Zoology in the Middle East

Volume 66, Issue 1, 2020

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

© Taylor & Francis

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Covered in the Science Citation Index Expanded (SCIE).

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Genetic diversity and structure of the Great Gerbil, Rhombomys opimus, in Iran (Mammalia: Rodentia)

Mohsen Ahmadpour, Hossein Varasteh Moradi, Hamid Reza Rezaei, Mohammad Ali Oshaghi, Paul Hapeman and Abasalt Hosseinzadeh Colagar

The Great Gerbil, Rhombomys opimus, is widely distributed in degraded and fragmented desert and semi-desert habitats of the Iranian Plateau. Recent habitat fragmentation from overgrazing by livestock and a government-sponsored rodent control programme threaten to isolate populations and increase their susceptibility to inbreeding and loss of genetic diversity. We examined genetic data of the Great Gerbil in a region where they are data deficient to understand how distance, geography, and anthropogenic factors influence genetic population structure and genetic diversity at the landscape level. We extracted genomic DNA from 109 blood samples collected from nine populations across the Iran’s landscape and amplified four microsatellite loci to examine levels of genetic diversity and genetic population structure. Our analysis revealed two genetic clusters (K=2) that corresponded to R. opimus sodalis in the north slope of the Alborz Mountains (AM) and Kopet-Dagh Mountains (KDM) and R. opimus sargadensis in the south slope of AM and KDM. However, the observed genetic population structure could not be fully explained by north and south slopes of AM and KDM. Genetic variation was low to relatively high (FST ranged from 0.015 to 0.167) and was significant among some populations. We did not find a correlation between genetic distance and geographic distance, which indicates that the geographical distance was not an influential factor in genetic differentiation of the species in Iran. Genetic diversity within the populations studied appears to be the result of a complex mixture of limited local dispersal, social structure favoring female philopatry, and common ancestral frequencies.

Zoology in the Middle East 66(1), 2020: 1-12.

Molecular phylogeny of the Arabian Horned Viper, Cerastes gasperettii (Serpentes: Viperidae) in the Middle East

Albert Carné, Behzad Fathinia and Eskandar Rastegar-Pouyani

The Arabian Horned Viper, Cerastes gasperettii, is distributed along the eastern edge of the Sinai Peninsula south and east across the Arabian Peninsula to Iraq, Kuwait and western Iran comprising two subspecies: Cerastes. g. mendelssohni in the Arava valley (Israel and Jordan) and C. g. gasperettii in the Arabian Peninsula and southwestern Iran. Phylogenetic relationships based on Maximum Likelihood, Bayesian Inference, haplotype networks, and genetic divergence among different populations of C. gasperettii are analysed in this study. Two mitochondrial (12S and Cytb) and two nuclear partial genes (C-mos and MC1R) with uneven distribution among the individuals were used to infer phylogenetic relationships. Bayesian inference (BI) phylogenetic tree indicates a dichotomy separating a southern (Oman, UAE, Yemen) from a northern clade (Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Israel). Except for the first dichotomy in the BI tree, other nodes are weakly supported. The concatenated tree inferred from maximum likelihood (ML) approach shows a similar topology in the main clades. There is low variability within C. gasperettii despite its vast distribution range. Mitochondrial haplotype networks support southern and northern clades with seven haplotypes in the 12S and five haplotypes in the Cytb. The C-mos nuclear network does not support these clades with five haplotypes. The polytypic status of Cerastes gasperettii which has previously been described based on morphological observations is not supported in the molecular results and the state of Cerastes. g. mendelssohni is questioned.

Zoology in the Middle East 66(1), 2020: 13-20.

Reproductive biology of the Nile Soft-Shell Turtle, Trionyx triunguis, at the Seyhan River, Turkey (Testudines: Trionychidae)

Can Yılmaz, Ayşe Oruç, Ebru Çelik and Oğuz Türkozan

Several populations of the Nile Soft-shelled Turtle, Trionyx triunguis, are found along the Levantine and Turkish Mediterranean coast. The riverbanks of the Seyhan River hold one of the largest nesting populations. In a survey carried out between 2009 and 2018, a total of 209 nests were recorded (20.9 nests per season). Ninety-four percent of the nests were concentrated at one specific site where the nesting density was 4.18 nest/metre, but where most of the nests were predated by Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) or Golden Jackal (Canus aureus). 137 nests (65.5%) with altogether 5,716 eggs were therefore transferred to a safe place, where 1,811 hatchlings emerged and were released at the nesting site at the Seyhan River. The average clutch size was 40.8±0.89 eggs. The mean hatching success in relocated nests was 34.6%. A total of 1,718 eggs (23.0%) were predated by mammalian predators. The remainder were developmentally interrupted eggs of early (37.9%), middle (4.3%), and late (6.5%) stages. It is discussed whether the high rate of loss of early stage eggs is related to the translocation process.

