Zoology in the Middle East
Volume 47, 2009
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)
Arabian Leopard, Panthera pardus nimr, status and habitat assessment in northwest Dhofar, Oman (Mammalia: Felidae)
Abstract. The Arabian Leopard Panthera pardus nimr is considered Critically Endangered by the IUCN and published information about this subspecies is scarce. We assessed the status of the species on the border of one of the most important remnants of its current range, the Dhofar mountain range. In this border area, the relative abundance of leopards (0.067 scats per kilometre) was found to be seven times lower than that reported from prime habitat areas in Dhofar. This result suggests that the leopard occurs in this border area in low numbers or uses it only intermittently. This is compatible with expected sub-optimal conditions found along the borders of the species’ ranges. Furthermore, herders have reported that leopards used to be encountered more frequently in earlier times, which is also supportive evidence of higher vulnerability of this big cat along the edge of its distribution area. However, the habitat of the study area was found to be in relatively good condition, harbouring the leopard’s main prey species and a number of regionally threatened large mammalian fauna, including the Nubian Ibex Capra nubiana, Arabian Gazelle Gazella gazella, Rock Hyrax Procavia capensis, Striped Hyaena Hyaena hyaena sultana, Caracal Caracal caracal schmitzi and Arabian Wolf Canis lupus arabs. Causes of the leopard decline in the area remain unclear, but given the availability of prey it is possible that human interference may have led to the retraction of the leopard’s range.
Key words. Arabian Leopard, Panthera pardus nimr, prey availability, distribution range, population density, habitat, Middle East.
Roohallah Mirzaei, Mahmud Karami, Afshin Danehkar, Asghar Abdoli
Habitat selection of the Eurasian Otter, Lutra lutra, in Jajrood river, Iran (Mammalia: Carnivora)
Abstract. The Jajrood River, with 140 km length in the east of Tehran, was selected for this study. To study otter distribution, 16 sites at about 5 km intervals were selected and otter signs, habitat parameters such as vegetation cover, river width and the presence of fish in the river were recorded for each 600 m stretch by walking its entire length. A total of 599 signs of otter presence (spraints, tracks, holts, rolling places and passes) were identified over the whole study period, the most common being spraints. Otter spraints were found in 6 of the 16 sites, and three core distribution areas were identified. A seasonal change was found in spraint frequency in the study area. Multiple linear regressions was used for predicting the variables that influence sprainting activity. Significant and positive relationships were found between the number of otter signs, the altitude and the presence of pools.
Key words. Eurasian Otter, Lutra lutra, habitat structure, signs, spraint, distribution, Jajrood River, Iran, Middle East.
Gholamreza Naderi, Mahmoud R. Hemami, Borhan Riazii, Aliasghar Alesheikh
Notes on the ecological peculiarities of the Iranian Jerboa, Allactaga firouzi Womochel, 1978 (Mammalia: Dipodidae)
Abstract. The Iranian Jerboa, Allactaga firouzi Womochel, 1978, is restricted to a small part of the Iranian Plateau and has been listed in the IUCN Red List. We have recorded the habitat characteristics in the burrows, observation and capture sites. We could distinuguish four types of burrows including nest burrows, temporal burrows, winter burrows and high shelter burrows. In total, 352 individuals were recorded with flashlight and hand net. All the captured individuals were released after the external characters were measured and the sex determined. The population density ranged from a minimum of 2.3 individuals/Km² to a maximum of 4.4 individuals/km² when juveniles became catchable. Breeding usually occurred from April to May and the highest density occurred in late May. Vegetation structure, soil texture and altitude were found to be the main factors affecting the distribution of this species. Stepwise logistic regression revealed a significant positive association between the presence of Anabasis aphylla and the probability of occurrence of the Iranian Jerboa (P<0.001).
Key words. Iranian Jerboa, habitat associations, distribution, conservation.
Perri Eason, Reginald Victor, Jens Eriksen, Andy Kwarteng
Status of the exotic Ring-necked Parakeet, Psittacula krameri, in Oman (Aves: Psittacidae)
Abstract. The Ring-necked Parakeet, Psittacula krameri, an invasive bird species, first appeared in Oman in 1950 but apparently died out and was not seen again until 1965, when it was re-introduced, probably through the escape or release of captive birds. From then on the species has gradually spread to its present distributional range that includes the Musandam Peninsula, all of the northern Batinah coast, the capital area of Muscat, occasional inland towns, and the area around Salalah in southern Oman. Its introduction to Masirah Island appears to have failed to establish a breeding population. The number of sightings of parakeets in Oman has increased from one per year in the late 1960’s to over 65 per year in 2001-2002. Despite the sightings of a few large flocks, flock size has remained fairly small, increasing from a mean of 1-2 individuals in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s to a mean of 7-8 for most years between 1985 and 2002. To date, the parakeets have been observed in areas that are inhabited by humans and in areas of agricultural development. Thus, the spread of this species within Oman is strongly linked to human activities, probably due to the increased availability of food in such areas. This species has the potential to be a serious pest in Oman consuming cash crops, particularly dates and grains.
