and Atatür 1997) should be referred to Vipera barani (Mallow et al. 2003; Göran Nilson pers. comm. March 2009) It occurs up to 1,000m asl.
Countries occurrence:
Additional data:
Upper elevation limit (metres):1000
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:This species is extremely rare, and is currently known from fewer than seven specimens. It is estimated that there are probably fewer than 250 mature individuals of this rare species (Göran Nilson pers. comm.).
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The species is associated with Mediterranean vegetation, rocky areas within open forest. (Baran and Atatür, 1998).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The species has a restricted range, however there is little human activity other than traditional farming livestock grazing. There is some limited habitat loss resulting from highway (motorway) construction. As with many snakes, it is generally persecuted. It is unclear if the species is threatened by collection for the international pet trade. While other vipers from the region, such as Vipera kaznakovi, have been recorded in trade (Ferdi Akarsu pers. comm. March 2009), it does not appear that Vipera pontica has (Göran Nilson pers. comm. March 2009). The species lives as small populations in very remote areas where collection is not thought to take place. However, if collection of a localised population undertaken place by a skilled collector it seems probable that this would lead to its rapid extirpation (Göran Nilson pers. comm. March 2009).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There appear to be no direct conservation measures in place for this species. The species has not been recorded from any protected areas, and there is a need to establish protected areas within the range of this rare species. Additional studies are needed into the taxonomic status, distribution, general ecology, and the potential threat of collection for the international pet trade. There is a need to monitor the conservation status of known populations.

Errata [top]

Errata reason: This errata version of the 2008 assessment was created to correct the Assessor names (and hence the assessment citation) and Reviewer names.

Citation: Nilson, G., Akarsu, F., Tuniyev, B., Agasyan, A., Orlov, N.L. & Tuniyev, S. 2009. Vipera pontica (errata version published in 2017). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2009: e.T23002A114576777. . Downloaded on 22 September 2018.
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