Diagnosis: Subdigital lamellae with weakly developed small
tubercles; chin shields not in contact with first lower labials; ventral scales hexagonal;
elements of dorsal color pattern not linearly confluent, 5-9 preanal pores, interrupted medially by 1-4 scales lacking pores (Fig. A in key); mental scale shorter than wide; 54-55 eyelid fringe
scales; widely spaced, pronounced and pointed dorsal tubercles, much smaller
inter-tubercle granules; hexagonal ventral scales in 20-22 longitudinal rows; width of
rostral 1½ times its height; undivided terminal subdigital lamellar scales; 3-4
transverse rows of ventral scales in each caudal whorl; dorsal scales of regenerated tail
circular and slightly convex; supratemporal bone present, but smaller than in all other members of genus; 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 the scapulocoracoid and making broad contact with the
suprascapula (Grismer, 1991:251-252).
Color pattern: Dorsum
pinkish-white, with pattern of irregular elongate dark brown blotches on head, irregular roundish to squarish dark brown spots
on back arranged to form more or less distinct broad transverse bars, these bars more
distinct on tail; limbs with scattered dark spots; venter immaculate white.
Snout-vent 130 mm, tail 80 mm. Kaverkin and Orlov (1996:99) give
the overall length (tail included) of a hatchling female as 83.5 mm.
Habitat: Stony foothills of the
Kopet Dagh, occupying hill slopes composed of crumbled schists and rock fragments and
covered with Artemisia and Ephedra and
sometimes trees, Paliurus spinachristi. They
have been collected where burrows of Microtus
afghanus, Meriones persica, or Ochotona rufescens were common. (Szczerbak and
Golubev, 1986:30; 1996:31).
Natural history: See Szczerbak and Golubev (1986: 31-33; 1996: 31-32)
and Rustamov et al. (1985). Rösler and Szczerbak (1993) recorded observations
on growth, color pattern development and feeding for a young female specimen from
Turkmenistan in captivity. Kaverkin and Orlov (1996: 99) recorded their experiences with
captive breeding of this species. Szczerbak and Golubev (1986:32; 1996:32) report food
items from the feces of a single individual as including Heteroptera, Hymenoptera,
Coleoptera, and a lacertid, probably Eremias
strauchi. These authors also provide remarks on behavior of captive specimens.
Distribution: Known only from the valleys of the Kopet Dagh
in northern Iran and adjacent southern Turkmenistan.
Remarks: Through the courtesy of Ilya Darevsky, Prof. Dr.
Steven C. Anderson examined a single specimen of this species in 1966, and more recently,
a second specimen (CAS 184771), also from Turkmenistan (39007’N/55008’E),
collected by Theodore Papenfuss and Robert Macey. This taxon appears to be closest to Eublepharis macularius, but it is intermediate
between E. angramainyu and E. macularius in certain characters. In E. angramainyu the subdigital lamellae are
absolutely smooth, while in F. macularius they
bear distinct small tubercles; in E. turcmenicus the
lamellae are weakly but distinctly tuberculate. The dorsal color pattern is broken up into
dark blotches, some of the blotches rather linearly arranged, but not longitudinally
confluent as they are in E. angramainyu; remnants
of two dorsal crossbars can just be distinguished. The mid-dorsal tubercles are subequal
to the intertubercular spaces, more like E.
macularius than E. angramainyu. In the
specimens Prof. Steven C. Anderson examined there were 7 and 8 preanal pores, the series
interrupted in two places by scales without pores in one specimen, and in the center in
the other, differing in this respect from the other two species; the mental is followed by
two large chin shields in contact with one another, or separated by a scale, but the chin
is more like that of E. macularius in lacking
rows of conspicuously enlarged scales between labials and gulars. The mental scale is
shorter than wide, as in E. macularius and E.. angramainyu. Grismer (1988:446) states that E. macularius is the only eublepharid species other
than Aelunoscalabotes that has a cleft terminal
subdigital lamella. In none of the specimens of E.
macularius, angramainyu, or turcmenicus that
Prof. Anderson examined can he find a cleft subdigital lamella. CAS 184771 has three
ventral caudal scales in the central row of each caudal whorl in the anterior third of
tail, four in the posterior two-thirds, whereas specimens of E. angramainyu have two and three, respectively,
while the E. macularius that Prof. Anderson have
examined have three throughout the length of the tail. I count 21 ventral scales across
the midbody in CAS 184771, whereas Grismer gives 27-38 for E. angramainyu and 2 1-30 for E. macularius. Reluctant to do destructive
dissection on the only available specimen of E.
turcmenicus, Prof. Anderson has not checked Grismer’s osteological characters.
Grismer (1988:442-450), without specimens of
E. turcmenicus, and therefore based on the
literature, felt that E. turcmenicus is
virtually indistinguishable from E. angramainyu, and
may be at best subspecifically distinct. Subsequently, be examined three specimens
(Grismer, 1991), which be checked against the character analysis of his previous work. He
concluded that F. turcmenicus is the sister
taxon of E. maculariuss, and E. angramainyu the sister of that clade. The fourth
species, E. hardwickii, is the sister taxon to
all other species in the genus. The question of specific or subspecific differentiation of
allopatric populations is, of course, a philosophical one, dependent upon what species
concept one uses. All of the specimens Prof. Anderson has examined are readily
identifiable with one or another of the four taxa which Grismer recognizes tentatively at
the species level. Grismer’s (1991) conclusions are congruent with the prediction on
biogeographical grounds that E. turcmenicus would
be the sister taxon of E. macularius, considering
the number of reptilian species common to Pakistan and Turkmenistan-Khorassan, but
currently separated by the massif of the Hindu Kush.
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