Key words. Ring-necked parakeet, Oman, Middle East, invasive alien, distribution, status, GIS database.
Ortac Onmus, Raika Durusoy, Guven Eken
Distribution of breeding birds in the Gediz Delta, Western Turkey (Aves)
Abstract: Atlas mapping of breeding birds in Gediz Delta Ramsar Site on the western coast of Turkey was performed in 2002. The study area of 305 km2 was divided into 305 1x1 km square UTM grids. Breeding evidence was obtained for 92 species in 291 UTM squares; 47 were classified as confirmed breeding, 22 as probable breeding, and 23 as possible breeding. Among the breeding species, three were European species of global conservation concern (Falco naumanni, Pelecanus crispus, Emberiza cineracea), 12 were species with a concentrated population and with unfavourable conservation status in Europe, and 34 were species with their population not concentrated in Europe but with unfavourable conservation status in the region. Among those with a threatened status, 7 species were vulnerable, 4 were rare, 2 were localised, 18 were declining, and 18 were depleted species. During the study, various threats were identified in 173 UTM squares out of 291 (59.5%). Among these, the most frequently observed were pollution observed in 30% of the squares, overgrazing in 22% and illegal hunting in 22%.
Key words. Gediz Delta, breeding bird atlas survey, population monitoring, zoogeography, population status, Turkey, Middle East.
Saman R. Afrasiab, Sarbaz I. Mohamad
A study on cave-dwelling geckos in Iraq, with the description of a new species from Saffine mountain (Reptilia: Gekkonidae)
Abstract. Seven species of gekkonid lizards were found in caves in northern Iraq (Kurdistan province), including a new species, Asaccus saffinae sp. n. An identification key for Asaccus species in Iraq is also presented. Ptyodactylus puiseuxi has been found in Iraq for the first time.
Key words. Asaccus, Kurdistan, Iraq, Middle East, gekkonid lizards.
First record of the freshwater loach, Turcinoemacheilus kosswigi (Bănărescu and Nalbant, 1964), from Iran (Karoun drainage) (Teleostei: Nemacheilidae)
Abstract. Turcinoemacheilus kosswigi (Banarescu and Nalbant, 1964) was recorded for the first time in Iran from the River Karoun drainage, which belongs to the Euphrates-Tigris drainage. Formerly believed to be an endemic species in the basin of River Tigris, it is now recorded in the upper River Euphrates basin. This extension of its recorded range makes it likely that it has been overlooked in other parts of the Euphrates-Tigris system. The species is distinguished from all other loaches by the pelvic-fin origin in front of the dorsal-fin origin and having the anus closer to the pelvic-fin base than to the anal fin origin.
Key words. Iran, Nemacheilidae, Turcinoemacheilus, Karoun drainage, River Dez, first record.
Sayed Ali Johari, Brian W. Coad, Sohrab Mazloomi, Morteza Kheyri, Saba Asghari
Biological and morphometric characteristics of, Capoeta fusca, a cyprinid fish living in the qanats of south Khorasan, Iran (Osteichthyes: Cyprinidae)
Abstract: The siah mahi, Capoeta fusca, is a sub-endemic fish of eastern Iran. We studied morphometric characteristics, diet and reproduction of 600 specimens in qanats of the central zone of Birjand County, South Khorasan Province, from November 2006 to October 2007. The mean total length was 13.5±1.43 cm and maximum length was 21.5 cm. The length-weight relationship of this fish was described by body weight = 0.0101 × total length2.9477 (r2=0.9747). The mean relative length of the gut was 4.42 ± 0.48, suggesting that this species is an herbivorous fish. Similarly, the mean of the vacuity index was 30.95±5.90, and this fish was classified in a relatively gluttonous group. Besides plants as the primary food, molluscs, aquatic insects, and sometimes frog eggs were distinguished as secondary foods. According to the gonadosomatic index, the reproduction period begins in March and lasts into May. Variations of the gastrosomatic index show that feeding is correlated with reproduction. Measurement of salinity resistance in 96 fish showed that this species can withstand up to 10 p.p.t. of salinity indefinitely.
Keywords: Capoeta fusca, siah mahi, qanat, biometry, diet, Birjand, Iran, Middle East.
Fahrettin Kucuk, Davut Turan, Cemalettin Sahin, Iskender Gulle
Capoeta mauricii n. sp., a new species of cyprinid fish from Lake Beyşehir, Turkey (Osteichthyes: Cyprinidae)
Abstract: Capoeta mauricii n. sp. is described from the Lake Beyşehir drainage, in Central Anatolia, Turkey. It is distinguished from other Anatolian Capoeta by having the lips somewhat fleshy and lower lip with developed lateral lobes; a few irregular small black spots on the dorsal and lateral body, dorsal and caudal fins in individuals approximately smaller than 170 mm SL, and body, head and fins plain and without black spots in larger individuals (SL >200 mm); 80-87 total lateral line scales, 18-22 scales between dorsal fin origin and lateral line, 11-14 scales between the anal-fin origin and the lateral line, 16-18 gill rakers on outer side of first gill arch, and small black spots on head, body, and fins.
