Modeling the species distribution of Caucasian pit viper (Gloydius halys caucasicus) (Viperidae: Crotalinae) under the influence of climate change

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, Golestan University, Gorgan, Iran

2 Department of Biodiversity, Institute of Science and High Technology and Environmental Sciences, Graduate University of Advanced Technology, Kerman, Iran


During recent years, the effects of climate change on various biological and ecological aspects of the species have been discussed in several litterateurs. The aim of this study was to reveal the effect of climate change on the extent and suitability of the Gloydius halys caucasicus habitats at present time and future. So that, 50 presence points and 19 bioclimatic variables were used. To compare the effects of global warming and climate change over the extent andsuitability of habitats, future bioclimatic variables were used in two mild climate change (PCR2.6) and severe (PCR8.5) scenarios in species distribution modeling. The results show that due to warming process of the planet and its growing trend in the future, the extent of suitable habitats of Caucasian pit viper is declining. Due to the fact that most of the suitable habitats of Caucasian pit viper are outside the protected areas, comprehensive studies are needed to plan and introduce new protected areasin future.


Adjaye, TA 2011, Maxentmodeling of the Apennine brown bear using incidental presence records: A comparison of raw records and kernel density in southern Majella NP. MSc. Dissertation, University of Twente, the Netherlands, 52 p.
Ananjeva, NB, Borkin, L, Darevsky, IS &Orlov NN 1998, Amphibians and reptiles. Encyclopedia of the nature in Russia, ABF: Moscow, 191-194. [In Russian].
 Anderson, RP, Lew, D & Townsend Peterson, A 2003, Evaluating predictive models of species distributions: criteria for selecting optimal models. Ecological Modelling, 162: 211-232.
Ataev, ChA 1985, Reptiles of the Mountains of Turkmenistan. Ashkhabad: Ilym. In: F, Aubret, R, Shine, & X, Bonnet 2004, Adaptive developmental plasticity in snakes. Nature, 31: 261–262.
Bassi, E, Willis, SG, Passilongo, D, Mattioli, L &Apollonio, M 2015, Predicting the spatial distribution of wolf (Canis lupus) breeding areas in a mountainous region of Central Italy.PLoS ONE 10(6): e0124698.
Bombi, P, Salvi, D, Vignoli, L & Bologna, MA 2009,Modelling Bedriaga’s rock lizard distribution in Sardinia: An ensemble approach.  Amphibia-Reptilia, 30: 413-424.
Brooks, TM, Mittermeier, RA, da Fonseca, GAB, Gerlach, J, Hoffmann, MJF, Lamoreux, CG, Mittermeier, Pilgrim, JD, Rodrigues, ASL 2006. Global biodiversity conservation priorities. Science 313, 58-61.
Chernov, SA 1934, On the systematics and distribution of Agkistrodon (Ophidia) in the Soviet Union. Trudy AkademiiaNauk SSSR, 6: 350–356. [In Russian].
Elith, J, Steven, J, Phillips, A, Trevor, H, Miroslav, D, Yung, E & Colin, J 2011, A statistical explanation of Maxent for ecologists.Diversity and Distributions Journal, 17: 43-57.
Fadakar, D, Sheykhiilanlo, S, Gholipour, M & Kami, HG 2016, Predicting potential distribution of toad- headed Agama (Phrynocephalus mystaceus) using Maximum Entropy in Iran. The 2nd International Conference of IALE-IRAN.
Gloyd, HK & Conant, R 1982, The classification of the Agkistrodonhalys complex. Japanese Journal of Herpetology, 9: 75-78.
Gloyd, HK & Conant, R 1990, Snakes of the Agkistrodon complex. A monographic review. In: Contribution to Herpetology, No. 6. Ohio: Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, 614 p.
Hijmans, RJ, Cameron, SE, Parra, JL, Jones, PG & Jarvis, A 2005, Very high resolution interpolated climate surfaces for global land areas. International Journal of Climatology, 25: 1965-1978.
HosseinianYousefkhani, SS 2019, Review to the last ecological niche modelling studies on Iranian herpetofauna and their importance for species conservation. Journal of Biological Studies, 1: 165-167.
 Kafash, B, Delavarkhalafi, S, M, Karbassi 2014, Numerical solution of nonlinear optimal control problems based on state parametrization. Volume 2014, Year 2014 Article ID jiasc-00033, 18 Pagesdoi:10.5899/2014/jiasc-00033.
Kiehl, JT, Gent, PR 2004, The community climate system model, Version 2. Journal of Climate, 17: 1666–1669.
