Blunt-nosed viper (Macrovipera lebetinus)

Blunt-nosed viper, Macrovipera lebetinus, Lebetine Viper; Levant viper; Levantine viper,

Macrovipera lebetinus is one among the venomous viper species found in moderate climate, under Viperidae family of snakes. Numerous common names of the species has been there as of its range such as Blunt nosed viper; Lebetine Viper; Levant viper; Levantine viper; Levantine adder; Kufi viper (from Arabic); gjurza (from Russian); Gunas (Jammu & Kashmir) and Mountain Viper. It is a large sized serpent in vipers having cylindrical and stout body with short tail which tapers towards end. Females of the species can reach up to 5 feet while their counter parts are little short of them. Currently there are five subspecies are recognized under Macrovipera genus; such as, M. l. cernovi, Chikin & Szczerbak, 1992; M. l. lebetina. Linnaeus, 1758 (Cypriot blunt-nosed viper); M. l. obtusa, Dwigubsky, 1832 (Levant blunt-nosed viper); M. l. transmediterranea, Nilson & Andrén, 1988; M. l. turanica Chernov, 1940 (Turan blunt-nosed viper).


Image Source: accessed on 2nd July 2020

Head in this species is broad, triangular, somewhat like pear shaped on dorsal view and distinct from neck. Snout is somewhat rounded and blunt. The nasal and nasorostral scales are fused into a single plate with some variations. Nostrils are located on lateral sides. Eyes are medium sized having vertically ovate pupils. Dorsal scales (23-25/23-27/19) are strongly keeled excluding the margins guarding the ventral.  Ventral scales are 146-163; anal single.

It as an oviparous species

Dorsally the color of the body can be brown, gray, light pinkish, or somewhat olive. The pattern, if present may be darker as it varies along its range; it may be bluish, brown, rust, or gray in color and may bear a row of large spots. If two rows are there than the spots may oppose or be alternate, produce an unceasing zigzag pattern. The spots observed are usually dark gray, brown or black, but sometimes may it be brick red, yellow, or olive.

It is can be sighted resting under short trees with thick shade and shady shrubs when temperature is high; though it prefers dry and rocky regions; nocturnal and terrestrial snake which feed mainly on small mammals, lizards and birds also.

The species is distributed and reported from Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, India Algeria, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Cyprus, Israel, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Russian Caucasia, Armenia, Georgia, Pakistan, and Yemen

Scientific classification

















Binomial name

Macrovipera lebetinus (Linnaeus, 1758)

 Macrovipera lebetinus envenoming symptoms recorded are:

Local effects: pain, severe swelling, bruising, blistering, necrosis.

Systemic effects: headache, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, dizziness, collapse or convulsions.

Coagulopathy & Haemorrhages: Moderate to severe coagulopathy plus haemorrhagins, causing extensive bleeding, Shock to fluid shifts owing to local muscle injury.

Literature Cited:

Al-Oran, R., Rostum, S., Joger, U. and Amr, Z. 1998. First record of the Levantine Viper, Macrovipera lebetina, from Jordan. Zoology in the Middle East, 16: 65-70. - get paper here

Billing, H. and Schätti, B. 1984. Vorläufige Mitteilung zum Subspezies-Problem bei Vipera lebetina. Salamandra, 20 (2-3): 65-69 - get paper here

Boulenger, G.A. 1887. List of reptiles and batrachians from Cyprus. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist., (5) 20: 344-345 - get paper here

Boulenger, G. A. 1888. Second list of reptiles and batrachians from Cyprus. Ann. Mag. nat. Hist., (6) 2: 505-506 - get paper here

Boulenger, G.A. 1890. The Fauna of British India, Including Ceylon and Burma. Reptilia and Batrachia. Taylor & Francis, London. - get paper here

Boulenger, G.A. 1894. Catalogue of the Snakes in the British Museum (Natural History). Vol. II. Taylor and Francis, London.

