Zoology in the Middle East

Volume 43, 2008


ISSN 0939-7140
Kasparek Verlag, Heidelberg
All articles are fully copyright-protected (both print and online versions)

Covered in the Science Citation Index Expanded (SCIE). Admitted to ISI Master Journal list and covered by the BioSciences Information Service (Biosis Previews) and Biological Abstracts, the Zoological Record and many other review organs.

Price per article: Euro 10.00 (plus Euro 2.00 postage/handling)


James M. Bishop, Adel H. Alsaffar

Quantitative observations on marine mammals and reptiles of Kuwaits Boubyan Island

Abstract. Quantitative observations were recorded on air breathing marine vertebrates in the immediate vicinity of Boubyan Island from 17 February 2004 through 1 March 2005. In 398 hours of observation time during daylight, we made 159 sightings of Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphins (Sousa chinensis) for a combined total of 524 individuals. We also recorded 38 individual sea-snake (Hydrophis spp.) sightings. No marine turtles were observed during the study period. Pod size of the dolphins ranged from one to at least 30. Of the 159 sightings, 40% was comprised of a single individual, and 26% consisted of pairs. Pods of 10 or more members were observed on 13 occasions. Overall, we saw an average of 1.35 Sousa for each hour of observation time. Seasonal counts peaked in the spring with nearly 2 Sousa/h, and reached 3.3/h in April. Observation rates in the winter dipped to less than 0.7 Sousa/h. Khor Abdullah had the highest overall observation rate with 2.6 Sousa/h, and in the fall, this rate jumped to 4.3/h. In comparison, Hydrophis sea snakes were few with an overall observation rate of 0.1/h. This low number reflects the fact that sea snakes are present mostly in the summer, and are far less noticeable. Seasonal observation rates peaked in the summer with nearly 0.3/h and dipped to zero during the winter months. Sea snakes initially showed up in April when water temperature was just over 21C, and were no longer observed in November when water temperatures dropped from >20C in October to about 15C by December. Both Sousa and Hydrophis are relatively long-lived, apex species and could serve as environmental indicators for Boubyan Islands planned development. Monitoring population abundances and tissues for contaminants is recommended.

Key words. Sousa, Hydrophis, sea snake, dolphin, Arabian Gulf, Kuwait, Middle East.

Zoology in the Middle East 43, 2008: 3-12.     |   Abstract (PDF)    |    Order article...

Harun Guclusoy

Interaction between Monk Seals, Monachus monachus (Hermann, 1779), and artisanal fisheries in the Foa Pilot Monk Seal Conservation Area, Turkey

Abstract. The present study examines some aspects of the interaction between critically endangered Monk Seals Monachus monachus and artisanal fisheries in the Foa Pilot Monk Seal Conservation Area, Turkey, between 1994 and 2002. One to four permanent researchers collected the data on this interaction during seal sighting data enquiries. Interviews with the fishermen provided a total of 448 seal sighting records, of which 142 were collected around the fishing gear. Loligo vulgaris taken from a lure and Conger conger were reported by fishermen for the first time as Monk Seal prey. Of the 142 encounters by Monk Seals with the fishing gear, 6 were of animals entangled by the floating rope of the nets. The establishment of permanent or temporary no-fishing zones (in view of the 4-month lactation period) to prevent the entanglement of suckling pups in breeding sites is proposed as an appropriate management practice.

Key words. Aegean Sea, İzmir Bay, endangered species, operational interaction, marine mammal.

Zoology in the Middle East 43, 2008: 13-20.     |   Abstract (PDF)    |    Order article...

Roohollah Siahsarvie, Jamshid Darvish, Alimorad Sarafrazi

Geometric morphometric comparison of the mandibles of three species of vole of the genus Microtus (Rodentia: Arvicolinae) from northern Iran

Abstract. Morphological differences in the mandible among four populations of the genus Microtus belonging to three species from Iran (M. socialis from northwestern Iran, M. paradoxus from the Kopet-Dag Mountains, M. paradoxus from the Binaloud Mountains, and M. transcaspicus from northeastern Iran) were studied by the landmark-based geometric morphometric method. No significant difference was found in the mandible shape of the two different populations of M. paradoxus, nor in their mandible overall size (by estimation of the centroid size). The three species are significantly different on the basis of the total mandible size, while the differences in the mandible shape among M. paradoxus and M. socialis are non-significant. Both canonical variate analysis and UPGMA cluster analysis indicate a high morphometric distance among M. transcaspicus and the other taxa, conforming the division of social and Transcaspian voles into two different species groups, the socialis-group and arvalis-group respectively. Changes in the mandible shape are mostly localized in the coronoid and angular processes.

