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Zoology in the Middle East

Volume 65, Issue 2, 2019

0939-7140 (Print), 2326-2680 (Online)

© Taylor & Francis

All articles, both print and online versions, are fully copyright-protected.

Covered in the Science Citation Index Expanded (SCIE).

ZME is published by Taylor & Francis Group.

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Geographic distribution patterns of melanistic Arabian Wolves, Canis lupus arabs (Pocock), in Saudi Arabia (Mammalia: Carnivora)

M. Zafar-ul Islam, Ahmed Boug, Abdullah Shehri and Lucas Gonçalves da Silva

Melanism is a common colour polymorphism in carnivores, and may have adaptive relevance in certain ecological scenarios. This coat colour variation is present in Arabian Wolves Canis lupus arabs, a widely distributed species in the Arabian Peninsula, especially in western Highlands of Saudi Arabia. Data collection involved field surveys conducted between 2010 and 2017 including active searches for black wolf carcasses, records of live animals encountered during field surveys, and by using >100 camera traps. Niche models were generated for non-melanistic and melanistic wolves based on environmental predictors aiming to discover geographic patterns of distinct phenotypes distribution in this area. In this study, melanistic wolves were recorded at 12 locations from western highlands ranges. Niche model predicts suitability for melanistic and non-melanistic wolves mainly in western highlands and found that melanistic wolves were encountered in regions where moisture is high, predicting a close relationship between humidity and the presence of black animals.

Zoology in the Middle East 65(2), 2019: 95-103.

Low genetic diversity in the vulnerable Goitred Gazelle, Gazella subgutturosa (Cetartiodactyla: Bovidae), in Iran: potential genetic consequence of recent population declines

Rasoul Khosravi, Mansoureh Malekian, Mahmoud-Reza Hemami, Teresa Luísa Silva and José Carlos Brito

The Goitered Gazelle, Gazella subgutturosa, is the most widespread gazelle species in the Middle East and central Asia inhabiting desert and semi-desert habitats. Today it is threatened and its geographic range and population size have experienced significant decline in the last decades. In Iran, the remnant populations are confined to fragmented habitats. We aimed to characterise genetic diversity and phylogenetic status of the populations of Goitered Gazelle in Central Iran and to evaluate the potential effect of a historic population bottleneck on the genetic variation of today’s population. We used noninvasive sampling to uncover structure and level of genetic variation in a fragment of the cytochrome-b gene from 170 samples. Genealogical analyses were performed using HKY+I model and phylogenetic trees reconstructed using Bayesian inference and maximum likelihood. We found extremely low levels of genetic variation, with altogether only five haplotypes in samples from different populations. Overall haplotype diversity was 0.081 and nucleotide diversity 0.0003. The mean observed mismatch between any two sequences was 0.093 with the largest peak for small numbers. The mismatch distribution fit the model of population expansion and suggested that gazelles had experienced a sudden expansion. An unrooted median-joining network analysis of mtDNA haplotypes showed a star-like structure which few mutations steps separating the haplotypes from other regions. Our findings strengthen the urgency of preserving the species’ genetic diversity to prevent local extinction.

Zoology in the Middle East 65(2), 2019: 104-115.

Hope for the White-headed Duck, Oxyura leucocephala (Aves: Anatidae) in Turkey despite a declining breeding population and abandonment of its traditional wintering area?

Arzu Gürsoy-Ergen

The development of the breeding and non-breeding populations of the White-headed Duck, Oxyura leucocephala, in Turkey was analysed based on all available records from the period 1966–2016 from 99 different areas. Breeding is confined to Inner Anatolia and the eastern parts of the country. The breeding population had been estimated as 200–250 pairs in the period 1996–2001 but recent observations show that it does now not exceed 80–125 pairs which is a decline of about 50% within two decades. The non-breeding winter population comprises approximately 8,500–10,000 individuals. Burdur Lake has traditionally housed more than 90% of the population but is no longer a significant resting place. The numbers started to decrease from more than 10,000 birds at the beginning of the 1990s to a few hundred in the early 2000s. Now only very small numbers overwinter there. The reason seems to be a combination of water pollution and decreasing water level. After a period of more than 10 years, the numbers in Turkey started to increase again, and most birds are now concentrated at Manyas Lake in Western Anatolia. In 2016, the population reached a winter maximum of approximately 6,000. In the post-breeding season, up to 4,000 individuals were recorded in Eastern Anatolia in October 2014 which is far more than has ever been recorded in this season before.

Zoology in the Middle East 65(2), 2019: 116-127.