Boulenger, G.A. 1896. Catalogue of the snakes in the British Museum, Vol., III. Taylor and Francis, London - get paper here

Clark, R.J. and Clark, E.D. 1973. Report on a collection of amphibians and reptiles from Turkey. Occ. Pap. Cal. Acad. Sci., (104): 62 pp. - get paper here

Corkill, N.L. and Cochrane, J.A. 1966. The snakes of the Arabian Peninsula and Socotra. J. Bombay nat. Hist. Soc., 62 (3): 475-506 - get paper here

Disi, A., Zuhair, S. and Amr, N. H. 2014. Diversity, Threats, and Conservation of the Terrestrial and Freshwater Herpetofauna of Jordan. Russ. J. Herpetol., 21 (3): 221-233 - get paper here

Hellebuyck, T. 2016. Picture: Milos viper (Macrovipera lebetina). Litteratura Serpentium, 36 (3): 110 - get paper here

Hoser, R. 2012. A taxonomic revision of the Vipera palaestinae Werner, 1938 species group, with the creation of a new genus and a new subgenus. Australasian J. Herpetology, 11: 53-55 - get paper here

Hraoui-Bloquet, S., Sadek, R.A., Sindaco, R. and Venchi, A. 2002. The herpetofauna of Lebanon: new data on distribution. Zoology in the Middle East, 27: 35-46 - get paper here

Macrovipera lebetinus   at accessed on 2nd July 2020

Jestrzemski, D. and Kuzyakova, I. 2018. Morphometric characteristics and seasonal proximity to water of the Cypriot blunt-nosed viper Macrovipera lebetina lebetina (Linnaeus, 1758). Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins including Tropical Diseases, 24:42 - get paper here

Jestrzemski, D. 2015. Feldstudie zur zypriotischen Levanteotter (Macrovipera lebetina lebetina). Terraria-Elaphe, (1): 54-57 - get paper here

Khan, M.S. 1986. A noteworthy collection of Amphibians and reptiles from North- Western Punjab, Pakistan. The Snake18: 118-125

Macrovipera_lebetinus  at accessed on 2nd July 2020

Manhas, A. 2017. Role of varying climatic regimes on the Reptilian fauna under temperate and tropical conditions. Unpublished Ph.D. Thesis, Barkatullah University, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India..

Manhas, A., Raina, R. and A. Wanganeo. 2018. Reptilian Diversity and Distributions in the Doda District of Jammu and Kashmir, India.  Reptiles and Amphibians 25(3): 164–169.

Moradi, N. Nasrullah, R.P. and Eskandar, R.P. 2014. Geographic variation in the morphology of Macrovipera lebetina (Linnaeus, 1758) (Ophidia: Viperidae) in Iran. Acta Herpetologica, 9 (2): 187-202 - get paper here

Sahi D.N., Koul S. 2020. Annotated List of Amphibians and Reptiles of Jammu and Kashmir State. In: Dar G. & Khuroo A. (eds) Biodiversity of the Himalaya: Jammu and Kashmir State. Topics in Biodiversity and Conservation, 18. Springer, Singapore - get paper here

Sahi, D.N. 1979. A contribution to the Herpetology of Jammu and Kashmir. Unpublished Ph.D. Thesis, University of Jammu, Jammu, Jammu and Kashmir, India.

Sanz, L., Ayvazyan, N. and Calvete, J.J. 2008. Snake venomics of the Armenian mountain vipers Macrovipera lebetina obtusa and Vipera raddei. Journal of Proteomics 71(2):198-209.

Smith, M.A. 1943. The Fauna of British India, Ceylon and Burma, Including the Whole of the Indo-Chinese Sub-Region. Reptilia and Amphibia. 3 (Serpentes). Taylor and Francis, London.

Wall, F. 1906. The poisonous snakes of India and how to recognize them, Part- II. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc., 17: 299-334 - get paper here

Wall, F. 1908. Notes on a collection of snakes from Persia. J. Bombay nat. Hist. Soc. 18: 795-805 - get paper here

Wallach, Van; Kenneth L. Williams , Jeff Boundy 2014. Snakes of the World: A Catalogue of Living and Extinct Species. [type catalogue] Taylor and Francis, CRC Press, 1237 pp.

Whitaker, Romulus and Ashok Captain 2004. Snakes of India. Draco Books, 500 pp., reprinted 2007 - get paper here



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Herps Of Doda: Blunt-nosed viper (Macrovipera lebetinus)
Blunt-nosed viper (Macrovipera lebetinus)
Blunt-nosed viper, Macrovipera lebetinus, Lebetine Viper; Levant viper; Levantine viper,
Herps Of Doda
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