Zoology in the Middle East

Volume 64, Issues 1–4, 2018

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

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Zoology in the Middle East Volume 64, 2018: Issue 4


Review of the vertebrate-mediated dispersal of the Date Palm, Phoenix dactylifera

Dirk H. R. Spennemann

As a major agricultural crop in the semi-arid and arid zone of North Africa and the Middle East, drupes (“fruits”) of the Date Palm Phoenix dactylifera form with their high carbohydrate content of the flesh and oils in the seed a major part of the diet of resident and migratory bird species and fruit bats. This paper reviews the range of known instances of drupe predation by volant and non-volant vertebrate vectors. While documented dispersal distances range from tens of metres to about 50 km, the efficacy of that dispersal has not been assessed in any of the papers under review. While volant animals, primarily birds, make up the greatest number of dispersal vectors and also account for the greatest number of seeds dispersed, long distance dispersal of a larger quantity of seeds per dispersal event seems to rely on terrestrial animals, primarily canids, but also bears and flightless birds, such as the Emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae).

Zoology in the Middle East 64(4), 2018: 283-296.

The spread of the Rose-ringed Parakeet, Psittacula krameri, in Turkey between 1975 and 2015 (Aves: Psittacidae)

Esra Per

The Rose-ringed Parakeet (Psittacula krameri) was recorded in Turkey for the first time in 1975 and has since then established breeding populations in at least six cities as a consequence of intentional and accidental introductions. Parakeet sightings have been recorded in and around urban areas and records are available from 26 provinces. It is most abundant in İstanbul, followed by İzmir, Ankara, Yalova, Antalya, and Şanlıurfa. The distribution and population size has increased continuously especially since the mid-2000s. The population is estimated to be now over 1,355 individuals in the country, which is still moderate compared to some other West European countries.

Zoology in the Middle East 64(4), 2018: 2^97-303.

Molecular and morphological evidence for a new subspecies of Fazila’s Lycian Salamander Lyciasalamandra fazilae in South-west Anatolia

Bayram Göçmen, Sarah Ehl, Mert Karış, Burkhard Thiesmeier and Thomas Kordges

A new subspecies of the Fazila’s Lycian Salamander Lyciasalamandra fazilae is described based on material from ten localities in the Köyceğiz, Ortaca and Dalaman area in south-western Turkey. It is distinguished from the nominotypical subspecies by differences in the colouration pattern, morphometry and the mitochondrial molecular marker 16S rRNA. The distribution area of the new subspecies is located mainly in the western part of Dalaman River except for two seemingly intermediate populations (Şerefler and Sarsala-Kapıkargın). New localities for the species are reported.

Zoology in the Middle East 64(4), 2018: 304-314.

A new Chondrostoma species from the Büyük Menderes River Basin, Turkey (Teleostei: Cyprinidae)

Salim Serkan Güçlü, Fahrettin Küçük, Davut Turan, Yılmaz Çiftçi and Ayşe Gül Mutlu

In a study of the fishes of the Büyük Menderes River Basin, Aegean region of Turkey, two populations of Chondrostoma were found which showed clearly distinctive characters: the population from the Upper B. Menderes (Işıklı Lake) was attributed to C. meandrense Elvira, 1987, while the population from the Çine Stream in the Lower B. Menderes River basin proved to be a hitherto undescribed species: Chondrostoma turnai sp. n. Altogether 24 metric and 7 meristic parameters were compared. The new species is distinguished from C. meandrense and all other cogeners by a combination of the number of lateral line scales, the number of scale rows between the lateral line and the dorsal-fin origin, the number of scale rows of the lateral line and pelvic-fin origin, and the number of gill rakers on the first gill arch.

Zoology in the Middle East 64(4), 2018: 315-321.

A new species of Maladera Mulsant & Rey, 1871 from Iran (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae: Sericini) and a review of the distribution of the genus in Iran

Silvia Fabrizi, Eckehard Rößner and Dirk Ahrens

A new species of Maladera Mulsant & Rey, 1871 is described from Iran: M. kermanensis sp. n. The habitus and genitalia of the new species are illustrated. Additional records of Maladera species and a checklist of the species occurring in Iran including a map of their distribution are given.

Zoology in the Middle East 64(4), 2018: 322-328.

New data on spiders (Arachnida: Araneae) of Iraq

Alexander A. Fomichev, Yuri M. Marusik and Seppo Koponen

Until recently only 33 species of spiders had been known from Iraq. New material collected in northern Iraq reveals 20 species, 13 genera and six families new to the country. One species, Pterotricha arzhantsevi sp. n. is described as new to science. Comparative figures are provided for seven species; the 54 species currently known from Iraq are listed and their occurrence in neighbouring Iran and Turkey is shown.

Zoology in the Middle East 64(4), 2018: 329-339.

A new species of Anagyrus (Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae) from Iran, parasitoid of Planococcus ficus (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae) on Vitis vinifera

George Japoshvili and Majid Fallahzadeh

The description and illustrations of a new species, Anagyrus planococci sp. n. (Hymenoptera: Chalcidoidea: Encyrtidae), reared from Planococcus ficus (Signoret) (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae) on Vitis vinifera L. in southern Iran are presented. The species is closely related to Anagyrus luci Noyes & Hayat, 1994 and A. albatus Myartseva, 1982.

