Zoology in the Middle East

Volume 65, Issue 4, 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.

For Access Options click here



Inter-dependent movements of Asiatic Cheetahs Acinonyx jubatus venaticus and a Persian Leopard Panthera pardus saxicolor in a desert environment in Iran (Mammalia: Felidae)

Farid Cheraghi, Mahmoud Reza Delavar, Farshad Amiraslani, Kazem Alavipanah, Eliezer Gurarie, Houman Jowkar, Luke Hunter, Stephane Ostrowski and William F. Fagan

We investigated the simultaneous and sympatric movements of a coalition of two Asiatic Cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus venaticus) and a Persian Leopard (Panthera pardus saxicolor), two rare and highly mobile large felids in Bafq Protected Area, Iran. The animals were tracked with GPS collars for 4.5 to 9 months at a temporal resolution of eight hours. The cheetahs used lower elevations areas (average: 1600 m), and remained more distant to the surrounding highways of (average: 14.5 km) than the leopard (average: 1.8 km and 12.3 km, respectively). The leopard’s home range (408 km²) was almost entirely within the larger home ranges of the cheetah coalition (1,137 km²). We found that the leopard approached more closely to either of the cheetahs in the rare occasions when they were separated, though whether that was the response of the cheetahs to the leopard or vice versa is unknown. This interaction eventually culminated in the leopard killing one of the cheetahs, the first documented proof of lethal competition between cheetah and leopard in Iran. The combined risks of larger home ranges beyond the protected areas with higher probability of encounters with humans, of highway crossing, and predation by Persian Leopards contribute to the particularly precarious situation of the Asiatic Cheetah.

Zoology in the Middle East 65(4), 2019: 283-292.

Phylogeographic analysis of Iranian wildcats (Felis lybica / Felis silvestris) as revealed by mitochondrial cytochrome b gene

Marzieh Mousavi, Hamid Reza Rezaei and Saeid Naderi

The wildcat (Felis lybica/Felis silvestris) is widely distributed in Africa and Eurasia. Iran is situated at the intersection of the distributions of the European Wildcat F. silvestris with the African Wildcat F. lybica. The genetic relationships of the Iranian wildcat population with either group remain unclear. We examined sequence variation of 1,140 bp of mitochondrial DNA cytochrome b gene from 23 wildcat samples collected across Iran. The analyses revealed two subclades, of which one is related to the Asian Wildcat (F. lybica ornata) and the other to the African Wildcat (F. lybica lybica) and the Domestic Cat (F. catus). Sixteen closely related haplotypes were identified for the entire country, with two geographically distinct subclades for western and eastern Zagros Mountain Range and overlapping in some localities. The analyses of fixation index (FST) and molecular variance (AMOVA) demonstrated significant genetic structuring among the two subclades(FST=0.63). Analysis of mismatch distribution and multimodal graph indicated that the Iranian wildcat population is in a condition of demographic equilibrium.

Zoology in the Middle East 65(4), 2019: 293-306.

What caused the strong increase of the winter population of the Dalmatian Pelican, Pelecanus crispus, in Iran in the last two decades?

Abbas Ashoori, Hamid Amini, Abolghasem Khaleghizadeh, Aris Manolopoulos and Giorgos Catsadorakis

The Dalmatian Pelican Pelecanus crispus is listed globally as “Near Threatened”. We used the results of the International Waterbird Census from 1998 to 2017 to find trends in wintering numbers. Of the 102 sites examined, 29 were classified as regular, 18 as irregular and 55 as occasional wintering habitats for the species. Both the population size and the geographical distribution increased in the second half of the study period. The Anzali Wetland Complex, Gomishan Marsh, Gorgan Bay and Miankaleh Wildlife Refuge, inlets and mangroves east of Jask, the east coast of Chabahar and inlets and mangroves west of Konarak were identified as the most important wintering areas of the Dalmatian Pelican in Iran. Wintering numbers increased from 300 to 1,100 in the 1970s and from c. 800 in the 1980s to c. 1,800 by 2006 and up to c. 10,000 in 2017. Thus, more than 37% of the global population of the species overwinters in Iran. A combination of a series of warm winters and delayed timing of cold spells appears to be responsible for the increase of the wintering population.

Zoology in the Middle East 65(4), 2019: 307-318.

