Zoology in the Middle East

Volume 65, 2019

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

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Zoology in the Middle East, Volume 65, Issue 4


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, Volume 65, Issue 3


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, Volume 65, Issue 2


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, Volume 65, Issue 1

The hypogean invertebrate fauna of Georgia (Caucasus)

Shalva Barjadze, Zezva Asanidze, Alexander Gavashelishvili and Felipe N. Soto-Adames

Information about the cave invertebrates of Georgia, Caucasus, is summarised, resulting in 43 troglo- and 43 stygobiont taxa reported from 64 caves. Species distribution analyses were conducted for 61 caves harbouring 58 invertebrate taxa, with the majority of caves (39) located in Apkhazeti (north-western Georgia). In 22 caves from central-west Georgia (Samegrelo, Imereti and Racha-Lechkhumi regions of west Georgia) 31 taxa are reported. Composition of cave fauna differed strongly between the caves in Apkhazeti and the central-west of Georgia. Only two taxa of the total 86 were shared, resulting in negligible similarity (Sørensen-Dice coefficient Ss=4.8%). Rarefaction indicated an increase in number of species with additional sampling could increase species richness from 58 to 76 for caves in Apkhazeti and from 31 to 69 for caves in central-west Georgia. These findings suggest that the low invertebrate species richness observed in caves of western Georgia is the result of insufficient sampling. A pairwise approach to analysing species co-occurrence showed ten positive spatial associations in 7 out of 86 cave species, all from Kveda Shakurani and Tsebelda caves. The species co-occurring in the same microhabitat require further study to understand their relationships.

Zoology in the Middle East 65(1), 2019: 1-10.

Seasonal habitat selection and temporal activity patterns determine the structure of bat assemblages in Dhana Biosphere Reserve, Jordan (Mammalia: Chiroptera)

Omar A. Abed, Mohammad A. Abu Baker and Zuhair S. Amr

We measured species richness, diversity, and diel activity patterns of insectivorous bats at four sites within Dhana Biosphere Reserve. A total of seven species belonging to five families at varying species compositions were recorded. Four to six species were present at these sites and total diversity ranged between 0.32 at Ain Lahtha and 0.65 at Al Khararah. Overall frequency of passes was highest at Shaq Kalbeh. The Common Pipistrelle, Pipistrellus pipistrellus, was the most prevalent at three sites, followed by the Arabian Horseshoe Bat, Rhinolophus clivosus, and Botta’s Serotine, Eptesicus bottae. Natterer’s Bat, Myotis nattereri, and the European Free-tailed Bat, Tadarida teniotis, occurred at low abundance. The Lesser Horseshoe Bat, Rhinolophus hipposideros, occurred at a higher abundance within Finan site (arid site at lower altitude), whereas the Egyptian Mouse-tailed Bat, Rhinopoma cystops, was restricted to Finan. The overall mean number of bat passes was not significantly different between sites. Average seasonal species diversity was low during winter (none at Ain Lahtha and Shaq Kalbeh) and highest during summer (0.68 at Al Kharrarah). Seasonal activity patterns for each site in terms of frequencies of bat passes on an hourly basis are given.

Zoology in the Middle East 65(1), 2019: 11-19.

Differences in shape and size of skull and mandible in Talpa species (Mammalia: Eulipotyphla) from Turkey

Ahmet Yesari Selçuk, Alaettin Kaya and Haluk Kefelioğlu

We analysed with landmark-based images morphological differences between four species of Talpa which resemble each other morphologically and are all highly adapted to underground life. Subtle shape differences of the skull and mandibular bones were found between all species. However, there is also broad overlap between all species. Talpa caucasica had the largest skull and mandibles, and Talpa levantis the smallest.

Zoology in the Middle East 65(1), 2019: 20-27.

Daily movements and home range of Eastern Hermann’s Tortoise, Testudo hermanni boettgeri (Reptilia: Testudines)

Oguz Türkozan, Sezgin Karaman, Can Yılmaz and Celal Ülger

Understanding the movements of animals in the wild is critical for providing important information regarding their conservation and management. With this aim in mind, we studied a population of Testudo hermanni in their natural habitat using micro GPS devices. Additionally, using VHF transmitters we tracked six individuals (four females and two males) from May to August 2015. The overall home range size varied from 813 and 123,567 m2. Home range size did not differ significantly between males and females, and was also independent of the size of the individual (expressed as straight carapace length). Individual movements were confined to short distances (males 25.7 m; females 18.5 m). Activity levels were highest in July and August for males and May and July for females.

Zoology in the Middle East 65(1), 2019: 28-34.

Year-Round Aggregation of Sandbar Shark, Carcharhinus plumbeus (Nardo, 1827), in Boncuk Cove in the southern Aegean Sea, Turkey (Carcharhiniformes: Carcharhinidae)

Halit Filiz

The present study provided a two-years assessment to understand the seasonal fluctuations of aggregation of the Sandbar Shark, Carcharhinus plumbeus, in Boncuk Cove in the southern Aegean Sea. Underwater Visual Censuses (UVC) revealed that the species is present in the cove throughout the year but form aggregations only between March and November. Aggregation in groups was observed at a daily sea temperature above 18.1°C and this indicated a possible lower threshold for aggregations for Boncuk Cove population.

Zoology in the Middle East 65(1), 2019: 35-39.