Zoology in the Middle East 64(4), 2018: 340-344.

Trichopsomyia ochrozona (Stackelberg, 1952) (Diptera: Syrphidae) recorded from Iran for the first time with a key to the West Palaearctic Trichopsomyia Williston, 1888 species

Jeroen van Steenis, Babak Gharali, Theo Zeegers and Hussein Sadeghi Namaghi

The hoverfly Trichopsomyia ochrozona (Stackelberg, 1952) (Diptera: Syrphidae) is recorded for the first time from Iran. An illustrated key to the West Palaearctic species of Trichopsomyia is presented. Illustrations of the puparium of Trichopsomyia joratensis Goeldin, 1997 and the larva and puparium of T. ochrozona are given and their larval and adult habitats are described. A short discussion is given on the known larval habitat of other West Palaearctic Trichopsomyia species. Some of the synonyms have been evaluated and Pipiza melancholica Meigen, 1822 is withdrawn from synonymy of Trichopsomyia flavitarsis (Meigen, 1822) and is considered as a junior synonym of Musca viduata Linnaeus, 1758 syn. nov.

Zoology in the Middle East 64(4), 2018: 345-359.

Dyspessa peri (Lepidoptera: Cossidae), a new species of Cossidae from Afghanistan

Roman V. Yakovlev and Helen Alipanah

Dyspessa peri sp. n. (Lepidoptera: Cossidae) is described from Sarobi in Central Afghanistan. The new species is closely related to D. tristis A. Bang-Haas, 1912, and is distinguished by peculiarities of the wing pattern and structure of the male genitalia.

Zoology in the Middle East 64(4), 2018: 360-362.

A new species and new distribution records of Zercon C. L. Koch from Iran (Acari: Zerconidae)

Mohammadreza Kavianpour, Mehmet Karaca, Younes Karimpour and Raşit Urhan

A new species of the family Zerconidae, Zercon persicus sp. n., is described based on female and male morphological characters. It was collected in West Azarbaijan province (northwestern Iran). Idiosomal chaetotaxy, poroidotaxy and related notations are illustrated. The similarities and differences between the related species within the genus are discussed. Records of some other Zercon species from the province are given for the first time.

Zoology in the Middle East 64(4), 2018: 360-370.




Record of the Yellowback Grunt Pomadasys aheneus McKay & Randall (Osteichthyes: Haemulidae) from the Arabian Gulf off Iraq

Atheer H. Ali and Yukio Iwatsuki

Zoology in the Middle East 64(4), 2018: 371-373.

The Black Bordered Arab, Colotis ungemachi (Le Cerf, 1922) (Lepidoptera: Pieridae) in the Middle East, and the first confirmed record for Ethiopia

Vazrick Nazari and Peter Merrett

Zoology in the Middle East 64(4), 2018: 374-376.



Zoology in the Middle East Volume 64, 2018: Issue 3


Intraspecific killing among Leopards (Panthera pardus) in Iran (Mammalia: Felidae)

Mohammad S. Farhadinia, Hossein Alinezhad, Ehsan Hadipour, Iman Memarian, Stephane Ostrowski, Kaveh Hobeali, Amirhossein Dadashi-Jourdehi, Paul J. Johnson, David W. Macdonald and Luke T. B. Hunter

Intraspecific aggression is one of the most common causes of death in leopards. Here, we report four cases of intraspecific killing amongst Persian Leopards (Panthera pardus saxicolor) in Iran. A young male leopard was found on 7 June 2008 which, according to camera trap images, had been killed by an adult male over a Red Deer (Cervus elaphus) kill, with trauma to his neck in Dorfak No-Hunting Area. A young female that had been fitted with a satellite GPS collar on 6 December 2015 in Tandoureh National Park died on 29 January 2016 at a site where an Urial Sheep (Ovis orientalis) ram had been freshly killed. Necropsy results, footprints at the scene of death and camera trap footage all supported the deduction that the animal was killed by a larger female leopard at the kill site. On 13 January 2017, a young, partially eaten female leopard was found with double puncture on the side of her throat. Finally, a rehabilitated adult female fitted with a satellite GPS collar found on 19 December 2017 with a double puncture on her head with several trauma and haemorrhages on her back. These instances seem to be the first documented reports of intraspecific killing among free-ranging leopards in Asia.

Zoology in the Middle East 64(3), 2018: 189-194.