Key words. Capoeta mauricii, Capoeta, new species, Lake Beyşehir.
Sexual dimorphism in the wing morphology of social vespid wasps – a case study on the genus Polistes Latreille using geometric morphometrics (Hymenoptera: Vespidae)
Abstract. The variation between the forewings of males and females of three species in the genus Polistes (Hymenoptera) was studied with the help of geometric morphometrics, to determine the extent of sexual dimporphism. Mantel statistics revealed a weak correlation between male and female data sets; however, Goodall’s F-test and canonical variates analyses (using the Integrated Morphometric Package) indicated that there are indeed significant differences between the two sexes. Although visual analysis of the relative warp analysis plots of the two sexes and also CVA analysis plot indicated correlations between sexes of the same species, differences in the position of the clusters (or species) on the plots suggests that sexual dimorphism in wings is present. Results from the thin-plate spline analysis of the mean shape of the male and female data sets revealed which landmarks are responsible for the differences.
Key words. Geometric morphometrics, Hymenoptera, Vespidae, sexual dimorphism, Polistes, Iran, Middle East.
Anika Timm, Jörn Buse, Tamar Dayan, Werner Härdtle, Tal Levanony, Thorsten Assmann
At the interface of historical and present-day ecology: ground beetles in woodlands and open habitats in Upper Galilee (Israel) (Coleoptera: Carabidae)
Abstract. Mediterranean landscapes have been used by humans for thousands of years, particularly some areas of the East Mediterranean, e.g. in Israel. This land use has had profound effects on the dynamics of the woodlands in time and space, with the result that woodland regeneration has only been possible during periods of low human population density and hence low levels of grazing. The aim of this paper is therefore to find out how woodland species have been able to cope with the rapidly changing habitats. For this purpose, ground beetles were sampled over a period of one year using 10 pitfall traps per study site at two sites located in the Upper Galilee (northern Israel). The sites comprise two old-growth woodlands, two recent woodlands and two open habitats. The wing development of all sampled species was checked. Carabid beetles belonging to 21 genera and 34 species were found. Most individuals were found in old-growth woodlands On the basis of a detrended correspondence analysis (DCA), the habitat preferences of three ground beetle groups could be distinguished: old-growth woodland species, species of recent woodlands and species of open habitats. We found that two-thirds of the group of open habitat species are brachypterous and three out of the four woodland species are macropterous. Since woodlands with a long ecological continuity are also important for other groups of organisms such as saproxylic beetles, we recommend the conservation of all woodland development stages in the study area.
Key words. Habitat continuity, habitat selection, hindwing polymorphism, Mediterranean, Middle East, pitfall traps, Quercus calliprinos.
Nasrullah Rastegar-Pouyani, Hamzeh Oraei, Morteza Johari
A new record of the gekkonid lizard Tropiocolotes latifi Leviton & Anderson, 1972 from Iran (Sauria: Gekkonidae)
Zoology in the Middle East 47, 2009: 105-107. | Order article...
Two new records of Stenodactylus spp. from Kuwait (Reptilia: Gekkonidae)
Zoology in the Middle East 47, 2009: 108-109. | Order article...
Ozcan Ozen, Hakan Ayyildiz, Dogan Tuncay, Murat Bilecenoglu
First record of Gobius couchi Miller & El-Tawil, 1974 from the Aegean Sea (Pisces: Gobiidae)
Zoology in the Middle East 47, 2009: 109-110. | Order article...
Tahir Ozcan, Kerem Bakir, Valerio Vignoli, Tuncer Katagan
A new record of a sea spider from the Eastern Mediterranean Sea: Ascorhynchus castelli (Dohrn, 1881) (Arthropoda: Pycnogonida)
Zoology in the Middle East 47, 2009: 111-112. | Order article...
Aydin Topcu, Hakan Demir, Osman Seyyar
Contribution to the jumping spider fauna of Turkey (Araneae: Salticidae)
Zoology in the Middle East 47, 2009: 112-113. | Order article...
Mike J. Lush
Some ant records (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) from the Middle East
Zoology in the Middle East 47, 2009: 114-116. | Order article...
Alireza Asem, Behrooz Atashbar, Nasrullah Rastegar-Pouyani, Naser Agh
Biometric comparison of two parthenogenetic populations of Artemia Leach, 1819 from the Urmia Lake basin, Iran (Anostraca: Artemiidae)
Zoology in the Middle East 47, 2009: 117-120. | Order article...