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Zoology in the Middle East

Volume 65, Issue 3, 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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Limiting factors of Striped Hyaena, Hyaena hyaena, distribution and densities across climatic and geographical gradients (Mammalia: Carnivora)

Hila Shamoon and Idan Shapira

Few previous studies on the factors that affect Striped Hyaena (Hyaena hyaena Linnaeus, 1758) occurrence and densities were done on geographically unrelated populations using different methodologies. In Israel, hyaenas occur throughout the country’s steep climatic and geographical gradients, presenting a unique opportunity to study densities and habitat use across adjacent ecosystems using a unified methodology and test previous conceptions regarding the species’ habitat selection. We collected hyaena abundance-absence data using 1440 camera traps placed at 80 sites (2012–2016). Site location ranged from hyper-arid deserts to dense Mediterranean shrubland. We assessed the effect of climate, habitat structure, elevation, geomorphological attributes (proxy for den availability), and anthropogenic development (proximity to settlements and agriculture) on hyaena densities using N-mixture models. Hyaena densities were negatively affected by anthropogenic development, and were limited by den availability. Hyaena densities did not follow a climatic or geographic gradient. Densities were highest at hyper-arid deserts and Mediterranean coastal shrublands. Despite the former conception that hyaenas prefer semi-arid open habitats and avoid extreme deserts and dense vegetation, we show that hyaenas use and even thrive in these habitats when geomorphological conditions are suitable and resources are available.

Zoology in the Middle East 65(3), 2019: 189-200.

Confirmation of Acrocephalus scirpaceus avicenniae (Aves: Acrocephalidae) from mangroves on the Red Sea coast near Jazan, southwest Saudi Arabia

Jem Babbington, Christopher Boland, Guy M. Kirwan, Abdullah Alsuhaibany, Hadoram Shirihai and Manuel Schweizer

Members of the Eurasian (or Common) Reed Warbler complex, Acrocephalus scirpaceus, are widespread across much of Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia. With its relatively complex taxonomy, the identity of several local (and sometimes remote) populations remains somewhat unresolved. In Saudi Arabia, populations of reed warblers were first identified in mangroves at Yanbu’ on the Red Sea coast in 1984, with several subsequent records up to 900 km further south toward the Yemen border. We took morphological data from 51 individuals and genetic material from three individuals captured near Jazan in southwest Saudi Arabia. Both genetic and morphometric data confirmed that these birds belong to the taxon A. scirpaceus avicenniae, sometimes referred to as the Mangrove or Red Sea Reed Warbler.

Zoology in the Middle East 65(3), 2019: 201-207.

The species identity and biogeography of Blanus (Amphisbaenia: Blanidae) in Lebanon

Daniel Jablonski and Riyad A. Sadek

The genus Blanus Wagler, 1830 represents limbless, burrowing reptiles of the family Blanidae with disjunct circum-Mediterranean distribution. The recently described species Blanus alexandri Sindaco, Kornilios, Sacchi & Lymberakis, 2014 is known from south-eastern Turkey with a presumed occurrence in the Levant and Iraq. We provide here records from Lebanon and confirm the affiliation of Lebanese populations to this species by mitochondrial and nuclear DNA. Blanus alexandri comprises at least seven deeply evolved phylogenetic clades with up to 11% of uncorrected p-distances in their mitochondrial DNA. This suggests a probably older than the Miocene origin of some of these clades. Populations from Lebanon form a different clade with a genetic diversity that is close to populations from southern Turkey.

Zoology in the Middle East 65(3), 2019: 208-214.

The occurrence of two xanthochromic fish, Epiniphelus marginatus (Serranidae) and Diplodus vulgaris (Sparidae) (Osteichthyes) in the eastern Mediterranean

Daniel Golani, Maria Corsini-Foka and Yaron Tikochinski

Xanthism in fishes has a genetic basis that causes abnormal skin colouration of yellow to orange-gold. Xanthochromic specimens are rare in nature. We report two cases of adult xanthochromic specimens from the Mediterranean Sea: Epinephelus marginatus from Israel and Diplodus vulgaris from Greece and discuss the reason for the paucity of reports of xanthochromic fish from the Mediterranean.

Zoology in the Middle East 65(3), 2019: 215-220.

Taxonomic status of the loaches Paracobitis vignai and P. rhadinaea (Teleostei: Nemacheilidae) in Iran

Golnaz Sayyadzadeh, Hamid Reza Esmaeili and Soheil Eagderi

The crested loaches of the genus Paracobitis from the Sistan basin (Iran) are reviewed based on morphological and mitochondrial cytb and COI sequences characters to check the status of taxa in phylogenetic trees. Paracobitis rhadinaea (Regan, 1906) and P. vignai Nalbant & Bianco, 1998 were known only based on minor morphological differences (presence or absence of scales, caudal fin shape, colour pattern and fish size). We failed to find any diagnostic molecular and morphological characters between them. Therefore, we regard P. vignai as a junior synonym of P. rhadinaea.

Zoology in the Middle East 65(3), 2019: 221-229.

