Zoology in the Middle East

Volume 44, 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.

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Mustafa Sozen, Ahmet Karatas, Fawzi Alsheyab, Adwan Shehab, Zuhair Amr

Karyotypes of seven rodents from Jordan (Mammalia: Rodentia)

Abstract. We present here data on the karyotypes of seven species of rodents from Jordan. The karyotype of Acomys dimidiatus was found to be 2n= 38, NF= 70; Acomys russatus russatus and A. r. lewisi 2n= 66, NF= 94; Apodemus flavicollis 2n= 48, NF= 48; Apodemus mystacinus 2n= 48, NF= 52; Meriones tristrami 2n= 72, NF= 76; Skeetamys calurus 2n= 38, NF= 70; Allactaga euphratica 2n= 48, NF= 96. Of these species, the karyotypes of A. flavicollis, A. mystacinus, S. calurus, and A. euphratica are here reported for the first time from Jordan.

Key words. Karyotype, rodents, Muridae, Gerbillidae, Dipodidae, Jordan, Middle East.

Zoology in the Middle East 44, 2008: 3-10.     |   Preview (abstract/cover page) (PDF)    |    Order article...

Salim Javed, Shahid Khan, Junid Nazeer Shah

Breeding status of the Red-billed Tropicbird, Phaethon aethereus (Aves: Phaethontidae), on Jarnein Island, United Arab Emirates

Abstract. The Red-billed Tropicbird, Phaethon aethereus breeds only on three islands in the United Arab Emirates. In March 2007, extensive searches and mapping of tropicbird nests were carried out on Jarnein Island in Abu Dhabi, UAE. A total of 217 nests was recorded of which 71% (155) were active with either chick or egg or adult bird present. Considering only those nests with birds or other signs (egg or chick) present, the 155 nests represent an almost 150% increase on previous estimates. Of the 217 nests, nearly 40% were with grown-up chicks while nearly 28% were with adult birds, either incubating or tending downy chicks. The three main hills and all small rocky outcrops with crevices are extremely important for tropicbird conservation on the island as these habitats account for more than 85% of the entire UAE breeding number. The tropicbird is a priority species for conservation in the UAE and protection of the biggest breeding site is essential for the long-term conservation of the species in the UAE.

Key words. Red-billed Tropicbird, Phaethon aethereus, Jarnein island, United Arab Emirates, breeding, conservation.

Zoology in the Middle East 44, 2008: 11-16.     |   Preview (abstract/cover page) (PDF)    |    Order article...

Mohammad E. Sehhatisabet, Bahram Kiabi, Ali Pazuki, Helen Alipanah, Abdolghassem Khaleghizadeh, Hasan Barari, Reza Basiri, Fatemeh Aghabeigi

Food diversity and niche-overlap of sympatric tits (Great Tit, Parus major, Blue Tit, Cyanistes caeruleus and Coal Tit Periparus ater) in the Hyrcanian Plain forests

Abstract. This study was carried out between early summer 1998 and late summer 1999 in the Hyrcanian Plain forests, the southern Caspian Sea woodlands. In total, the gizzard contents of 241 specimens of the Great Tit (Parus major Linnaeus, 1758), Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus Linnaeus, 1758), and Coal Tit (Periparus ater (Linnaeus, 1758)) were collected so that the percentages of grit, plants and animal materials could be estimated and the plant and invertebrate species consumed identified. The data were tested by a series of Mann-Whitney U, ANOVA and Kruskal-Wallis tests. To survey niche overlap of food materials between species and season, the symmetrical overlap index developed by Pianka (1973) was used. The most important invertebrates (maximum of percentage per season) in the diet of P. major were Coleoptera (36.5%) and Lepidoptera (33.6%), for C. caeruleus Coleoptera (34.5%) and Araneae (31.2%), and for Pe. ater Coleoptera (38.2%) and Araneae (35.6%). The most important plants consumed by P. major were Sorghum halepense (68.7%) and Ficus carica (65.6%), by C. caeruleus were F. carica (67.5%) and Alnus glutinosa (39.4%), and by Pe. ater were Lonicera spp. (82.9%). There was a greater degree of overlap and competition for animal food, but plant feeding overlap among the three tit species was low.  Two species, P. major and C. caeruleus, showed high feeding overlap for animal items (0.92), whereas Pe. ater and C. caeruleus had no significant feeding overlap. The Coal Tit had a greater tendency to forage for vegetable matter and P. major had a greater tendency to forage for animal matter. Analysis of gizzard contents of P. major and Pe. ater showed that, despite the high degree of feeding overlap, the extent of plant materials consumed indicated no significant competition between the two species. Because Pe. ater is present mostly in autumn and winter, this study cannot establish any degree of competition and food-niche overlap during the breeding season between this and other tit species.