Key words. Microtus paradoxus, M. socialis, M. transcaspicus, geometric morphometrics, landmarks, mandible, systematics, Iran, Middle East.

Zoology in the Middle East 43, 2008: 21-29.     |   Abstract (PDF)    |    Order article...

W. Maartin Strauss, Moayyad Sher Shah, Mohammed Shobrak

Rodent trapping in the Saja/Umm Ar-Rimth Protected Area of Saudi Arabia using two different trap types

Abstract. Small mammal trapping was carried out in the Saja/Umm Ar-Rimth Protected Area to determine the species composition and to compare standard-length Sherman and commonly available cage traps. Five rodent species were captured from December 2002 to December 2003. The cage traps consistently trapped more rodents than the Sherman traps and the Baluchistan Gerbil, Gerbillus nanus, showed a clear preference for the cage traps. There was no marked difference in the failure rates of the two trap types. Seasonally, the trapping frequencies were not randomly distributed, with higher capture rates for most species during the cool season. Significant differences were recorded in the mean weights of the five rodent species captured, but no significant difference existed between the mean weights of the rodents successfully captured in either trap type. We conclude that both trap types were successful in trapping rodents in the observed weight range, and that species-specific behavioural differences and/or differences in trap design could affect trap efficiency. Consequently it is advisable to use a combination of trap types when studying rodent ecology. It is also strongly recommended that pilot studies be conducted to help identify any potential shortcomings in study design and field procedures.

Key words. Gerbil, jerboa, pilot study, small mammal, monitoring, Sherman traps, Saudi Arabia, Middle East.

Zoology in the Middle East 43, 2008: 31-39.     |   Abstract (PDF)    |    Order article...

Ahmad Barati, Ali Akbar Amerifar

On the status of the Great Bustard, Otis tarda Linnaeus, 1758 (Aves: Otididae) in Kurdistan Province, Iran

Abstract. The relative density and population fluctuations of Great Bustards, Otis tarda, were assessed during breeding and non-breeding seasons in Kurdistan province, western Iran, during 1975-2005. The survey was based on field studies (1992-2005) and data collected by the Department of the Environment of Iran, Kurdistan office (1975-1991), in five areas. At two of these sites (Chehar douli and Dashte-Ghaz), Great Bustards became extinct, while numbers in the other areas are declining rapidly due to a decrease of the size of suitable habitats. In 2005 only 10 Great Bustards were recorded in the whole province. Without effective conservation measures, it seems inevitable that the species will become extinct in this region and may face extinction in Iran.

Key words. Great Bustard, Otis tarda, population trend, Kurdistan, Iran, Middle East.

Zoology in the Middle East 43, 2008: 41-48.     |   Abstract (PDF)    |    Order article...

Yossef Kiat, Gidon Perlman, Amir Balaban, Yossi Leshem, Ido Izhaki, Motti Charter

Feeding specialization of urban Long-eared Owls, Asio otus (Linnaeus, 1758), in Jerusalem, Israel

Abstract. The diet of Long-eared Owls (Asio otus) that breed and hunt within the grounds of a bird-ringing station located in a large city park in Jerusalem, Israel, was investigated. 13 species of bird were the most common prey group (91% by number) with a frequency of occurrence of 99% in pellets, with House Sparrows, Passer domesticus, and Blackcaps, Sylvia atricapilla, as the most frequent prey species (22% and 17% by number). 29% of the bird specimens found in pellets had been ringed at the ringing station. The frequency of residential and migratory passerines caught by Long-eared Owls and ringed at the ringing station was similar, whereas more migrants were captured and ringed during the spring than summer. A comparison of bird species that were hunted relative to their frequency in the habitat revealed that the owls caught more Sylvia warblers than expected. Long-eared Owls in this study most probably specialised on birds because of the abundance of passerines and the lack of small mammals.

Key words. Long-eared Owl, Asio otus, Israel, prey selection, diet.

Zoology in the Middle East 43, 2008: 49-54.     |   Abstract (PDF)    |    Order article...

