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Hierophis cypriensis

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Cladus: Unikonta
Cladus: Opisthokonta
Cladus: Holozoa
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Superphylum: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Megaclassis: Osteichthyes
Cladus: Sarcopterygii
Cladus: Rhipidistia
Cladus: Tetrapodomorpha
Cladus: Eotetrapodiformes
Cladus: Elpistostegalia
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Cladus: Reptiliomorpha
Cladus: Amniota
Classis: Reptilia
Cladus: Eureptilia
Cladus: Romeriida
Subclassis: Diapsida
Cladus: Sauria
Infraclassis: Lepidosauromorpha
Superordo: Lepidosauria
Ordo: Squamata
Cladus: Unidentata, Episquamata
Cladus: Toxicofera
Subordo: Serpentes
Infraordo: Caenophidia
Superfamilia: Colubroidea

Familia: Colubridae
Subfamilia: Colubrinae
Genus: Hierophis
Species: Hierophis cypriensis

Hierophis cypriensis (Schätti, 1985)

Holotype: MHNG 2206.30, ♀, collected by native on 14 April 1983.
Type locality: “zwischen Arakapas und Kalokhorio, Zypern [= between Arakapás and Kalokhorio, Cyprus]”.
Paratypes (n=2): BMNH 1887.9.27.25, ♂, “Cyprus”, donated by Lord Lilford; and NHMW 15185:1, ♀, from “Platraes, Troodos, 1400 m”, collected by F. Werner on May 1935.Type locality: Between Arakapas and Kalokhorio, Limassol, Cyprus.


Coluber cypriensis Schätti, 1985: 472 [original combination]
Hierophis cypriensis — Schätti & Sigg, 1989 [subsequent combination]
Dolichophis cypriensis — Nagy, Lawson, Joger & Wink, 2004: 231 [subsequent combination]

Native distribution areas

Cyprus (Troodos massif and foothills).

Primary references

Schätti, B. 1985. Eine neue Zornnatter aus Zypern, Coluber cypriensis n. sp. (Reptilia, Serpentes, Colubridae). Revue suisse de Zoologie 92(2): 471–477. BHL
Schätti, B. & Sigg, H. 1989. Die herpetofauna der Insel Zypern. Teil 2. Schildkroten, Echsen und Schlangen. Herpetofauna 11(62): 17–26.
Nagy, Z.T., Lawson, R., Joger, U. & Wink, M. 2004. Molecular systematics of racers, whipsnakes and relatives (Reptilia, Colubridae) using mitochondrial and nuclear markers. Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research 42(3): 223–233. DOI: 10.1111/j.1439-0469.2004.00249.x Paywall Reference page.

Additional references

Schätti, B. & Utiger, U. 2001. Hemerophis, a new genus for Zamenis socotrae Günther, and a contribution to the phylogeny of Old World racers, whip snakes, and related genera (Reptilia: Squamata: Colubrinae). Revue suisse de zoologie 108(4): 919–948. BHL Reference page.
Utiger, U. & Schätti, B. 2004. Morphology and phylogenetic relationships of the Cyprus racer, Hierophis cypriensis, and the systematic status of Coluber gemonensis gyarosensis Mertens (Reptilia: Squamata: Colubrinae). Revue Suisse de Zoologie 111(1): 225–238. BHL Reference page.
Venchi, A. & Sindaco, R. 2006. Annotated checklist of the reptiles of the Mediterranean countries, with keys to species identification. Part 2 -Snakes (Reptilia, Serpentes). Annali del Museo Civico di Storia Naturale "Giacomo Doria" XCVIII: 259–364.
Baier, F., Nicolaou, H. & Rödder, D. 2014. A species distribution model for the endemic Cyprus whip snake (Hierophis cypriensis) is consistent with a transient period isolated evolution in the Troodos Range. The Herpetological Journal 24 (3): 175-181. PDF
Kyriazi, P., Kornilios, P., Nagy, Z.T., Poulakakis, N., Kumlutaş, Y., Ilgaz, Ç., Avcı, A., Göçmen, B. & Lymberakis, P. 2013. Comparative phylogeography reveals distinct colonization patterns of Cretan snakes. Journal of Biogeography 40(6): 1143–1155. DOI: 10.1111/jbi.12057 Paywall


Uetz, P. & Hallermann, J. 2023. Hierophis cypriensis. The Reptile Database. Accessed on 7 July 2021.
Wolfgang Böhme, Petros Lymberakis, Pierre-André Crochet. 2009. IUCN: Hierophis cypriensis (Endangered). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2009: e.T61443A12485322. DOI: 10.2305/IUCN.UK.2009.RLTS.T61443A12485322.en. Accessed on 12 June 2023.

Vernacular names
Deutsch: Zypern-Zornnatter
English: Cyprus Whip Snake

The Cyprus whip snake (Hierophis cypriensis) is a species of snake in the family Colubridae. It is endemic to Cyprus.[2]

Its natural habitats are temperate forests, Mediterranean-type shrubby vegetation, freshwater marshes, intermittent freshwater marshes, and water storage areas. It is one of the three species of the genus Hierophis. No subspecies are currently recognized. It is threatened by habitat loss.

Wolfgang Böhme, Petros Lymberakis, Pierre-André Crochet (2009). "Hierophis cypriensis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2009: e.T61443A12485322. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2009.RLTS.T61443A12485322.en. Retrieved 16 November 2021.
Hierophis cypriensis at the Reptile Database

Reptiles of Cyprus

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