Key words. Paridae, feeding, niche-overlap, Hyrcanian forest, Iran, Middle East.

Zoology in the Middle East 44, 2008: 17-30.     |   Preview (abstract/cover page) (PDF)    |    Order article...

M. Zafar-ul Islam, Khairi Ismail, Ahmed Boug

Re-introduction of the Red-necked Ostrich, Struthio camelus camelus, in Mahazat as-Sayd Protected Area in central Saudi Arabia

Abstract. As the Arabian Ostrich Struthio camelus syriacus, a distinct subspecies, became extinct in the wild during the mid-20th century, the most closely related subspecies, S. c. camelus occurring in north-eastern Africa, has been chosen for reintroduction into Saudi Arabia. A few individuals of this Red-necked Ostrich were obtained from Sudan in 1988-89 from a private collection, and in 1994 a few birds were translocated to Mahazat as-Sayd Protected Area into a 25 ha fenced enclosure. So far a total of 96 Red-necked Ostriches has been released into the fenced Mahazat as-Sayd and the estimated population is between 125 and 150 individuals. Since captive flocks of Ostriches were translocated to Mahazat, their survival rate increased by >41% up to the end of 2000. On an average 22-30 chicks are hatched annually. A total of 137 Ostriches was recorded dead over the period of 13 years during the drought period. Both captive-bred and wild-born adults and young died of starvation and thirst, despite being provisioned with alfalfa and water during several years.

Key words. Red-necked Ostrich, reintroduction, Mahazat as-Sayd Protected Area, Saudi Arabia, drought, Middle East.

Zoology in the Middle East 44, 2008: 31-40.     |   Preview (abstract/cover page) (PDF)    |    Order article...

Hamed Cheatsazan, Vahideh Rabani, Atabak Mahjoorazad, Haji Gholi Kami

Taxonomic status of the Yellow-Headed Agama, Laudakia nupta fusca (Blanford, 1876) (Sauria: Agamidae)

Abstract. The taxonomic status of Laudakia nupta fusca (Blanford, 1876) is reevaluated using metric, meristic and qualitative characters of adults and juveniles of the Iranian populations and comparative material of L. nupta nupta (de Filippi, 1843). Two juveniles of fusca, and two adults and one juvenile of nupta, were collected from Kuh-e Bang, east of Bandar-e Genave, Bushehr province, southern Iran, which proved to be the contact zone of fusca and nupta. Morphological analyses show rigorous separation in the distinguishing meristic features, position of the nostril openings, the tail length and most details of the colouration of these subspecies in their contact zone as well as in other parts of their range. Several diagnostic differences are alsoshown. Based on the co-occurrence of these subspecies in Kuh-e Bang and morphological clues for their reproductive isolation at this site, they are recognised as full species.

Key words. Taxonomy, systematics, evolution, contact zones, zoogeography, Middle East.

Zoology in the Middle East 44, 2008: 41-50.     |   Preview (abstract/cover page) (PDF)    |    Order article...

