The phylogenetic relationships of the large Palaearctic vipers (Daboia sensu Obst, 1983) and Eristicophis were investigated using immunological comparisons of blood serum albumin and blood serum electrophoresis. The genus Echis was used for outgroup comparisons. Daboia was found to be polyphyletic. The name Daboia should be restricted to the type species russelli which was found to have the same immunological distance to the lebetina group as the monophyletic Pseudocerastes-Eristicophis group. The lebetina group was found to consist of the four species lebetina, schweizeri, mauritanica and deserti. For this group the generic name Macrovipera is revalidated. The taxa schweizeri and deserti are treated as full species. Vipera palaestinae was found to be the closest relative of the V. xanthina group. Nomenclatural history and distribution of the involved taxa is reviewed. Descriptions and diagnoses for the genus Macrovipera and the included species are given.