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Rediscovery of the Bolkar viper: morphological variation and systematic implications on the 'Vipera xanthina complex'

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There are no morphological characters which allow a distinction between V. xanthina and V bulgardaghica. There are only minor differences between populations from the Near East (V. bornmuelleri) and the Anatolian xanthina, with the Bolkar specimens being intermediate between these two forms. V albizona is identical with bulgardaghica. These four nominal species (albizona, bornmuelleri, bulgardaghica and xanthina, respectively) are conspecific. The systematic status of V wagneri remains uncertain. The three "species" of the 'raddei group' (incl. albicornuta and latifii) are merely distinguishable on the basis of certain characters of the dorsal colour pattern. The distribution patterns and zoogeographical considerations do not argue in favour of a Tertiary 'vicariance model' for 'mountain vipers' proposed by Nilson and Andrén (1986b). Rather the actual distribution has been poorly investigated in eastern Anatolia and adjacent areas.

Affiliations: 1: Muséum d'Histoire naturelle, Case postale 434, CH-1211 Genève 6, Switzerland; 2: Dokuz Eylül Üniversitesi, Buca Egitim Fakültesi, Fen Bölümü BaŞkani, Buca-Izmir, Turkey; 3: Schulstrasse 16, D-5249 Birkenbeul, Germany


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