Zoology in the Middle East 66(1), 2020: 21-28.

The Long-snout Freshwater Goby Awaous jayakari (Boulenger, 1888) (Teleostei: Gobiidae), an additional fish element for the Iranian waters

Hamid Reza Esmaeili, Reza Sadeghi and Helen K. Larson

Members of the genus Awaous are found in fresh and brackish waters and have a circumtropical distribution from Africa to the Americas, with most species being found in the Indo-West Pacific region. Based on the detailed morphology and osteology of a specimen collected in southeastern Iran and comparison with type specimens, the Iranian population of snout goby is taxonomically assigned to Awaous jayakari. This is an additional genus and species for the fish fauna of Iran. A key for the inland and coastal gobies of Iran is provided.

Zoology in the Middle East 66(1), 2020: 29-36.

A new species of the genus Pseudostrandesia (Ostracoda: Crustacea) and first report of the genus from Palaearctic region

Okan Külköylüoğlu, Mehmet Yavuzatmaca and Ozan Yılmaz

A new species of the genus Pseudostrandesia was collected from a shallow pond in Mersin province, southern Turkey: P. guleni sp. n. This is the first report of the genus from outside of its Indomalayan and Afrotropical distribution. The genus is known from shallow zones of warm water bodies reported from three main zoogeographical realms. Including the new species, the number of species of the genus Pseudostrandesia is now eight.

Zoology in the Middle East 66(1), 2020: 37-45.

A new species of Oligoglena Horváth, 1912 (Hemiptera: Cicadidae) from Mediterranean Turkey

Abbas Mol

Oligoglena gogalai sp. n. is described from Olympos Beydağları Mountains in southern Turkey, which are part of the Taurus Mountains and are known for their high diversity and endemism rate of both plants and animals. The new species has a characteristic morphology and is distinguished from all other species of the genus Oligoglena Horváth also by its song pattern. It prefers the subalpine zone and lives in gramineous vegetation.

Zoology in the Middle East 66(1), 2020: 46-57.

A new species of Obtusicauda (Hemiptera: Aphididae) from Iran living on Artemisia

Neda Sedighi, Mojtaba Hosseini and Mohsen Mehrparvar

A new species of the genus Obtusicauda Soliman, 1927 (Hemiptera: Aphididae: Aphidinae: Macrosiphini) is described and illustrated from North-Khorasan province, Iran: Obtusicauda iranica sp. n. The species is described based on apterous viviparous females, an alate viviparous female and oviparous females found living on the terminal parts of shoots of Artemisia sieberi, A. kopetdaghensis, A. scoparia and Artemisia sp. (Asteraceae). The new species is morphologically most similar to Obtusicauda dolychosiphon (Umarov, 1964). This holocyclic aphid is not typically attended by ants.

Zoology in the Middle East 66(1), 2020: 58-67.

Review of the Middle Eastern species of Dolichotachina Villeneuve, 1913 (Diptera: Sarcophagidae, Miltogramminae) with the description of a new species

Yuriy Verves, Liudmila Khrokalo and Olha Panchuk

Dolichotachina separata Verves & Khrokalo, sp. n. is described based on a male from Egypt, and our knowledge of the other Middle Eastern species, Dolichotachina marginella (Wiedemann, 1830), is reviewed. The generic status of Dolichotachina vis-à-vis Metopodiella Zumpt, 1961 is discussed. A list of the 10 (including one fossil) species of Dolichotachina from the Palaearctic, Oriental and Afrotropical regions and 9 species of Metopodiella from the Afrotropical region are presented.

Zoology in the Middle East 66(1), 2020: 68-75.

Taxonomy of the genus Ischnocolus in the Middle East, with description of a new species from Oman and Iran (Araneae: Theraphosidae)

Vivian M. Montemor, Rick C. West, Alireza Zamani, Majid Moradmand, Volker V. Wirth, Ingo Wendt, Siegfried Huber and José Paulo L. Guadanucci

Spider material collected from Oman and Iran revealed a new species of the genus Ischnocolus Ausserer, 1871, which is described as I. vanandelae sp. n. New records of I. jickelii L. Koch, 1875 from Saudi Arabia, Yemen and United Arab Emirates show a larger distribution of this species than previously known. The natural history of I. vanandelae sp. n. and I. jickelii is described and the rather unusual colour polymorphism of the latter is discussed. The genus now includes eight species, whose distribution is mapped.

Zoology in the Middle East 66(1), 2020: 76-90.


Red-flanked Bluetail Tarsiger cyanurus recorded at the Turkish Black Sea coast for the first time

Ömral Ü. Özkoç, Deniz Oğuz, Can Nacar, Kiraz Erciyas-Yavuz and Y. Sancar Barış

Zoology in the Middle East 66(1), 2020: 91-93.



Zoology in the Middle East