Melanism and coat colour polymorphism in the Egyptian Wolf Canis lupaster Hemprich & Ehrenberg (Carnivora: Canidae) from Egypt

Mostafa Saleh, Mahmoud Younes, Moustafa Sarhan and Fouad Abdel-Hamid

The Egyptian Wolf Canis lupaster was recently rediscovered as a distinct species on the basis of both morphologic and molecular genetic evidence. Phenotypical variability, including coat colour of this species across its vast, ecologically diverse range is yet to be investigated. In this paper, we present the first record of melanistic individuals of this species and compare their morphological characters and mitochondrial cytochrome b DNA sequences with those of typically coloured Canis lupaster and other closely related canids to verify their identity. We also study pelage polymorphism in a population of this species in the Egyptian Nile Valley and the Nile Delta and define its different colour variants. The typical colour, as well as the rare, very light and reddish coat colours are described. We discuss the possibility that the observed coat colour polymorphism is the result of hybridisation with the domestic dog and their potential adaptive significance.

Zoology in the Middle East 64(3), 2018: 195-206.

Phylogeography of Walton’s Mudskipper, Periophthalmus waltoni Koumans, 1941 (Perciformes: Gobiidae), from the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman

Mehdi Ghanbarifardi, Mansour Aliabadian and Hamid Reza Esmaeili

Mudskippers are amphibious air breathing fish with terrestrial adaptations in contrast to entirely aquatic fish. They are adapted to living on mudflats and show morphological, physiological, and behavioural features that could affect their phylogeny and phylogeography. A comparative genetic analysis was carried out on 100 specimens of the mudskipper Periophthalmus waltoni Koumans, 1941 from eight different sites along the coast of the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman. Phylogeographic inference based on two mitochondrial markers (Cyt b and D-loop) suggests that P. waltoni populations are divided into two well-divergent clades western and eastern. This is likely related to the geohydrological history of the area during the last Pleistocene glaciations. The regional phylogeographies are apparently also influenced by ecological and geographical barriers such as salinity, water current, and the geographic position of the Strait of Hormuz.

Zoology in the Middle East 64(3), 2018: 207-218.

The scale characteristics of two Aphanius species from southern Iran (Teleostei: Aphaniidae)

Azad Teimori

Fish scales are morphologically diverse among species, within species, and even among individuals. The present study investigated macro- and micromorphology of the scales between two closely related Aphanius species in southern Iran including Aphanius hormuzensis, collected from Gotab/Mehran River and A. stoliczkanus, from Howba hot sulphuric spring. The results indicated clear interspecific differences in scale macromorphology and microstructures. The scales of A. hormuzensis are characterised by a rounded shape, 7–9 (mean 8.0±0.83) primary radii, and a relatively large focus with oblong shape that positioned centrally on the scale, while the scales of A. stoliczkanus are characterised by a polygonal shape with few spines in posterior region, 8–11 (mean 10.0±0.78) primary radii and a small rounded focus that positioned postero-centraly on the scale. These species are morphologically close but clearly distinguished by their scale morphology and habitat requirements (e.g. water depth and food availability). Therefore, it can be assumed that clear differences in their scale morphology have been resulted by the combination of both genetic and environmental factors.

Zoology in the Middle East 64(3), 2018: 219-227.

Floral preferences of hoverflies (Diptera: Syrphidae) in response to the abundance and species richness of flowering plants

Mohammad-Reza Babaei, Seyed Ali Asghar Fathi, Ebrahim Gilasian and Hassan Barimani Varandi

For understanding the relationship between floral resources and the abundance of hoverflies, five meadows were selected at different elevations in a forested region. At each site the number of flowering herbaceous plants was assessed along a transect at 10-m intervals. To measure floral density, we counted the number of open flowers per species in each plot. Hoverflies visiting flowering plants were captured in each plot during 10 minutes. Path analysis showed that there was a negative correlation between plant species richness and syrphid abundance. Flower abundance had a strong positive direct effect on syrphid abundance but had indirect effects on the number of syrphid species. Only altitude had a strong positive direct effect on the number of syrphid species and this may be explained by the different climatic conditions. Some plant species attracted more syrphids than others. There were significantly fewer species of hoverfly per plot with increasing numbers of flowers. We interpret this to mean that plant species with a high density of flowers attracted more syrphids of the same species. Analysis of pollen grains extracted from two species of hoverflies showed that flower constancy occurred in three examined sites.

Zoology in the Middle East 64(3), 2018: 228-237.

Two new species of Torymidae (Hymenoptera: Chalcidoidea) reared from flower heads of Echinops orientalis Trautvetter in south-eastern Turkey

Mikdat Doğanlar and M. Murat Aslan

Two new species of torymids, Pseudotorymus hasanberkayi sp. n. and Microdontomerus kahramanmarasensis sp. n. (Hymenoptera: Torymidae), were reared from flower heads of Echinops orientalis Trautvetter (Asteraceae) collected in Kahramanmaraş province, south-eastern Turkey. The new species are described and their diagnostic characters are illustrated.

Zoology in the Middle East 64(3), 2018: 238-243.

