Vipera seoanei cantábrica" />

Vipera seoanei cantabrica   Braña & Bas, 1983

Distribution and habitat:
Vipera seoanei cantabrica is distributed in the northern half of the province of León, in the southwest of Asturias and in the southeast of Galicia.

Unlike the nominate race, this subspecies prefers drier habitats.

It can be found at altitudes between 800 and 1000 mts (2,600 – 3,300 feet) a.s.l. Throughout its distribution range the predominant vegetation cover is oak and heather.

Vipea seoanei
Vipera seoanei cantabrica, adult male - photo: Daniel Gómez

Colouration: The ground colour is grey or brownish-grey. A well defined zigzag stripe stands out on the dorsum against the ground colour. The zigzag pattern consists of a pale longitudinal stripe bordered with dark transverse bars. There is a series of dark blotches running along the flanks of the body.

Males exhibit a more contrasting colouration than females. The overall appearance of this subspecies resembles that of the Asp viper. Melanic specimens of this subspecies are quite frequently found, and in a high percentage in certain populations.

Vipea seoanei
Vipera seoanei cantabrica, melanic specimen
Vipea seoanei
inside the yellow box is another
Vipera seoanei cantabrica of the cantabrica form

Specimens with a uniform brown colouration (unicolor form) have been found in the distribution range of Vipera seoanei cantabrica.

Head: The head ornamentation is more noticeable in males than in females. The postocular stripe is more heavily marked in males too. The frontal and parietal scales are more fragmented in this subspecies than in the nominate race.

There are normally two apicals and two canthals on either side of the head, 9 suparlabials (8-10) with or without pigmentation on the sutures and 11 infralabials (10-12) with pigmentation.

Most specimens have 1.5 or 2 incomplete rows of scales between the eye and the supralabials.

Vipea seoanei
male Vipera seoanei cantabrica, head detail
photo: Daniel Gómez

Lepidosis: Vipera seoanei cantabrica has 21 (rarely 19 or 23) rows of dorsal scales along the body. All of the dorsal scales are keeled except for the first row on either side of the body. This subspecies has more ventral scales than the nominate race; males have an average of 141,7 ventrals and females have an average of 143,9 (Brito & Saint-Girons, 2005).

The number of paired subcaudals is also slightly larger in the cantabrica subspecies; males have an average of 38 subcaudals and females have an average of 33,3 subcaudals.

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