Community structure of the deep sea fishes in the northern Gulf of Aqaba, Red Sea (Osteichthyes and Chondrichthyes)

Maroof A. Khalaf, Shorouq S. Ma’ayta, Mohammad A. Wahsha, Riyad S. Manasrah and Tariq H. Al-Najjar

The aim of this study was to investigate the community structure of deep sea fishes in the northern Gulf of Aqaba. Deep fish traps, short lines and long lines were deployed at depth ranges from 60 to 700 m between June 2014 and May 2015. A total of 369 fish individuals belonging to 37 species in 21 families were collected. The most abundant family observed in deep fish traps and short line was the commercially important family Sparidae, whereas the most abundant family in long line catch was the commercially unimportant fish family Muraenidae. The most abundant fish species sampled by deep fish traps and shortline was Blueskin Seabream, Polysteganus coeruleopunctatus. The most abundant species in long line catch White-spotted Moray, Gymnothorax johnsoni. In fish traps and with short line, the most commonly caught species was Blueskin Seabream. White-spotted Moray was the most common long line catch. Depth distribution for 37 deep fish species and GIS maps for the two main commercial fish species Blueskin Seabream and Bigeye Hound Shark, Iago omanensis were documented.

Zoology in the Middle East 65(1), 2019: 40-50.

The taxonomic status of an introduced freshwater goby of the genus Rhinogobius to Iran (Teleostei: Gobiidae)

Reza Sadeghi, Hamid Reza Esmaeili, Fatah Zarei, Amirhossein Esmaeili and Keivan Abbasi

The taxonomic status of Iranian populations of an introduced freshwater goby of the genus Rhinogobius is analysed. The populations examined here had previously been considered as Rhinogobius similis or R. cheni. Comparison of new material with a recent re-description of R. similis reviewing the morphological characters available in the literature, and recent morphogenetic studies of material collected in Iran, revealed that the introduced goby should be designated as R. lindbergi. New records show that the distribution of this species extends to the Tigris River system (Persian Gulf basin) far outside of its native range. It has been probably introduced accidentally.

Zoology in the Middle East 65(1), 2019: 51-58.

A new genus and two new species of freshwater Gastropoda from the Ceyhan River Basin in the eastern Mediterranean (Mollusca: Gastropoda: Truncatelloidea)

Mustafa Emre Gürlek

In a survey of the mollusc fauna of the Ceyhan River Basin, including rivers, natural lakes, dam lakes and springs between June 2008 and September 2014, a total of 20 species of Gastropoda and 8 species of Bivalvia were identified. Two of these species are new to science, and for one of them a new genus is erected: the hydrobiid Hemite ceyhanensis gen. n., sp. n., and the bithyniid Pseudobithynia cocussusica sp. n.

Zoology in the Middle East 65(1), 2019: 59-65.

A new hypogean species of the genus Domene Fauvel, 1873 from Turkey (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae: Paederinae)

Sinan Anlaş

Domene bordonii sp. n. is described and illustrated from Geyik Mountains, Konya province, central southern Anatolia. This new hypogean species was collected with a subterranean pitfall trap in the mesovoid shallow substratum.

Zoology in the Middle East 65(1), 2019: 66-69.

Scuttle flies (Diptera: Phoridae) from Ardabil province in Iran, with description of a new species of Megaselia Rondani

Roya Namaki Khameneh, Samad Khaghaninia and R. Henry L. Disney

our named species of scuttle flies were collected from Ardabil province- Iran, during 2013–2014. A new species of the genus Megaselia Rondani 1856, M. ardabilensis n. sp., is described from the region and Megaselia producta (Schmitz) is recorded from the country for the first time. Geographical distributions and supplementary figures are given.

Zoology in the Middle East 65(1), 2019: 70-74.

New data on plume moths (Lepidoptera: Pterophoridae) of Oman

Peter Ustjuzhanin, Vasily Kovtunovich, Aidas Saldaitis and Anna Ustjuzhanina

This article provides a list of Pterophoridae of the Oman fauna. Three more species are added to the previously known 14. For Agdistis omani Arenberger, 2008, described on the basis of a female, we give a description of the male genitalia and an image of the male. For Cosmoclostis lanceata (Arenberger, 1985) we establish the junior synonym: Cosmoclostis gorbunovi Ustjuzhanin & Kovtunovich, 2011 syn. n.

Zoology in the Middle East 65(1), 2019: 75-78.

The flattie spider family Selenopidae (Araneae) in the Middle East

Alireza Zamani and Sarah C. Crews

The spider family Selenopidae is currently represented by two species in the Middle East: Selenops radiatus Latreille, 1819 and S. oculatus Pocock, 1898. We record the former species for the first time in Iran and Saudi Arabia. The latter, previously known only from the original description from Yemen, is re-described. Additionally, a new species, Selenops bastet sp. n. (), is described from Egypt. All treated species are illustrated, and S. sumitrae Patel & Patel, 1973 syn. n. (from western India) is synonymised with S. radiatus.

Zoology in the Middle East 65(1), 2019: 79-87.


Leopard (Panthera pardus) reoccupying its historic range in the South Caucasus: a first evidence (Mammalia: Felidae)

Elshad Askerov, Tariel Talibov, Karen Manvelyan, Nugzar Zazanashvili, Parviz Fatullayev and Alexander Malkhasyan

Zoology in the Middle East 65(1), 2019: 88-90.

New records of the Iranian Vole, Microtus irani Thomas, 1921, from eastern Turkey (Mammalia: Rodentia)

Sadık Demirtaş and Ali Tümay Gürler

Zoology in the Middle East 65(1), 2019: 91-94.



Zoology in the Middle East