A new species of the genus Chrysotoxum Meigen, 1803 (Diptera: Syrphidae) from Turkey

Zorica Nedeljković, Ante Vujić, Rüstem Hayat, Ljiljana Šašić Zorić and Mihajla Đan

A new species of the genus Chrysotoxum (Diptera: Syrphidae), Chrysotoxum bozdagensis Nedeljković, Vujić & Hayat sp. n., collected from Bozdağ Mt., İzmir Province, Turkey is described and illustrated. Chrysotoxum bozdagensis sp. n. can be distinguished from the similar Ch. octomaculatum Curtis, 1837 by the presence of a black pile on the mesonotum and the colour of the legs. It is also similar to Ch. elegans Loew, 1841, from which it can be distinguished by the colour of the pile on the vertical triangle and scutellum, as well from the structure of the male genitalia. Additionally, Ch. bozdagensis sp. n. can be clearly distinguished from the latter two species by DNA sequence data. This new species increases the total number of Chrysotoxum species in Turkey to 18.

Zoology in the Middle East 64(3), 2018: 244-252.

A new species of Rhytimorpha Szépligeti (Hymenoptera: Braconidae: Braconinae) from Israel

Donald L. J. Quicke, Frank Koch, Gavin R. Broad, Andrew M. R. Bennett, Simon van Noort, Paul D. N. Hebert and Buntika A. Butcher

The distinctive braconine wasp genus Rhytimorpha Szépligeti is distributed through Africa and the Near East. We provide photographic illustrations of the type specimens of the two species of Rhytimorpha known up to the present, R. coccinea Szépligeti and R. nigriceps Szépligeti. Previous published records of R. coccinea from Israel by J. Papp are confirmed. A new species, R. pappi Quicke & Butcher sp. n. is described based on a female from Holot Agur, a semi-desert area in the Negev Dunes in north-eastern Sinai Peninsula.

Zoology in the Middle East 64(3), 2018: 253-261.

Two new species of the genus Anisobas Wesmael (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae: Ichneumoninae) from Iran and Uzbekistan

Matthias Riedel, Farid Shirzadegan and Ali Asghar Talebi

We describe two new species, Anisobas rufoventris Riedel sp. n. from Iran and Anisobas maculatus Riedel sp. n. from Uzbekistan. Within the genus Anisobas Wesmael, both new species are similar to Anisobas cephalotes Kriechbaumer due to their widened temples and median tubercles at apical margins of clypeus. Differential diagnoses, detailed descriptions and illustrations of the main characters are given for the new species.

Zoology in the Middle East 64(3), 2018: 262-266.

Taxonomic notes on Drilus Olivier, 1790 (Elateridae: Agrypninae: Drilini) in Rhodes

Eliška Šormová

I compared the type specimens of Drilus attenuatus Pic, 1914 and D. attenuatus var. subparallelus Pic, 1934 from Rhodes. Both taxa are redescribed and the latter is given the full species status based on the different external morphology and male genitalia. Altogether, four species are currently known from the island of Rhodes: Drilus attenuatus Pic, 1914, D. bleusei (Olivier, 1913), D. rufipes (Baudi di Selve, 1871), and D. subparallelus Pic, 1934 stat. rev. All species but D. rufipes are endemic to the island. An identification key to the males of Drilus species found in Rhodes is provided.

Zoology in the Middle East 64(3), 2018: 267-272.

The Sarcophagidae (Diptera) of the Middle East

Yury Verves and Lydmyla Khrokalo

A list of 285 species of Sarcophagidaе in the Middle East countries is presented with distributional data, including Bahrain (3 species), Cyprus (46), Egypt (both African and Asian parts) (114), Iran (83), Iraq (17), Israel (113), Jordan (14), Kuwait (3), Lebanon (13), Oman (2), Gaza Strip (5), Palestinian Authority (42), Quatar (1), Saudi Arabia (37), Syria (42), Turkey (both European and Asian parts) (157), United Arab Emirates (14) and Yemen (15). Three new synonyms are established: Blaesoxipha delilah Lehrer, 2006 = Agriella setosa Salem, 1938, syn. n.; Blaesoxipha nahaliana Lehrer, 2008 = Blaesoxipha popovi Rohdendorf, 1937, syn. n.; and Liosarcophaga daccanella Lehrer, 2008 = Liosarcophaga (s. str.) dux (Thomson, 1869), syn. n. Four new combinations for species names are proposed: Liopygia (Engelisca) adhamae (Lehrer & Abou-Ziad, 2008), comb. n.; Liosarcophaga (s. str.) pedestris (Villeneuve, 1910), comb. n.; Liosarcophaga (Pandelleisca) theodori (Lehrer, 1998), comb. n., and Liosarcophaga (Pharaonops) tewfiki (Salem, 1940), comb. n.

Zoology in the Middle East 64(3), 2018: 273-282.



Zoology in the Middle East Volume 64, 2018: Issue 2


The breeding biology of the White-spectacled Bulbul, Pycnonotus xanthopygos, at the northwestern edge of its distribution range

Aziz Aslan, Bekir Kabasakal, Matteo Griggio and Ali Erdoğan

The White-spectacled Bulbul, Pycnonotus xanthopygos, is an abundant and possibly invasive species in Turkey, where it has gradually expanded its distribution and breeding range in both western and southeastern directions. This study focused on its breeding biology, which is still poorly known. The breeding activity extends from February until September. The preferred nesting areas are mainly gardens and maquis groves, where 24 different nesting tree species have been identified. The clutch size is 3.3±0.8 eggs per pair, nesting success 68%, hatching success 94%, fledgling success 95%, and overall breeding success 89%. While nesting success differs significantly between the years, we found no significant differences in hatching, fledging, and overall breeding success between the years studied. Despite favourable climatic conditions in the Mediterranean region, the species makes only one brood per year in a relatively extended breeding season extending over seven months, and has a relatively a high reproduction rate per nest.