A new species of Polydrusus (Polydrusus) Germar (Coleoptera:Curculionidae) from the Kurdistan region of Iraq

Halgurd Rashed Ismael Akrawi and Talal Tahir Mahmoud

Polydrusus (s. str.) akreanus sp. n. is a new record of Curculionidae found in Iraqi Kurdistan. The new species is described, illustrated and compared with Polydrusus (s. str.) kadleci Borovec & Germann, 2013 known from Turkey and Iran, which is morphologically similar to the new species.

Zoology in the Middle East 65(3), 2019: 230-235.

New record of the butterfly Euchrysops cnejus (Fabricius) from Oman, with notes about phylogeographic patterns of E. cnejus and E. osiris (Hopffer) (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae)

Zdenek Faltynek Fric, Lukas Besta, Vladimir Hula, Pavel Vrba, Meenakshi Irungbam, Jatishwor Irungbam, Nikolai Ignatev and Jana Maresova

We document the occurrence of the Oriental butterfly species Euchrysops cnejus in northern Oman. It is very similar to E. osiris whose distribution extends from the Afrotropical region into Dhofar, southern Oman. Oman is thus the only country where both species co-occur. The two species differ in genitalia and in molecular data. We show that based on the COI marker, E. cnejus and E. osiris are sister species and the Oman populations of E. osiris are closely related to the population from continental Africa. Haplotype diversity is lower in E. cnejus, than in E. osiris. Genetic differences were found between the Australian, Oriental and Oman populations of E. cnejus but available data were not sufficient to clarify the origin of the Oman population.

Zoology in the Middle East 65(3), 2019: 236-244.

Population genetic structure and phylogeography of the oak gall wasp Andricus chodjaii (Hymenoptera: Cynipidae) in Turkey as inferred from mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequences

Serap Mutun, Serdar Dinç and Erhan Çimen

Sequence data of mitochondrial cytochrome b gene and nuclear ITS2 region were used to assess genetic diversity, intraspecific phylogeography and population genetic structure of the oak gall wasp Andricus chodjaii from Turkey. We examined 293 individuals from 21 localities which generated 57 cyt b haplotypes and 8 ITS2 alleles. The average genetic diversity was 0.575 for cyt b and 0.202 ITS2, and the average nucleotide diversity 0.015 for cyt b gene and 0.001 for the ITS2 region. Phylogenetic analyses of cyt b haplotypes produced mostly similar topologies with geographically significant groupings. The ITS2 data provided less resolution without robust and apparent geographic structure. Population demographic analysis indicated that some eastern populations expanded, however, some others underwent either expansion or decline resulting in genetically structured populations. Molecular clock applied to the mtDNA data indicated that ingroup haplotypes diversified from the outgroup haplotypes around Early Pliocene. Further diversification events throughout Pleistocene resulted in major clade formations. It appears that geographic formations and glacial and interglacial cycles of Pleistocene were crucial for shaping the phylogeographic structure of A. chodjaii in Turkey.

Zoology in the Middle East 65(3), 2019: 245-255.

Two new species of Campopleginae (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae) from Iran

Matthias Riedel, Abbas Mohammadi-Khoramabadi and Mohammad Khayrandish

We describe two new species of the subfamily Campopleginae, Cymodusopsis persicus sp. n. and Dusona rufigaster sp. n. from Iran. Differential diagnoses, detailed descriptions and illustrations of the main characters are given. The genus Cymodusopsis Viereck is newly reported from the Palaearctic region.

Zoology in the Middle East 65(3), 2019: 256-260.

Zercon kadiri sp. n., a new oligophagous mite from Eastern Anatolia (Acari: Mesostigmata: Zerconidae)

Mehmet Karaca

A new species of the family Zerconidae, Zercon kadiri sp. n., is described based on female, male, deutonymph and protonymph specimens. The material was collected in litter and soil under stone pines (Pinus pinea) in the Malatya Province of Turkey. The similarities and differences between the related species within the same genus are discussed.

Zoology in the Middle East 65(3), 2019: 261-267.

Description of a new pseudoscorpion species of the genus Amblyolpium Simon (Pseudoscorpiones: Garypinidae) from north-western Iran

Mahrad Nassirkhani and Mojtaba Mohammad Doustaresharaf

A new species of pseudoscorpion, Amblyolpium atropatesi n. sp. is described and illustrated on the basis of the adult specimens extracted from soil by Berlese funnel.

Zoology in the Middle East 65(3), 2019: 268-273.

A survey of running crab spiders (Araneae: Philodromidae) in Iran

Maryam Torabi, Majid Moradmand and Christoph Muster

Nine species and four genera of Philodromidae are identified and recorded from various parts of Iran including Pulchellodromus medius (O. Pickard-Cambridge, 1872) (genus and species new to Iran) and Thanatus setiger (O. Pickard-Cambridge, 1872) (new to Iran). The male of Rhysodromus hierosolymitanus (Levy, 1977), which was previously known only from females, is described and diagnosed here.

Zoology in the Middle East 65(3), 2019: 274-279.




Confirmed sightings of the Killer Whale, Orcinus orca, in Iranian waters (Mammalia: Cetacea)

Nazanin Mohsenian, Hamed Moshiri, Amin Tollab, Hamid Reza Bargahi, Gill T. Braulik, Georgina L. Gemmell and Tim Collins

Zoology in the Middle East 65(3), 2019: 280-282.



Zoology in the Middle East