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Vipera aspis

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA REPTILIA SQUAMATA VIPERIDAE

Scientific Name: Vipera aspis
Species Authority: (Linnaeus, 1758)
Common Name(s):
English Asp Viper
Spanish Vipera Áspid, Vipera Áspid
Taxonomic Notes: The specific rank proposed for the subspecies Vipera a. hugyi (from Montecristo Island and southern Italy), and V.a. francisciredi (from central and northern Italy), and V.a. zinnikeri (from the Pyrenees) (Zuffi 2002; C. Corti pers. comm.) is controversial. While some of these proposals might be valid, more analyses are required (Crochet and Dubois 2004). Recent studies by Ursenbacher et al. (2006), suggest that V. a. atra is not a valid subspecies.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2009
Date Assessed: 2008-12-14
Assessor(s): Claudia Corti, Juan M. Pleguezuelos, Valentin Pérez-Mellado, Rafael Marquez, Marc Cheylan, Philippe Geniez, Ulrich Joger, Hans Konrad Nettmann, Benedikt Schmidt, Andreas Meyer, Roberto Sindaco, Antonio Romano, Iñigo Martínez-Solano
Reviewer(s): Cox, N. and Temple, H.J. (Global Reptile Assessment)
Justification:
Listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, tolerance of a broad range of habitats, presumed large population, and because it is unlikely to be declining fast enough to qualify for listing in a more threatened category.
History:
2006 Least Concern (IUCN 2006)
2006 Least Concern

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species ranges from north-central and northeastern Spain , through much of France (where it is absent from the north and the Mediterranean coastal area), southwestern Germany (where it is known only from a single locality in the Black Forest), western and central Switzerland, throughout Italy (including the islands of Sicily, Elba and Montecristo; in the latter is very probably introduced), and western Slovenia. The species has not been recorded from Croatia ((Dušan Jelić pers. comm., October 2008). Records of this species outside of the current range need to be confirmed. It can be found up to 3,000 m asl.
Countries:
Native:
France; Germany; Italy; Slovenia; Spain; Switzerland
Regionally extinct:
Bulgaria
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: It is a common species in much of its range. The species appears to be expanding its range geographically and altitudinally in France, however the extent of this change needs to be determined.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species is found in dry, rocky areas, open scrubland, open woodlands, closed forest, hedges, pastures and stone walls. It often occurs on the edge of natural habitats, and is characteristic of chestnut woods in Italy. The species is common in mesic habitats. It is rare in suburban areas and arable land. The females give birth to between five and 22 young.
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species is threatened by loss of habitat through agricultural intensification, and to a lesser degree loss of habitat resulting from the development of tourist facilities and urbanization. The species is often found in open areas and overgrowth of these sites is an additional threat (for example in the Jura Mountains) (Jaggi and Baur, 1999). The species is persecuted by people, and illegally collected for the pet trade. Some populations are threatened through mortality on roads.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is listed on Appendix III of the Bern Convention and is protected by national legislation in parts of its range (e.g.. Switzerland). It occurs in many protected areas. The subspecies V. a. aspis is categorized as Critically Endangered in Switzerland; V. a. atra is categorized as Vulnerable; and V. a. francisciredi is categorized as Endangered (Monney and Meyer, 2005).

Citation: Claudia Corti, Juan M. Pleguezuelos, Valentin Pérez-Mellado, Rafael Marquez, Marc Cheylan, Philippe Geniez, Ulrich Joger, Hans Konrad Nettmann, Benedikt Schmidt, Andreas Meyer, Roberto Sindaco, Antonio Romano, Iñigo Martínez-Solano 2009. Vipera aspis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 24 July 2014.
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