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Prof. Dr. Bayram GÖÇMEN

Zoologist, Herpetologist, Protozoologist/Parasitologist,             Nature Photographer

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(Sauria: Eublepharidae) of the WORLD

Eublepharis macularius (Blyth, 1854)

(Leopard Gecko, Fat-Tailed Gecko, Panther Gecko, Spotted Leopard Gecko)

 

Bufo viridis specimen from Kilis (Turkey)

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

 

Eublepharis macularius fasciolatus (courtesy by Dr. Yuri Kaverkin)

ani.gif (1653 bytes) Eublepharis macularius fasciolatus

 

Eublepharis macularius afghanicus (courtesy by Dr. Yuri Kaverkin)

ani.gif (1653 bytes) Eublepharis m. afghanicus

Cyrtodactylus macularius Blyth, 1854:737—738 (Type locality: Salt Range, Punjab; Holotype: ZSI).

Eublepharis macularius: Zarudny, 1903:9—10.

Eublepharis sp.: Szczerbak and Golubev, 1986:28, fig. 7.

Eublepharis macularius montanus (Courtesy by Dr. Yuri Kaverkin)

ani.gif (1653 bytes) Eublepharis macularius montanus

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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 each with several distinct small tubercles (Fig. E in key); mid-dorsal tubercles generally larger than intertubercular spaces; chinshields usually in contact with first lower labials (Fig. C in key); elements of dorsal color pattern not linearly arranged. Additional diagnostic characters (Grismer, 1988:442-450; 1991: 251-252): height of auditory meatus 11/2 times inter-nostril distance; rounded ventral scales in 21-30 rows; rostral twice as wide as high; 3 transverse rows of ventral scales in each caudal whorl; mental shorter than wide; 46-57 eyelid fringe scales; “cleft terminal subdigital lamellae” (see remarks below); widely spaced, pronounced and pointed dorsal tubercles, much smaller inter-tubercle granules; ventral scales rounded, in 21-30 transverse rows at midbody; dorsal scales of regenerated tail circular and slightly convex; conspicuous supratemporal bone present; a straight pterygoid-palatine suture; a longitudinally-directed crest on ventral portion of basioccipital anterior to spheno-occipital tubercles, posterior section of basioccipital smoothly rounded; posterior margin of coronoid shelf does not contact the adductor fossa; clavicle extending above scapulocoracoid and making broad contact with the supras­capula.

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Color pattern: Dorsal color of adults straw yellow to pale violaceous gray in life, often with tinge of pink; dorsum with blue-black spots, in some cases discrete and sparse, in others fusing into a reticulum; usually traces of dark juvenile bars remain visible. Juveniles dark brown to black dorsally, with two or three wide yellow bars across trunk, a white nape-band extending forward through ear onto lips. (Minton, 1966:73). See Szczerbak and Golubev (1986:27-28; 1996:27) for sexual dichromatism and age variation. Recently, captive breed­ers have selected color variants for the pet trade that exceed the variation observed in the field (see, for example, Tremper, 1997:16-17 for color photos). Apparently, the parental stock for the current pet trade came originally from Pakistan, probably Sind.

Size: Specimens from Pakistan measure to 158 mm snout-vent length. Males are larger than females.

Habitat: The specimens collected by Zarudny and identified as this species were found on hard clay soil strewn with sand where there were numerous bushes of Zygophyllum. The Clarks collected Eublepharis macularius in eastern Afghanistan on fairly open alluvial soil (Clark, et al, 1969:303). Minton (1966:73) found them in rock wall crevices in Pakistan.

Distribution: From eastern Afghanistan south of the Hindu Kush and the Northwest Frontier Provinces and apparently generally through Pakistan south to Rajputana and the Khandesh District of India. In Iran, geckos tentatively assigned to this taxon are known only from Zarudny’s record in eastern Khorasan.

Remarks: Zarudny collected two specimens which were lost before they could be deposited in the collections at St. Petersburg. He felt assured of his identification, due to the unique form of the tail, which, he said, could not be confused with that of any other lizard. Thus, there is little doubt that he collected Eublepharis, but in view of the recently recognized differences among the various populations, it is by no means certain that the geckos of eastern Khorasan are E. macularius. Eublepharis turcmenicus occurs in the mountains of northern Khorasan, E. macularius montanus is a name given by Börner (1976:9) to the westernmost population in Pakistan, while specimens in eastern Afghanistan have been named E. afghanicus by Börner (1976:10-12). Adding to the nomenclatural confusion is the fact that Börner (1974) described as a new species (E. gracilis) a live zoo specimen, locality unknown, but possibly from “inner or coastal [sic] Afghanistan” (Börner, 1976:12). Kluge (1991:8) lists E. fasciolatus Günther, 1864, E. afghanicus Börner, 1974, E. montanus Börner, 1976, E .fuscus Borner, 1981, and E. smithi Börner, 1981 as recognized subspecies of E. macularius, following Grismer’s (1988:455) summary classification. See Szczerbak and Golubev (1986:6; 1996:5-6) for their comments on the nominal species and subspecies in the genus. They regard E. fasciolatus Günther as well as Börner’s taxa, based largely on color pattern differences, as synonyms of F. macularius. They point out that changes in coloration among eublepharines depend on the physiological condition of the animal, particularly on hormonal factors.

Because it breeds easily in captivity, Eublepharis macularius is currently a popular animal in the pet trade (see, for example, Black, 1997:10-18), and is thus easily available for scientific research as well (e.g., Autumn and Denardo, 1995). To what extent conclusions based on captive animals of unknown provenance are transferable to populations in nature is problematical.

Eublepharis macularius afghanicus Börner, 1976

(Afghan Leopard Gecko, Afghan Spotted Fat-Tailed Gecko)

Type locality & Distribution: Mainly from the Lowgar province of Afghanistan ( along side Pol-e-Alam near Alazi ) but it is also fairly distributed through out the Vardak and Paktika provinces along the Shinkay hills in Afghanistan.

Color Pattern: The dorsal color of adults straw yellow to bright to pale yellow, dorsum with some scattered with blue-black spots, in some cases discrete and sparse and in others fusing into a reticulum. A continous light verteberal stripe, bordered on each side in some specimens by a very light colored broken black stripe from occiput to base of tail, majority are uniformly colored in yellow.

Head with a pattern of dark and light reticlations, no horsehoe shaped mark dark or light, on nape. Limbs with numerous light blotches, tail with numerous irregular dark transverse markings, wider than the light interspaces, venter light tan.  A juvenile has three light yellow transverse bars across dorsum, first on posterior part of neck and shoulders, second at midbody, third anterior to sacral region, middle bar largest, approximately aqual to lighter interspaces, which are interspersed with dark tubercles, margins of dark bars than their central portions.

Size: On an average large male specimens meassure about 15.5 to 16 cm in (S-V) Snout-Vent length and females meassure about 14.5 cm to 15 cm S-V length.

Habitat: They inhabit the rocky deserts and sparse grasslands with clay soil but avoid sand. In the wild they live in large colonies and are quite abundant from mid-April until late May although late collections is not uncommon that is till the end of August to mid September. Our collection areas are centered along the Gardeyz and Pol-e-Alam stretch.

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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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