Section 10
Chapter 9,601

The morphological differentiation of four French populations of Vipera ursinii ursinii Bonaparte, 1835

Baron, J.P.; Ferriere, R.; Saint Girons, H.

Revue Suisse de Zoologie 100(1): 187-196


ISSN/ISBN: 0035-418X
Accession: 009600157

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The present paper is a comparative analysis of the external morphology of 396 Orsini's Vipers from four small isolated French populations, together with a heterogenous sample from the Apennines (Italy). Our study only deals with scales. It turns out that eleven characters show significant differences between at least two samples. More precisely, the vipers from Mt Ventoux significantly differs from all of the other samples. Nevertheless, the latter four significantly differ from one another by one up to eight characters. There is no clinical variation, and the characters seems to have evolved at random in each population. According to the ecology of Vipera ursinii ursinii and the bioclimatic fluctuations during the twenty last millenia in the South-East of France, we believe that such small populations were isolated in their current residual habitat by the post-glacial spread of forests. They may have experienced successive bottlenecks. All of this would have resulted in a fast differentiation on minor characters probably not related to fitness.

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