Gianluca Serra, Mahmud Scheisch Abdallah, Ghazy al Qaim

Feeding ecology and behaviour of the last known surviving oriental Northern Bald Ibises, Geronticus eremita (Linnaeus, 1758), at their breeding quarters in Syria

Abstract. The last handful of individuals from the eastern population of the critically endangered Northern Bald Ibis (Geronticus eremita) have been closely observed and monitored during the breeding seasons 2002-2004 and 2006 in their breeding quarters in the Syrian desert. The home range used by the ibises was estimated to be up to about 450 km, which was already partly included in a specific protected area established by the Syrian authorities in 2004. Their main feeding habitat was a stony and sparsely vegetated open and gently undulating steppe. This feeding habitat is heavily overgrazed by the sheep flocks of the Bedouin nomads, and the native shrub coverage has almost completely disappeared due to uprooting for firewood. Another key feeding habitat are the man-made reservoirs, where ibises fed on larvae of Eastern Spadefoot Toads (Pelobates syriacus), perhaps the most profitable prey occurring at their breeding quarters. The bulk of the diet of Syrian breeding ibises is estimated to be a mixture of beetles (mainly ground beetles, Tenebrionidae), grasshoppers (Acrididae) and young toads all found to be preyed upon by ibises. A ground mantis and an isopod species, as well as lizards, may possibly be important components of the diet as well. A daily need for drinking water was found. Ibises seemed to hunt their prey both by sight and by probing with the tip of the bill in underground holes and under stones. The foraging behaviour of ibises was highly gregarious and quite conservative during each breeding season and over the years: they tended to use the same feeding areas from year to year, with a similar temporal sequence. Ibises fed at increasingly higher feeding areas throughout the breeding season, starting from about 400 m asl in February and reaching about 950 m asl in June-July.

Key words. Geronticus eremita, critically endangered, Syrian desert, Middle East, feeding habitats, diet, behaviour.

Zoology in the Middle East 43, 2008: 55-68.     |   Abstract (PDF)    |    Order article...

Bayram Gocmen, Ahmad M. Disi, Mehmet Zulfu Yildiz

On the occurrence of Blanus strauchi aporus Werner, 1898 and Chalcides guentheri Boulenger, 1887 (Reptilia) in the Mediterranean ecozone of Syria

Abstract. The amphisbaenian Blanus strauchi aporus has been rediscovered in  Matn Abu Rayya, Tartous, with a voucher specimen, after approximately 125 years. The distribution area of Gnthers Skink Chalcides guentheri, recorded from Syria for the third time, is extended some 140 km to the north-east (Al Wardiyat, Hims) of its previous northernmost locality of Mazbud (Saida), Lebanon.

Key words. Blanus strauchi aporus, Chalcides guentheri, Syria, distribution, Middle East.

Zoology in the Middle East 43, 2008: 69-74.     |   Abstract (PDF)    |    Order article...

Mehregan Ebrahimi, Soheila Javanmardi, Hamid Reza Esmaeili, Haji Gholi Kami

Embryo and larval development of Iranian Near Eastern Brown Frogs, Rana macrocnemis pseudodalmatina Eiselt & Schmidtler, 1971 (Amphibia: Ranidae), in Alang Dareh Forest, north-eastern Iran

Abstract. In 2001 we studied the morphological development of the Near Eastern Brown Frog, Rana macrocnemis pseudodalmatina. 327 egg clutches were found at low water depths on the edges of Alang Dareh pond on 14 January 2001. The surface water of the pond was frozen on some days, and we also observed several egg clutches and males of R. m. pseudodalmatina which were frozen. The first larvae hatched on 23 January 2001. Cannibalism was observed among these tadpoles. Metamorphosis takes place from early April to late June. The external morphology, variations in ontogeny, and scanning electron microscopy of the oral disc were studied in tadpoles of Rana macrocnemis pseudodalmatina. Tadpoles in all stages possess a labial tooth row formula (LTRF) of 3(2)/4(1). Small denticles were present on the distal portion of each tooth in the oral disc. There were also some abnormal denticles on some teeth. In addition, 8 embryo stages, 10 larval stages and the oral disc were drawn. Morphological larval data were provided to help diagnose this closely related complex of Brown Frogs (R. macrocnemis).

Key words. Morphology, embryo, larvae, R. m. pseudodalmatina, Iran, Middle East.

Zoology in the Middle East 43, 2008: 75-84.      |   Abstract (PDF)      |    Order article...