Mitochondrial phylogeny and biogeography of the genus Gobio (Teleostei: Cyprinidae) in Turkey

Ismail Aksu and Yusuf Bektaş

Species of the cyprinid genus Gobio Cuvier, 1816 are widely distributed in freshwater lakes and rivers in Turkey, which is a hotspot for freshwater fish diversity and endemism. The mitochondrial 16S, coxI and cytb genes were sequenced for 217 individuals representing 15 species of Gobio from Turkey. A total of 23 haplotypes were identified for each mitochondrial gene. The genetic distance matrices show that Turkish Gobio species are clustered into three groups (northwestern, central and northeastern Anatolia). Phylogenetic trees constructed with combined dataset by using maximum parsimony, maximum likelihood and Bayesian inference methods revealed that the Turkish Gobio species belongs to three well-supported groups in accordance with their geographic distribution: Group I comprises species found in Central Anatolia, Group II species ranging from eastern Thrace to western Anatolia (northwestern Group) and Group III contains only one species from Western Transcaucasia (northeastern Group). The estimated divergence times between the three Gobio groups, calculated using a conventional 1% rate of mutation for a fish mitochondrial cytb gene per million years, coincide with the late Miocene period in which the tectonic uplift of Anatolia and global climate fluctuations occurred. The relatively low genetic distance between Gobio species in the Turkish Lake District indicate that they are not good species.

Zoology in the Middle East 65(2), 2019: 128-141.

Taxonomic status of the Mediterranean-endemic goby Pomatoschistus adriaticus Miller, 1973 inferred with both morphological and genetic data

Dilruba Seyhan Öztürk and Semih Engin

Minor morphological differences between the Atlantic and Mediterranean populations of Pomatoschistus pictus (Malm, 1865) resulted in the description of two subspecies of this species by Miller (1973): Pomatoschistus pictus pictus and P. p. adriaticus. However, the similarity of morphometric and meristic characteristics led to an ambiguity about their status. Despite high morphological similarities between the Atlantic and Mediterranean populations, we found that the population in the Sea of Marmara (Erdek) differs from the Atlantic population in terms of the frequency of papillae in the occipital rows g and h, the position of the suborbital row b and the colouration of the second dorsal fin. Examination of the DNA sequence of the COI gene showed that the K2P genetic distance between the population in the Atlantic and the Sea of Marmara (Erdek) was 7.9%, while the minimum interspecific distance between any other Pomatoschistus species was determined as 4.3%. We concluded based on the combined genetic and morphological results that the population in the Sea of Marmara represents a species that is distinct from the Atlantic species P. pictus. It is likely that it belongs to Pomatoschistus pictus adriaticus described in the Adriatic Sea and should be given a species rank.

Zoology in the Middle East 65(2), 2019: 142-150.

Two new species of Hedychrum Latreille from the Middle East and Pakistan (Hymenoptera: Chrysididae)

Paolo Rosa

Hedychrum zenobia sp. n. is described from Syria and Iraq, and H. linsenmaieri sp. n. from Pakistan. They belong to the H. cirtanum species group hereby established, which includes some of the largest Palaearctic Hedychrum species, characterised by a modified metascutellum projecting over the propodeum, a deep mid-tibial groove in the male and an apicomedial tooth on the third metasomal sternum in the female. Hedychrum cirtanum var. minusculum du Buysson, 1898 is transferred to the genus Hedychridium Abeille de Perrin, 1878 and elevated to species rank as Hedychridium minusculum (du Buysson, 1898) stat. n.

Zoology in the Middle East 65(2), 2019: 151-162.

Biology, ecology and distribution of the Date Stone Beetle, Coccotrypes dactyliperda (Coleoptera: Curculionidae)

Dirk H. R. Spennemann

This paper reviews the biology and ecology of the cryptic seed boring beetle Coccotrypes dactyliperda. Hibernating as an imago inside a seed, it can withstand mild winters, only to emerge in spring, spawning up to five generations during spring and summer. Coccotrypes dactyliperda is a comparatively long-lived Coleoptera species that has proven to be highly adaptable at infesting seeds of a wide range of palm species and thus was able to become naturalised in most subtropical and warm temperate environments.

Zoology in the Middle East 65(2), 2019: 163-182.




The invasive sea urchin Diadema setosum provides shelter for coastal fish – first observations from the Mediterranean Sea

Murat Bilecenoğlu, Mehmet Baki Yokeş and Murat Draman

Zoology in the Middle East 65(2), 2019: 183-185.

A newly identified breeding site in the Aegean Sea and a status update for Audouin’s Gull Larus audouinii in Turkey (Aves: Laridae)

Ortaç Onmuş and Onur Gönülal

Zoology in the Middle East 65(2), 2019: 186-188.



Zoology in the Middle East