Elagba H. A. Mohammed, Dawi M. Hammad

Notes on a sympatric population of two species of spiny-tailed lizards in Sudan: Uromastyx dispar Heyden, 1827, and U. ocellata Lichtenstein, 1823 (Sauria: Agamidae)

Abstract. A series of 27 Uromastyx was collected at Abu Hammad, Nile State, northern Sudan, consisting of two distinct, sympatric species: three U. dispar Heyden, 1827 and 24 U. ocellata Lichtenstein, 1823. The morphological analysis of these specimens reveals some data exceeding the previously known range of variability in these two species, including the maximum length.

Key words. Uromastyx dispar, Uromastyx ocellata, morphology, cluster analysis, Sudan.

Zoology in the Middle East 44, 2008: 51-56.     |   Preview (abstract/cover page) (PDF)    |    Order article...

Farzaneh Nazari-Serenjeh, Farhang Torki

Additional specimens of the gecko Asaccus nasrullahi Werner, 2006 (Reptilia: Phyllodactylidae), with notes on taxonomy and ecology

Abstract. Eight specimens of the gecko Asaccus nasrullahi, which was described by Werner in 2006 based on a single specimen from the western Iranian plateau, were collected from a new locality in the Malekoh region, southern Lorestan province, approximately 178 km west of the type locality. Important morphological features are: no tubercle on arm and occipital, tubercles on neck only very few or absent, tubercles on back in 7-12 rows, dorsal tubercles not keeled and conical, number of postmentals 2-3. The variation of morphological characters and colour pattern in A. nasrullahi is described. Based on the new material, the validity of A. nasrullahi as a full species, distinct from A. griseonotus and other species of Asaccus, is confirmed. Observations on taxonomy, ecology and behaviour are given.

Key words. Asaccus nasrullahi, taxonomy, ecology, behaviour, Iran, Middle East.

Zoology in the Middle East 44, 2008: 57-66.     |   Preview (abstract/cover page) (PDF)    |    Order article...

Payam Sargeran, Majid Bakhtiyari, Asghar Abdoli, Brian W. Coad, Koorosh Sarvi, Mehdi Rahmati Lishi, Abdolmajid Hajimoradloo

The endemic Iranian Cave-fish, Iranocypris typhlops: two taxa or two forms based on the mental disc?

Abstract. The objective of this study was to investigate morphometric and meristic characteristics of Iranocypris typhlops, comparing new material having a mental disc with those lacking a disc. 24 morphometric and 9 meristic variables were measured. Statistical analyses used cluster and discriminant methods, which showed significant morphometric differences between the two groups (Wilk’s Lambda, p<0.05). Additionally, fish with a disc had less pectoral and pelvic rays compared to fishes without a disc. Fishes without a disc generally had a bipartite swimbladder; in contrast, fishes with a disc had unipartite and bipartite swimbladders in an equal ratio. There may also be some differences in feeding habits between these two groups. Fish with a disc can attach to and graze on the substrate. A significantly longer intestinal length in fishes with a disc may also be indicative of a detrital feeding habit.

Key words. Iranian cave-fish, Iranocypris typhlops, mental disc, morphology, multivariate analysis.

Zoology in the Middle East 44, 2008: 67-74.     |   Preview (abstract/cover page) (PDF)    |    Order article...