Zoology in the Middle East 64(2), 2018: 95–101.


Characteristics of Capoeta oguzelii, a new species of cyprinid fish from the Ezine Stream, Black Sea basin, Turkey (Teleostei: Cyprinidae)

Mahmut Elp, Mustafa İbrahim Osmanoğlu, Ali Eslem Kadak and Davut Turan

Four species of Capoeta (C. baliki, C. banarescui, C. sieboldii and C. ekmekciae) have been reported from Black Sea drainages, to date. We recognised an additional species in the Ezine Stream in the Southern Black Sea basin. Based on the analysis of 21 metric and 8 meristic data, we concluded that the Ezine Stream population forms a distinct, unnamed species, which we have described as Capoeta oguzelii sp. n. This species can be distinguished from all other Capoeta species by the following combination of characteristics: small size, presence of only one pair of barbels, absence of a keratinised edge of the lower jaw, a weakly ossified last simple dorsal fin ray, 7–10 gill rakers on the first gill arch and 7½ branched dorsal fin rays.

Zoology in the Middle East 64(2), 2018: 102–111.


The taxonomic status of the Black Sea and Marmara Sea populations of the Broadnosed Pipefish Syngnathus cf. argentatus Pallas (Teleostei: Syngnathidae) based on morphological and molecular characters

Adnan Çağlar Oruç and Semih Engin

As the Black Sea and Marmara Sea population of the Broadnosed Pipefish Syngnathus cf. argentatus show some morphological differences from the Mediterranean Sea populations, some authors regard it as an endemic species Syngnathus argentatus Pallas, 1814, while others consider it as a synonym of S. typhle Linnaeus, 1758. The aim of this study is to compare the populations of the Black Sea and Sea of Marmara with the Aegean Sea population, using a combination of morphological and molecular characters, in order to clarify their taxonomic status. Sampling was carried out at three stations in the Black Sea, two in the Sea of Marmara and three in the Aegean Sea, and a total of 24 morphometric and 6 meristic characters were examined. Metric data were analysed by Principal Component Analysis (PCA) and phylogenetic relationships between the populations were analysed using both cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI) gene and cytochrome b (cyt-b) gene sequences. Although constant differences were observed in snout depths between the Black Sea/Marmara Sea and the Aegean Sea populations, other morphological features and genetic analysis did not enable these populations to be differentiated. These findings indicate that S. argentatus is a synonym of S. typhle.

Zoology in the Middle East 64(2), 2018: 112–123.


Molecular confirmation of the occurrence of Elysia cf. tomentosa (Mollusca: Heterobranchia) in the Persian Gulf

Mahshid Oladi, Ali Nasrolahi, Faraham Ahmadzadeh, Omid Alizadeh and Patrick J. Krug

The molluscan fauna of the Persian Gulf has recently been relatively well documented, yet there are few records of heterobranch sea slugs (opisthobranchs) from the Arabian parts and no report from the Iranian waters. Here we report for the first time the occurrence of one of these molluscs in the northern Persian Gulf (Bandar Abbas, Iran). Sacoglossan specimens were collected in association with the seaweed, Caulerpa sertularioides. Since morphological attributes were not adequately reliable for species identification, molecular approaches were carried out. Maximum-likelihood and Bayesian Inference analysis of partial DNA sequences of the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) locus were used for DNA barcoding of large-bodied specimens of Elysia. All Persian Gulf specimens were genetically confirmed as Elysia cf. tomentosa sp. 5, one of at least five morphologically similar but genetically distinct species in the taxonomically challenging and unresolved E. tomentosa complex. This species has previously been recorded only from Australia and Thailand and our finding adds another distant point to the geographic distribution of this species.

Zoology in the Middle East 64(2), 2018: 124–130.


Description of a new species of Hyadaphis Kirkaldy (Hemiptera: Aphididae) from Turkey

Shalva Barjadze and Işil Özdemir

Apterous and alate viviparous females of Hyadaphis bupleuriphila sp. n. living on Bupleurum sp. (Apiaceae) and further undetermined Apiaceae are described from the Ankara province in central Turkey. The new species is morphologically similar to Hyadaphis coerulescens (Narzikulov, 1965), H. ferganica Mukhamediev & Akhmedov, 1979 and H. foeniculi (Passerini, 1860). A key to the apterous viviparous females of Hyadaphis spp. in Turkey is given.

Zoology in the Middle East 64(2), 2018: 131–136.


Which species of the genus Scaurus Fabricius (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae) occurs in the Caucasus and the border areas of Anatolia?

