Vipera ebneri


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Vipera ebneri
Species Authority: Knoppfler & Sochurek, 1955
Common Name(s):
English Iranian Mountain Steppe Viper
Taxonomic Notes: This species is part of the Vipera ursinii complex, and has often been included within Vipera eriwanensis.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable B2ab(iii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2009
Date Assessed: 2008-12-14
Assessor(s): Göran Nilson and Mozafar Sharifi
Reviewer(s): Neil Cox and Helen Temple
Listed as Vulnerable because its Area of Occupancy is possibly less than 2,000 km2, its distribution is severely fragmented, and there is continuing decline in the extent and quality of its alpine meadow habitat.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is endemic to Iran, where it has been recorded from alpine meadows in the Elburz Mountains. Populations have been recorded between around 2,500 to 3,000m asl. It exists as highly fragmented populations, perhaps occupying only 10-15% of the mapped distribution (Göran Nilson pers. comm., September, 2008).
Iran, Islamic Republic of
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: It is a comparatively rare species, although in places it can be locally common (Göran Nilson pers. comm., September, 2008).
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species is associated with alpine meadows or alpine steppe habitat. The diet generally consists of crickets (orthoptera) and lizards. It is a ovoviviparous species.
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The species has a restricted habitat type which is threatened by overgrazing by domestic livestock in some areas (Göran Nilson pers. comm., September, 2008). and by the removal of the fertile alpine topsoil for commercial horticultural use in others (Mozafar Sharifi pers. comm., September 2008). A small number of animals have been reported in the international pet trade (Göran Nilson pers. comm., September, 2008).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: It is present in the Lar River Valley Protected Area (Central Province). There is a need to prevent overgrazing and better regulate the collection of topsoil within the limited range of this species.

Bibliography [top]

IUCN. 2009. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2009.1). Available at: (Accessed: 22 June 2009).

Joger, U. 1984. The venomous snakes of the Near and Middle East. Beihefte zum Tübinger Atlas des Vorderen Orients, A 12. Dr. Ludwig Reichert Verlag., Wiesbaden.

Latifi, M. 1991. The Snakes of Iran - English Edition. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, Oxford, Ohio.

Nilson, G. and Andrén, C. 2001. The meadow and steppe vipers of Europe and Asia. The Vipera (Acridophaga) ursinii complex. Acta zoologica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae: 87-267.

Citation: Göran Nilson and Mozafar Sharifi 2009. Vipera ebneri. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 01 September 2015.
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