a genus of poisonous snakes of the family Colubridae. The genus embraces two species, which are distributed in southern Europe, Southwest Asia, and North Africa. The single species found in the USSR, M. monspessulanus, occurs in the eastern Caucasus and in Kalmykiia; it measures up to 1.7 m in length. The coloring is grayish olive with dark transverse stripes on the sides.
The snakes inhabit arid foothills and rocky, clayey, and sandy semideserts. They feed on lizards, snakes (including poisonous species), and rodents. The bite of the snake is lethal to small animals. The female deposits as many as 20 eggs.