Diagnosis: Subdigital lamellae smooth (Fig. D in key); mid-dorsal tubercles not as large as intertubercular
spaces; chin shields in contact with first lower labials (Fig. C in key);
ventral scales hexagonal; some elements of color pattern of head and body linearly
arranged in adults; males with uninterrupted
series of 11-17 preanal pores, pores discernible
in females. Grismer (1988:442-450; 1991:251-252) gives additional diagnostic characters: height of auditory meatus equal
to distance between nostrils; mental scale shorter than wide; 41-48 eyelid fringe scales; widely spaced, pronounced and pointed
dorsal tubercles, much smaller inter-tubercle granules; hexagonal ventral scales in 27-38 longitudinal rows; width of rostral 1½ times its height;
undivided terminal lamellar scales; 2-3 transverse rows of
ventral scales in each caudal whorl; dorsal scales of regenerated tail circular and
slightly convex; supratemporal bone present; smooth basioccipital; clavicle extending
above the scapulocoracoid and making broad contact with the suprascapula. Autapomorphies
(Grismer, 1988): pterygoid-palatine suture sharply
V-shaped and posteriorly directed in its lateral margin; the only species of the genus
in which the posterior margin of the coronoid shelf
makes contact with the adductorfossa.
Color pattern: Adults with a
continuous light vertebral stripe, bordered on each side by a broken black stripe from
occiput to base of tail; dark markings not confined primarily to tubercles and immediately
surrounding scales (as in Eublepharis macularius from
Afghanistan and Baluchistan) but confluent, linearly arranged along either side of
vertebral stripe; dorsolateral dark markings also linearly arranged, confluent with
transverse markings; head with a pattern of dark and light reticulations; no
horseshoe-shaped mark, dark or light, on nape; limbs with numerous dark blotches; tail
with numerous irregular dark transverse markings, wider than the light interspaces; venter
light tan. A juvenile has 3 dark transverse bars across dorsum, first on posterior part of
neck and shoulders, second at midbody, third anterior to sacral region; middle bar
largest, approximately equal to lighter interspaces, which are interspersed with dark
tubercles; margins of dark bars darker than their central portions.
Males 142-154 mm snout-vent length, tail 97-100 mm; females 126-127 mm
snout-vent, tail 86-90 mm. Smith (1935:128) cites an Iranian
specimen (as Eublepharis macularius) measuring
165 mm snout-vent.
Natural history: When alarmed, these lizards raise
themselves high off the ground, even standing on their fingers and toes (S. Anderson,
1963:fig. 8). When captured, they give a long, loud, rattling squeak and attempt to bite.
They often defecate, wrapping the short tail around their captor’s hand. This may aid
them in autotomizing the tail. In many ground-dwelling geckos caudal autotomy is basal,
but in four specimens of Eublepharis angramainyu in
which the tail has been broken and regenerated, the break is in the fifth caudal segment;
in a single juvenile the break has occurred at the 10th segment. Two geckos were picked up
dead on the road after being run over by automobiles, and in these the tails had been
dropped at the base.
Two females, one collected May 22, the other August 20, have
eggs in the oviducts; all other females, collected April 19, May 13, May 21, and September
5, have a single large egg (about 6-7 mm long)
and several smaller eggs in each ovary. This suggests a rather long season of
reproduction, probably several clutches of two eggs each being laid by each female.
Stomach contents include grasshoppers, scorpions, solpugids, large spiders,
beetles, and other arthropods. Most of these creatures were seen on the roads at the same
hours that the lizards were captured. Most likely, these large geckos will eat anything
abroad at night that they can catch and overpower.
Foxes were observed feeding on individuals killed on the road, and probably
prey regularly on them. Jackals, wolves, and owls are also abroad at night in the same
region, as is Telescopus tessellatus, probably a
Habitat: Specimens were collected on surfaced roads at
night, and were fairly abundant on a few nights from mid-April until late May. A specimen
was collected in late August as well. The area in which they were found is in the western
foothills of the Zagros Mountains, in a region of extensive gypsum deposits. They were
never found under stones in the area, and most likely they spend the day in the deep
crevices and small caverns in the gypsum. In these retreats there is water for much or all
of the year, and the relative humidity is fairly high. Other than the seasonal plantings
of grains and the annual herbaceous plants in the spring, the hillsides where this animal
lives are devoid of vegetation.
These geckos were collected when air temperatures were between
320C and 34.40C, road temperatures were 32.60C to 36.40C
and at least 20C higher than the surrounding soil temperature.
Distribution: Known from the western foothills of the Zagros
Mountains, and the upper Tigris-Euphrates drainage in Iran, Iraq, and northeastern Syria.
300 to 1000 m elevation.
recently have discovered from the Western parts
of SE Anatolia (Birecik, Urfa).
Remarks: A specimen from near the village of
Chalga, south of Chem-che, Kirkuk Liwa, Iraq and another from Khanaquin, Iraq agree in all
essentials with the Iranian series. Attempts to investigate the critical maximum
temperatures for this species have been reported elsewhere (S. Anderson, 1963:436-437).
The habits of this species are apparently similar to those of Eublepharis macularius as recorded by Minton
(1966:73). The Schmidtlers (1970:239-241) have given an account of E. angramainyu maintained in captivity. Murray
(1884) in The Vertebrate Zoology of Sind states:
“There is, however, some risk attending the careless handling of these lizards, when
killed or freshly preserved in spirit. The tubercles with which their bodies are studded
contain a very irritant secretion, which, coming in contact with the naked skin of the
back of the hand or other part of the body, occasions a numbness followed by a painful
swelling of that part, and subsequently a species of Herpes
which the natives in Sind cure by the application of a poultice made of chalk paste.”
Prof. Dr. Steven C. Anderson has handled several captive E.
macularius as well as the numerous specimens of E. angramainyu that he captured in the field. Many of these animals were in an
agitated state, yet never did he encounter any secretion from
the tubercles. Eublepharis macularius has been
kept in captivity frequently in recent years, but no reports of defensive secretions.
Grismer (1989) placed Eublepharis
ensafi Baloutch and Thireau in the synonymy of E. angramainyu.
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