Habitat

Viperines occur in both tropical and temperate environments, and species have adapted to numerous microhabitats. In temperate regions, species also migrate between different habitats during their active season. The common adder, Vipera berus, moves to meadow habitats with populations of rodents during the summer feeding period, whereas it often occurs on south-facing rocky slopes during the spring and mating periods. Distinct groups of vipers have different connections to special habitats. Macrovipera species occur in dry steppe habitats, whereas the subgenus Montivipera is affiliated with rocky habitats in mountains, the subgenus Pelias with moist grasslands, the subgenus Acridophaga with dry grasslands, and so on. In tropical habitats most species are terrestrial, but Atheris species are arboreal. Of the terrestrial species, some are connected to wet forests (Bitis gabonica and B. nasi-cornis), and others are savanna inhabitants (B. arietans).

Pitvipers also occupy a wide variety of habitats in temperate and tropical regions. These habitats include temperate forests (Gloydius caliginosus and Agkistrodon contortrix), tropical wet forests (Hypnale hypnale and Bothrocophias hyoprora), tropical deciduous forests (Calloselasma rhodostoma and Por-thidium ophryomegas), montane pine-oak forests (Crotalus willardi), cloud forests (Atropoides nummifer), deserts (Crotalus cerastes), and grasslands (Sistrurus catenatus). Several genera of tropical pitvipers (Bothriechis, Bothriopsis, Trimeresurus, and Tropidolaemus) are specialized for an arboreal existence, but most pitviper species are primarily terrestrial. Even terrestrial species occasionally are encountered in trees or shrubs, however. The cottonmouth (Agkistrodon piscivorus) is semiaquatic.

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