Maxim Nabozhenko, Yakov Kovalenko and Mark Kalashian

A redescription of the male of Scaurus araxinus Richter, 1945 is given and the female is described for the first time. The species occurs in Azerbaijan (Nakhichevan Republic), Armenia (Tigranashen and Yeghegnadzor) and Eastern Turkey (first record in Iğdır province). It had been regarded as conspecific with S. syriacus Reitter, 1914 and S. puncticollis Solier, 1838 but clearly differs from both these species and is close to S. rugicollis Reitter, 1914 from the Mediterranean region. The female genital tubes of S. araxinus are figured, the first such illustration for the tribe Scaurini. The genus Scaurus has a small secondary bursa copulatrix, separated glandular, moderately short, spermatheca and a relatively short accessory gland, similar to those found in some genera of the tribe Helopini.

Zoology in the Middle East 64(2), 2018: 137–144.


Further records of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) from Iran

Shahrokh Pashaei Rad, Brian Taylor, Roshanak Torabi, Ebrahim Aram, Giti Abolfathi, Rezvan Afshari, Fatemeh Borjali, Maryam Ghatei, Fouzihe Hediary, Farzaneh Jazini, Vala Heidary Kiah, Zeynab Mahmoudi, Fatemeh Safariyan and Maryam Seiri

Wide ranging surveys of the ant fauna of Iran have enabled us to add a further 30 named species to the country list. A review of almost all the published literature and of photographs of unidentified specimens within the public domain gives a grand total of 248 species, from seven subfamilies and 37 genera. In the majority of instances, our own specimens were compared with type images available from antweb.com. This has led us to propose new or revised status for Cataglyphis turcomanica Crawley 1920, Lepisiota integrisquama (Kuznetsov-Ugamsky, 1929), Lepisiota surchanica (Kuznetsov-Ugamsky, 1929) and Messor obscurior Crawley 1920. We note that the total includes a number of what may be misidentifications and a small number of named species that seem unlikely to occur in Iran.

Zoology in the Middle East 64(2), 2018: 145–159.


Long-term effects of fire on ant communities (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Pinus brutia forests of south-western Turkey

Burçin Yenisey Kaynaş, Kadri Kıran and Celal Karaman

We studied how forest fire affects the structure of ant communities in the long term and how microhabitat variables that influence communities of ants in different succession stages change. For this purpose, we selected five sites burnt 3 to 26 years prior to the study and a control site unburnt for at least 50 years. Sampling of ants was conducted in four pit-fall traps in four transects in three replication plots at every successional site and in two plots at the control site. Microhabitat variables regarding the vegetation structure and litter layers were recorded and related to the abundances of ants. The results show that subshrubs, leaves, and needles were the most important microhabitat variables that affected the ant communities. In certain ant genera, significant changes depending upon successional gradient were determined. While the genera Aphaenogaster and Cataglyphis had non-linear relationships with successional gradient, negative linear relationships were found in Crematogaster and Prenolepis. Messor is the only genus caught in high numbers in the earliest successional stage. It showed a decrease with successional gradient. Significant changes in ant communities along the successional gradient were associated with the characteristics of vegetation and the litter layer.

Zoology in the Middle East 64(2), 2018: 160–168.


Limited polymorphism in two spittlebugs, Philaenus spumarius (Linnaeus) and P. signatus Melichar (Hemiptera: Cercopidae), in island populations from Western Turkey

Selçuk Yurtsever

Two colour polymorphic spittlebug species, Philaenus spumarius and Philaenus signatus were recorded for the first time in Gökçeada, Turkey. Three non-melanic – POP (populi), TYP (typicus), and VIT (vittata) – and three melanic MAR – (marginellus), FLA (flavicollis), and LCE (leucocephalus) – colour/pattern phenotypes of P. signatus were found. Philaenus spumarius was represented only by POP and TYP, which are expressed by a single pigmentation allele. The other six alleles were absent on this island, although they are found in most populations throughout the world. Stochastic events such as random genetic drift may be the reason for shaping the polymorphism of these two sympatric species in Gökçeada. Thus, the absence of pigmentation alleles possibly indicates the founder effect.

Zoology in the Middle East 64(2), 2018: 169–173.


Identification key to the species of Amblyolpium Simon (Pseudoscorpiones: Garypinidae), with first record of Amblyolpium bellum Chamberlin from Iran

Mahrad Nassirkhani

A key based on bibliographic sources is given for identifying the 15 extant known pseudoscorpion species of the genus Amblyolpium recorded from different localities throughout the world. Species of Amblyolpium mostly occur in the Mediterranean basin, the Near to Far East, and the genus is only recorded with one species from South America. Amblyolpium bellum is redescribed and illustrated based on four males and two females collected for the first time from southern Iran.

Zoology in the Middle East 64(2), 2018: 174–181.




Evidence of seed germination in scats of the Asiatic Black Bear Ursus thibetanus in Iran (Mammalia: Carnivora)

Hadi Fahimi, Ali T. Qashqaei, Mehdi Chalani, Zeinab Asadi, Siamak Broomand, Nahid Ahmadi and Gholam Hosein Yusefi

Zoology in the Middle East 64(2), 2018: 182–184.