A new species of Eirenis (Ophidia: Colubridae) from highland habitats in southern Iran

Behzad Fathinia, Eskandar Rastegar-Pouyani and Arya Shafaeipour  

A new colubrid snake of the genus Eirenis, Eirenis yassujicus sp. n., is described from highlands of central Zagros in Kohgilouyeh & Boyer-Ahmad Province, southern Iran, and increases the number of Eirenis species to 21. Morphologically, E. yassujicus sp. n. is assigned to the subgenus Eirenis (Eirenis) characterised by 17 mid-body scales. The lowest genetic distance between the new species and its closest relative, E. punctatolineatus, is 12% in the mitochondrial Cytb gene. An updated key for the species of Eirenis spp. in Iran is provided.

Zoology in the Middle East 65(4), 2019: 319-329.

Knipowitschia ephesi Ahnelt, 1995, a junior synonym of Gobius ricasolii Di Caporiacco, 1935 (Teleostei: Gobiidae)

Erdoğan Çiçek, Ronald Fricke, Soheil Eagderi, Sevil Sungur and Stefano Vanni

Gobius ricasolii was described in 1935 by Di Caporiacco from the lower Küçük Menderes River drainage in Turkey. This species has not yet been listed as a freshwater fauna of Turkey. Ahnelt (1995) described Knipowitschia ephesi from the same locality based on materials collected by Curt Kosswig in 1948. We examined the type materials of G. ricasolii to clarify its taxonomic status and identified it as a member of the genus Knipowitschia. Since morphological, morphometric and meristic characteristics of K. ephesi overlap largely with those of K. ricasolii, we consider K. ephesi as a junior synonym of K. ricasolii. A revised diagnosis of this species is presented.

Zoology in the Middle East 65(4), 2019: 330-335.

A new species of the genus Niphargus (Crustacea: Amphipoda: Niphargidae) from the south-western part of the North Caucasus

Ivan Marin and Dmitry Palatov

A new endemic species of the genus Niphargus is described from the vicinity of Apsheronsk, Krasnodar region, North Caucasus. Genetic and morphological studies show that the new species is related to the West European representatives of the genus, most close to Niphargus puteanus from Italy, widely distributed N. virei and N. “sphagnicolus-dolenianensis-thuringius” species complex. No direct relatives are known from the subterranean habitats of the Caucasus. The new species is well distinguished from the Caucasian species of the genus by morphology and genetically.

Zoology in the Middle East 65(4), 2019: 336-346.

Expanding the Anagyrus pseudococci species complex (Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae): a new species emerges from Trabutina serpentina (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae) on tamarisk on the Dead Sea shore

Sharon A. Andreason, Serguei V. Triapitsyn, Zvi Mendel, Alexei Protasov, Ben Levi and Thomas M. Perring

A new species of the encyrtid wasp genus Anagyrus Howard (Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae), Anagyrus trabutinae Triapitsyn & Andreason, is described and illustrated. Its type series was reared from the mealybug Trabutina serpentina (Green) (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae) on tamarisk, Tamarix spp. (Tamaricaceae), on the Dead Sea shore at an elevation of 402 m below sea level. Using a combination of morphological methods and genetic analyses, the new taxon is separated from the other species comprising the Anagyrus pseudococci species complex. Its relationship to the complex is discussed.

Zoology in the Middle East 65(4), 2019: 347-360.

Diving beetles of the genus Yola Gozis, 1886 from Oman, with description of a new species (Coleoptera: Dytiscidae)

Jiří Hájek and Antonín Reiter

Two species of the genus Yola Gozis, 1886 were recently collected in Al Dakhiliyah Province, north Oman, both members of the Yola bicarinata species group: Yola porcata (Klug, 1834), previously known in the Arabian Peninsula only from Saudi Arabia, is recorded from Oman for the first time; Yola unguicularis sp. n. is described and illustrated. The new species is unique within the members of the genus with modified protarsal claws. The number of known Yola species hereby increased to 48; six species are presently known from the Arabian Peninsula. The total number of Dytiscidae species occurring in Oman increased to 30.

Zoology in the Middle East 65(4), 2019: 361-366.

Description of a new species of Lithostege Hübner, 1825 and of the male of L. samandooki (Rajaei, 2011) (Lepidoptera: Geometridae) from Iran

Hossein Rajaei, Saeideh Shahreyari-Nejad and Mehdi Esfandiari

A new species of Lithostege Hübner, 1825 is described from Iran and the external morphology and genitalia of the male of Lithostege samandooki Rajaei, 2011 are described for the first time. The diagnostic characters separating L. kiabii sp. n. and L. smandooki from their closest relatives are discussed. All relevant characters are illustrated and an updated checklist of Lithostege of Iran is presented.

Zoology in the Middle East 65(4), 2019: 367-376.


Zoology in the Middle East