Kumar, S &Stohlgren, TJ 2009, Maxentmodeling for predicting suitable habitat for threatened and endangered tree Canacomyricamonticola in New Caledonia. Journal of Ecology and Natural Environment, 1: 94-98.
 Loren, AC, De Siqueria, MF, De Giovanni, R, Carvalho, ACLF & Parti, R 2008,Potential distribution modelling using Mashine Learning. Proceedings of the 21st IntrnationalConference on Industrial, Engineering and other Applications of Applied Intelligent Systems: New Frontiers in Applied Artificial Intelligence, 5027: 255-264.
 Moss, RH, Edmonds, JA, Hibbard, KA, Manning, MR, Rose, SK, van Vuuren, DP, et al 2010, The next generation of scenarios for climate change research and assessment. Nature, 463:747–756.
 Nagelkerke, C & Alkemade, J 2003, Modelling the effect of climate change on species ranges. De Levende Natuur, 104: 114-118.
Nikolsky, AM 1916, Ophidia (In Russian). In: Fauna of Russia and adjacent countries. 2. Reptiles, Petrograd, 350 p.
Nilson, G 1983, A new subspecies of the Asiatic pit viper Agkistrodon halys Pallas, 1776 (Serpentes, Viperidae) from Afghanistan. Bonner ZoologischeBeiträge, 34: 469-476.
Orlov, NL, &Barabanov, AV 1999, Analysis of nomenclature, classification, and distribution of the Agkistrodonhalys – Agkistrodon intermedius complexes: A critical review. Russian Journal of Herpetology, 6: 167–192.
Parmesan, C, Yohe, G 2003, A Globally Coherent Fingerprint of Climate Change Impacts across Natural Systems. Nature, 421, 37-42.
Phillips, SJ, Anderson, RP &Schapire, RE 2006, Maximum entropy modeling of species geographic distributions. Ecological Modeling, 190: 231-259.
Rajabizadeh, M, & Kami, HG 2007, Population study of Gloydius halys caucasicus (Nikosky, 1916) (Reptilia: Viperidae) in central and eastern Alborz, Iran. Abstract Book of 2nd National Conference of Animal Science, Rasht, Iran,189 p.
Rajabizadeh, M 2018, Snakes of Iran.Iranshenasu Publisher, Tehran, Iran, 496 p. (In Persian). ISBN 978-600-8351-11-5. 
Root, T & Schneider, ST 2006, Conservation and climate change: the challenges ahead.Conservation Biology, 20: 706-708.
Russell, FE & Campbell, JR 2015, Venomous terrestrial snakes of the Middle East, 95-160.
Safaei-Mahroo, B, Ghaffari, H, Fahimi, H, Broomand, S, Yazdanian, M, Kazemi, M 2015, the herpetofauna of Iran: Checklist of taxonomy, distribution and conservation status. Asian Herpetological Research, 6: 257-290.
Sarhangzadeh, J, Yavari, AR, Hemami, MR, Jafari, HR, & Shams-Esfandabad, B 2013, Habitat suitability modeling for wild goat (Capra aegagrus) in a mountainous arid area, central Iran. Caspian Journal of Environmental Sciences, 11: 41-51
Terentjev, PV &Chernov, SA 1949, Guide to amphibians and reptiles of the USSR. 3rd Edition. Moscow: SovetskayaNauka, 340 p. [In Russian].
Tondravazangene, M, Fakheranesfahani, S, Pourmanafi, S & Sen, J 2017, Assessment of the desirability of habitat and conservation status of a species severely threatened with extinction Lorestan newt (Neurergus kaiseri) in Lorestan and Khuzestan provinces. Iranian Journal of Applied Ecology, 5: 11-24
 Wagner, P, Bauer, AM, Leviton, AE, Wilms, TM, & Bohme, W 2016, A checklist of the amphibians and reptiles of Afghanistan exploring herpetodiversity using biodiversity archives. Reprinted from proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences, Ser. 4, 63: 457-565.
Warren, DL & Seifert, SN 2011, Ecological niche modeling in Maxent: The importance of model complexity and the performance of model selection criteria. Ecological Applications, 2: 335-342.
 Williams, JN, Seo, C, Thorne, J, Nelson, JK, Erwin, S, O’Brien, JM & Schwartz, MW 2009, Using species distribution models to predict new occurrences for rare plants. Diversity and Distributions, 15: 565-576.
Yazarloo, M, Kami HG, Bagherian Yazdi A 2107, Sexual dimorphism and morphometric study of Caspian pond turtle, Mauremys caspica (Testudines : Geoemydidae) in Golestan Province, southeast of the Caspian Sea, Caspian Journal of Environmental Sciences, 15: 321-334
Yazarloo, M, Kami, HG, Bagherian Yazdi, AA 2019, A skeletochronological study of age in the Caspian Pond Turtle, Mauremys caspica caspica (Testudines: Geoemydidae) in Golestan Province, Iran. Caspian Journal of Environmental Sciences, 17: 249-257
Yousefi, M, Ahmadi, M, Nourani, E, Behrooz, R, Rajabizadeh, M, Geniez, P, &Kaboli, M 2015, Upward altitudinal shifts in habitat suitability of mountain vipers since the last glacial maximum. PloS one, 10: e0138087.