- Common names: large Palearctic vipers.
Macrovipera is a genus of venomous vipers that inhabit the semideserts and steppes of North Africa, the Near and Middle East, and the Milos Archipelago in the Aegean Sea. These snakes are responsible for a number of bites in Africa and Western Asia every year. They have a reputation for being ill-tempered and can inject a lot of venom, which is why they should be considered as very dangerous. Four species are currently recognized.
Except for M. schweizeri, these snakes are all capable of exceeding 1.5Â m (4.9Â ft) in total length (body + tail).
The head is broad, flat, and distinct from the neck. Dorsally, it is covered with small, irregular keeled scales. The supraoculars are also fragmented or partially divided. There seems to be a lot of variation in the different scale characteristics.
Species of this genus are found in Morocco, Algeria and Tunis in North Africa, east to Pakistan, Kashmir and India, north to the Milos Archipelago in the Aegean Sea (Greece), Armenia and Dagestan (Russia). To the south, there is only one old record from Yemen.
Members of this genus are adapted to arid and dry habitats.
All of these species lay eggs (oviparous).
*) Not including the nominate subspecies.
T) Type species.
The genus Macrovipera was created by Francis Albert Theodor Reuss (1927), specifically to accommodate M. lebetina (the type species). The three other species currently recognized were, at one point, all regarded as subspecies of M. lebetina. It is now likely that certain subspecies of M. lebetina will also be elevated to valid species status in the not too distant future. Regarding the geographic range of M. lebetina, it is possible that this species is now extinct in Israel.
- List of viperine species and subspecies
- Viperinae by common name
- Viperinae by taxonomic synonyms
- Reuss [AF]T. 1927. Sechs europaÃ¯sche Giftschlangengattungen. Zoologischer Anzeiger 73: 124-129.
- Macrovipera at Herpbreeder.com. Accessed 26 September 2006.