Martinez Jean-Jacques Itzhak

Seed harvester and scavenger ants along roadsides in Northern Israel

Abstract. Roads and their edges are important factors of human disturbance in natural landscapes. It is generally admitted that roadsides support more scavengers and seed harvester insects than habitats around them. I used ground-nesting ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) to test these hypotheses in a Mediterranean region of Israel. Twice in three different habitats (roadsides and range areas of shrub steppe (bata) and open maquis) I looked for ant nests in 90 plots, each of which measured 80 square metres. The dominant species was the seed-harvester Messor semirufus (André, 1883) that built more nests along roads than in the natural habitats. The distances between neighbouring nests were shorter in road verges than in nature. Subdominant species were scavengers Tapinoma israele Forel, 1904 and Tapinoma erraticum (Latreille, 1798) that nested equally in the studied habitats. In total, I found 131 nests of 23 ant species (10 % of species living in Israel). Species richness and Alfa biodiversity index were equal in the three habitats, while species composition was different, and nest number was higher in the roadsides. Beta turnover index of Wilson and Shmida indicated a net contribution of roadsides to general ant biodiversity. In conclusion the results of this research support the hypothesis that seed-harvester ants are more abundant in roadsides than in habitats around them, but they do not support the second hypothesis that scavenger species show the same pattern.

Key words. Biodiversity, Formicidae, Hymenoptera, Mediterranean Bata and Maquis, Messor, Tapinoma.

Zoology in the Middle East 44, 2008: 75-82.     |   Preview (abstract/cover page) (PDF)    |    Order article...

Anitha Saji, Andrew E. Whittington

Ant-lion fauna recorded in the Abu Dhabi Emirate (Neuroptera: Myrmeleontidae)

Abstract. The desert areas of the Abu Dhabi Emirate supply suitable habitats for a species-rich ant-lion fauna. A faunistic survey was conducted for adult myrmeleontids, using light traps in 11 desert sites of Abu Dhabi during a five-year period between 1993 and 2004. A total of 27 species were found, of which 24 are recorded in Abu Dhabi for the first time. They belong to 14 genera: Centroclisis, Iranoleon, Lopezus, Myrmecaelurus, Ganguilus, Creoleon, Distoleon, Gepus, Geyria, Neuroleon, Quinemurus, Solter, Cueta, and Palpares. A short diagnosis of each species is given and their geographic ranges are noted.

Key words. Ant-lion, Myrmeleontidae, biodiversity, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirate.

Zoology in the Middle East 44, 2008: 83-100.     |   Preview (abstract/cover page) (PDF)    |    Order article...



Short Communications

Arash Ghoddousi, Amirhossein Khaleghi Hamidi, Taher Ghadirian, Delaram Ashayeri, Mona Hamzehpour, Hamed Moshiri, Hamid Zohrabi, Leila Julayi

Territorial marking by the Persian Leopard (Panthera pardus saxicolor Pocock, 1927) in Bamu National Park, Iran

Zoology in the Middle East 44, 2008: 101-103.   |    Order article...

Moayyad Sher Shah, Peter Cunningham

Fences as a threat to Sand Cats, Felis margarita Loche, 1858, in Saudi Arabia

Zoology in the Middle East 44, 2008: 104-106.   |    Order article...

Attila D. Sandor, Zoltán Orban

Food of the Desert Eagle Owl, Bubo ascalaphus Savigny, 1809, in Siwa Oasis, Western Desert, Egypt

Zoology in the Middle East 44, 2008: 107-109.   |    Order article...

Ali Uzun, Belgin Uzun

Comparison of nestling nutrition and growth of Black-crowned Night Heron, Nycticorax nycticorax, and Little Egret, Egretta garzetta

Zoology in the Middle East 44, 2008: 110-113.   |    Order article...

Christophe Tourenq, Maral Khaled Shuriqi, Kristi Foster, Greg Foster, Christophe Chellapermal, Debra Rein

First record of a Bowmouth Guitarfish, Rhina ancylostoma, in northern Oman, with an up-date on the status of elasmobranchs (sharks and rays) in the United Arab Emirates

Zoology in the Middle East 44, 2008: 114-118.   |    Order article...

Libor Dvorak, James M. Carpenter

The first record of the paper wasp Polistes smithii neavei von Schulthess, 1921, from the Middle East (Hymenoptera: Vespidae), with notes on the social wasp fauna of Yemen

Zoology in the Middle East 44, 2008: 119-120.   |    Order article...



Zoology in the Middle East