The first record of the Southwest Asian Badger Meles canescens (Mammalia: Mustelidae) from Afghanistan

Nasratullah Jahed and Stéphane Ostrowski

Zoology in the Middle East 64(2), 2018: 185–186.




Zoology in the Middle East Volume 64, 2018: Issue 1


Systematic relationships within the Microtus arvalis (Rodentia: Cricetidae) group in Iran, inferred from cytogenetic analyses

Ahmad Mahmoudi, Jan Zima, Boris Kryštufek, Jamshid Darvish, Mansour Aliabadian and Atilla Arslan

The distribution of C-heterochromatin and nucleolar organizer regions (NORs) was studied in three species of voles of the Microtus arvalis group in Iran: M. mystacinus, M. kermanensis, and M. transcaspicus. The C-banding pattern and NORs distribution were similar in M. mystacinus and M. kermanensis suggesting taxonomic proximity of these two species. At the same time, the karyotypes of M. mystacinus from Iran were different in C-banding pattern from the complements of conspecific 54-chromosome voles from Europe and other regions of Asia. The most distinct difference was in size of the distal C-positive block of heterochromatin on the X chromosome. In this respect M. mystacinus from Iran and M. kermanensis resembled M. transcaspicus. Small size of the distal C-positive heterochromatic block may be ancestral whereas larger size is derived. The X chromosome of M. transcaspicus can be derived from that of M. mystacinus and M. kermanensis by a large inversion or centromeric shift.

Zoology in the Middle East 64(1), 2018: 1-8.


Distribution and phylogeography of Blanford’s Fox, Vulpes cana (Carnivora: Canidae), in Africa and the Middle East

Mostafa Saleh, Mahmoud Younes, Ali Basuony, Fouad Abdel-Hamid, Abdullah Nagy and Ahmad Badry

The distribution of Vulpes cana in the extreme eastern Sahara is described on the basis of new photographic and sight records, as well as a recently acquired specimen from south-eastern Egypt. The proven range of this elusive fox now extends about 1000 km south into Africa along the Red Sea coastal mountains. The proven and predicted distribution ranges of this fox are discussed. Its phylogeography and evolutionary relationship to other foxes of the region are gleaned from analysis of mitochondrial cytochrome b DNA sequence and are discussed in light of climatic and paleogeographic history of the area. The results show that the species could have initially moved into Africa during the Pliocene-Pleistocene transition period when several land bridges occurred across the Gulf of Suez. More recent land bridges between the mountains of the Sinai Peninsula and the Eastern Desert of Egypt seem to have developed and disappeared several times during the Pleistocene, possibly allowing genetic exchange between V. cana populations in these two areas. The last of this population exchange and genetic flow between the two areas seems to have ended some 14,000 years ago when the present Gulf of Suez inundation took place.

Zoology in the Middle East 64(1), 2018: 9-26.


Geomorphometric differences among four species of Microtus in Turkey (Mammalia: Rodentia)

Ahmet Yesari Selçuk, Alaettin Kaya and Haluk Kefelioğlu

In order to determine the phenotypic associations of four morphologically similar species of Microtus occurring in Turkey, we applied landmark-based shape analysis. The skulls of Microtus anatolicus, M. dogramacii, M. guentheri and M. levis (= M. rossiaemeridionalis) were found to differ significantly in terms of both size and shape. M. guentheri had the biggest skull, while M. levis had the smallest. Sexual dimorphism was found in the shape of the skull in M. dogramacii and M. levis. The tympanic bulla area is enlarged in M. anatolicus compared to the other species. Mahalanobis distances (the distance between a point and the group mean, taking into account the within-group covariance-variance matrix) confirm the distinction of the arvalis group (M. levis) and socialis group (Microtus anatolicus, M. dogramacii, M. guentheri).

Zoology in the Middle East 64(1), 2018: 27-37.


Impact of nest relocation on the reproductive success of Loggerhead Turtles, Caretta caretta, in the Göksu Delta, Turkey (Reptilia: Cheloniidae)

Onur Candan

When the nests of marine turtles are at a risk of inundation, relocation of the nests are often used in the conservation measures. Here, I determined the effect of nest relocation on Loggerhead Turtle (Caretta caretta) egg hatching success during the 2013 and 2014 nesting seasons in the Göksu Delta, Mersin, Turkey. I compared natural and relocated clutches, including those relocated before and after inundation, and evaluated 102 (94.6%) and 63 (81.1%) of survived nests in 2013 and 2014 respectively. Relocated nests experienced a 30% decrease in hatching success and a more prolonged incubation period compared to nests left in situ. Egg failure in nests relocated before and after inundation was similar in early-stage embryos, whereas it was three-fold higher in mid-stage embryos and two-fold lower in late-stage embryos. Thus, there was no significant difference in overall hatching success between the two relocation types. Moreover, there was no effect of delayed relocation of nests after inundation on hatching success. Possible impacts specific to the nesting site should be considered and explored before using nest relocation as a conservation tool. The relocation approach is recommended for nests at a high risk of inundation when the loss of nests is inevitable.

Zoology in the Middle East 64(1), 2018: 38-46.