Jamileh Pazooki, Masoud Sheidai, Mehdi Mardani Korani

A systematic and ecological study of Aphanius vladykovi Coad, 1988 (Actinopterygii: Cyprinodontidae) in Iran

Abstract. A multivariate statistical analysis was performed on the morphological characters of four populations of Aphanius vladykovi. Factor analysis revealed that interlocality morphological variations consist of characters such as total length, predorsal length, preventral length, preanal length, head length, head width and head depth. By using one way ANOVA analysis of 38 meristic and morphometric characters examined for males and females, 33 were significantly different (p<0.05) among all populations. Three localities for Aphanius vladykovi were found for the first time. The species is mainly carnivorous and generally has the same diet at all four stations examined. The gut contents consisted mostly of Diaptomus, Daphniae and filamentous algae. This fish forms schools, swimming and feeding together. Teeth are found in both jaws of the superior mouth in a single row and are tricuspid.

Key words. Systematics, ecology, Aphanius vladykovi, Cyprinodontidae, Iran, Middle East.

Zoology in the Middle East 43, 2008: 85-89.     |   Abstract (PDF)    |    Order article...

Christodoulos Makris, Gabriel Georgiou, Kevin Austin, Emma Small

Additions to ourknowledge of the ground beetle (Coleoptera: Carabidae) fauna of Cyprus

Abstract. Twelve species of ground beetle (Coleoptera: Carabidae) previously unreported or considered unconfirmed from Cyprus are listed as new or confirmed for the island on the basis of new material and re-examination of museum specimens. Additional information is provided on the date, method of capture and locality. Notes are provided on specimens from four species previously reported from the island which were re-examined and found to have been incorrectly determined.

Key words. Carabidae, Coleoptera, ground beetles, faunistics, Cyprus.

Zoology in the Middle East 43, 2008: 91-98.     |   Abstract (PDF)    |    Order article...

Vladislav I. Monchenko

Redescription of the Oriental Thermocyclops taihokuensis (Harada, 1931) (Copepoda: Cyclopoida) from its westernmost population

Abstract. A full redescription of the Oriental cyclopoid copepod Thermocyclops taihokuensis (Harada) is given from its most western area, the river Uzboy in West Turkmenistan, based on metric and meristic characters and their statistical processing. The most significant feature of the species, a shortened inner apical spine on segment 3 of endopodite P4, and some other morphological characters are compared with those of five other populations from the extensive range of the species. This comparison characterises the Uzboy population as a western peripheral isolate.

Key words. Cyclopoida, Thermocyclops taihokuensis, westernmost population, redescription, Turkmenistan.

Zoology in the Middle East 43, 2008: 99-104.     |   Abstract (PDF)    |    Order article...


Short Communications

Ahmad Barati, Farhad Ataii

Observations on the breeding of the Ferruginous Duck, Aythya nyroca (Gldenstdt, 1770), at Lake Zarivar, Kurdistan Province, Iran

Zoology in the Middle East 43, 2008: 105-107.   |    Order article...

Maria Corsini-Foka, Marco Masseti

On the oldest known record of the Nile Soft-shelled Turtle, Trionyx triunguis (Forskl, 1775), in the Eastern Aegean islands (Greece)

Zoology in the Middle East 43, 2008: 108-110.   |    Order article...

Asghar Abdoli, Pooneh Rasooli, Saiid Soltaninasab

A contribution to the biology of Acanthalburnus urmianus (Gnther, 1899)(Osteichthyes: Cyprinidae): an endemic fish of Iran

Zoology in the Middle East 43, 2008: 111-112.   |    Order article...

Bekir Keskin, Ersen Aydin Yagmur

A new record for the Tenebrionidae fauna of Turkey: Akis subtricostata Redtenbacher, 1850 Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae)

Zoology in the Middle East 43, 2008: 113-114.   |    Order article...

Saliha Coruh, Hikmet Ozbek

New and rare species of Ichneumonidae (Hymenoptera) from Turkey

Zoology in the Middle East 43, 2008: 114-116.   |    Order article...

Babak Gharali, Jeroen van Steenis

First record of the genus Spilomyia Meigen, 1803 (Diptera: Syrphidae) from Iran

Zoology in the Middle East 43, 2008: 116-118.   |    Order article...

Hakan Demir, Aydin Topcu, Osman Seyyar

Contribution to the knowledge of the Philodromidae Arachnida: Araneae) of Turkey

Zoology in the Middle East 43, 2008: 118-120.   |    Order article...



Zoology in the Middle East