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Prof. Dr. Bayram GÖÇMEN

Zoologist, Herpetologist, Protozoologist/Parasitologist,             Nature Photographer

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(Sauria: Eublepharidae) of the WORLD

Eublepharis angramainyu Anderson & Leviton, 1966

(Western Leopard Gecko, Iranian Fat-Tailed Gecko)

 

Bufo viridis specimen from Kilis (Turkey)

A female Green toad, Bufo viridis specimen from Kilis (Turkey), photo by B. Göçmen.

Eublepharis macularius: Boulenger, 1885a: 97 (in part; not Blyth, 1854). -F. Werner, 1917:197; 1936:200. -Smith, 1935:128. -S. Anderson, 1963:435-437, fig. 8.

Eublepharis angramainyu S. Anderson and Leviton, 1966a: 1-5, figs. 1-2 (Type locality: between Masjed Soleyrnan and Batvand, Khuzestan Province, Iran; Holotype: CAS 86384). -S. Anderson, 1968:332. -J. J. Schmidtler and J. F. Schmidtler, 1970:239-241, figs. 1-2. -Tuck, 1971b: 56. -S. Anderson, 1974:31, 43-Schleich, 1977:127, 129. -Darevsky, 1978:207-208, fig. 3. Welch, 1983:6. -Szczerbak and Golubev, 1986:29-30 [1996:29], fig. 7. -Grisrner, 1988:441-452. -Kluge, 1991:8. -Leviton et al, 1992:36-37, col. p1. 4H. -Kluge, 1993: 10.

Eublepharis ensafi Baloutch and Thireau, 1986:281-288, figs. 1-6 (Type locality: Fakke, ca 150 km N Ahvaz, Iran; Holotype: Musée Facultë des Sciences de Tehran 456).

Eublepharis angramainyu (photo by Mr. Josef F. Schmidtler, after Prof. Anderson's Book)

Eublepharis angramainyu

Eublepharis angramainyu from SE Anatolia (Birecik, Urfa, Turkey) (Photo by Dr. Bayram Göçmen)

ani.gif (1653 bytes) Eublepharis angramainyu from Anatolia

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Macrovipera lebetina lebetina from Cyprus

Blunt-nosed viper,  Macrovipera lebetina lebetina from Dikmen, N. Cyprus, photo by B. Göçmen.

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.

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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.

Size: 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 lizard-eating snake.

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. It also 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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White-striped skink,  Eumeces pavimentatus

A female White-striped skink,  Eumeces pavimentatus specimen from Adana (Turkey), photo by B. Göçmen.

 

 

female Desert cobra  Walterinnesia aegyptia specimen from Kilis

A female Desert cobra,  Walterinnesia aegyptia specimen from Kilis (Turkey), photo by B. Göçmen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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