The Gray Toad-headed Agama, Phrynocephalus scutellatus, on the Iranian Plateau: The degree of niche overlap depends on the phylogenetic distance

Anooshe Kafash, Shima Malakoutikhah, Masoud Yousefi, Farhad Ataei, Hamid Heidari, Eskandar Rastegar-Pouyani

The Gray Toad-headed Agama (Phrynocephalus scutellatus) occurs in Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan and is represented in Iran by four distinctive genetic clades. We built distribution models for three of these clades (one clade was not included due to a low number of distribution records) using Maximum Entropy Algorithm in order to determine the contribution of ecological factors to the distribution pattern. The degree of spatial niche overlap between every pair of clades were measured using Schoener’s D niche overlap metric. The results showed that at species-level climate variables (annual precipitation, annual mean temperature) were the most influential parameters determining the boundaries of the distribution in Iran. Temperature seasonality was found to be the most influential factor in the distribution of both Clade I and Clade II. However, this variable was replaced by the annual mean temperature for Clade VI. Based on the results of Schoener’s D metric, Clades I and II had the lowest, and Clades II and VI the highest level of ecological niche overlap. Comparing the result of niche overlap with genetic distance between the clades, it was found that the ecologically least similar clades were those with the longer history of genetic segregation.

Zoology in the Middle East 64(1), 2018: 47-54.


Female reproductive pattern of Callinectes sapidus Rathbun, 1896 (Brachyura: Portunidae) in Iskenderun Bay, Eastern Mediterranean

Canan Türeli, İrem Nur Yeşilyurt and İ. Erdal Nevşat

We studied the female reproductive pattern of Callinectes sapidus, which was introduced to the Mediterranean in the 20th century. We assessed female size at first maturity, fecundity, and fecundity relationship to size in Iskenderun Bay, eastern Mediterranean, Turkey. Samples were collected between July 2014 and June 2015 using bottom trawling at depths ranging from 1 to 50 m. A total of 322 crabs were caught of which 308 (95.7%) were females including 116 ovigerous ones. The minimum carapace width of the mature females was 39.1 mm and the mean carapace width 123.8 mm. The carapace width of ovigerous females varied between 95.1 and 144.5 mm, with a mean of 120.3 mm. The highest number of ovigerous females was observed in July and August. Mean fecundity was 1.91 million (667,950–4,669,853) eggs per female. A weak positive linear relationship between fecundity and carapace width was noted, as well as a high correlation with total egg weight. In the eastern Mediterranean, maturity sizes of females were smaller than those in the native region of the species.

Zoology in the Middle East 64(1), 2018: 55-63.


Pseudobithynia guldeni sp. n., a new gastropod species from the Mediterranean region of Turkey (Gastropoda: Truncatelloidea)

Mustafa Emre Gürlek

A new Bithyniidae species Pseudobithynia guldeni sp.n. is described from the Mediterranean region of Turkey based on shell and male genitalia morphology. An identification key for the species of Pseudobithynia of Turkey is given.

Zoology in the Middle East 64(1), 2018: 64-67.


On the genus Sunius Stephens, 1829 of Turkey. VI. A new micropterous species and distribution of the genus (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae: Paederinae)

Sinan Anlaş

A new species of the genus Sunius Stephens, 1829 is described from Konya province in Anatolia and illustrated: Sunius yamani sp. n. Additional records of six species of Sunius from Turkey are reported. A total of 39 species are now known from Turkey, 35 of them are endemic. Distribution maps are given for all Turkish members of the genus Sunius.

Zoology in the Middle East 64(1), 2018: 68-74.


On the scorpion fauna of Egypt, with an identification key (Arachnida: Scorpiones)

Ahmed Badry, Mahmoud Younes, Moustafa M. H. Sarhan and Mostafa Saleh

The taxonomy and diversity of the scorpion fauna of Egypt was examined based on a large collection from most parts of the country and in view of recent revisionary systematics. We assessed the validity of listed records in light of new taxonomic findings and geographic distribution data and present a new list and an identification key to the scorpion fauna of Egypt consisting of 31 species, 18 of which were collected during this survey. Four species were not accepted for the list because no voucher material was available.

Zoology in the Middle East 64(1), 2018: 75-87.


Short Communications

On the distribution of Dina stschegolewi (Hirudinida: Erpobdellidae) in the South Caucasus

Andrii Khomenko, Serge Utevsky, Dmitry Palatov, Mair Huseynov, Shabnam Farzali, Leman Dadashova, Kaveh Darabi-Darestani, Andrei Utevsky

Zoology in the Middle East 64(1), 2018: 88-90.


Suspected rat predation on the Near Eastern Fire Salamander (Salamandra infraimmaculata) by selective consumption of non-toxic tissue

Nadav Pezaro, Valentina Rovelli, Ori Segev, Alan R. Templeton and Leon Blaustein

Zoology in the Middle East 64(1), 2018: 91-93.



Correction to: Do recent leopard Panthera pardus records from northern Iraq and south-eastern Turkey reveal an unknown population nucleus in the region?

Zoology in the Middle East 64(1), 2018: 94.



Zoology in the Middle East