9 (1) IRANIAN PLATEAU
MIDDLE EAST CHAPTER - AMPHIBIAN AND
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As a part of the
Irano-Anatolian biodiversity hot spot which contains centers of local endemism, Northern and western Iran are a geographical center for the evolution
of numerous herpetological species. However, this biodiversity is now threatened by
insufficient sustainable management of natural resource in the region. Immediate threats
include habitat destruction through increased agriculture and vegetation burning,
and climate change along with increasing risks of desertification and changes in vegetation
structure. Here the Amphibian and Reptile Conservation network through the Amphibina and
Reptile Conservation journal presents articles of the first volume produced by our Middle
East Chapter on the hepetofauna of the Iranian Plateau.
Sustainable Management of the Iranian Plateau
Herpetofauna. 2014. Nasrullah Rastegar-Pouyani, Ali Gholamifard, Rasoul
Karamiani, Zahed Bahmani, Asghar Mobaraki, Elham Abtin, Hiwa Faizi, Nastaran
Heidari, Mohsen Takesh, Farkhondeh Sayyadi, Nabi Ahsani and Robert K Browne.
Amphibian and Reptile Conservation 9(1):
global initiative toward sustainable management includes the long term protection of biodiversity.
Northern and western Iran are part of the Irano-Anatolian biodiversity hot spot that has many
centers of endemism as a biogeographical center for the origin of many amphibian and reptile taxa.
A high diversity of habitat types coupled with climatologically diverse environments result in the
13 different physiographic regions that support this biodiversity. The known herpetofauna of Iran
comprises approximately 232 reptile and 22 amphibian species belonging to about 100 genera, 31
families, five orders and three suborders. The Squamata with 199 species in 78 genera and 18
families is the most specious reptilian order in Iran and account for approximately 85 percent of
the herpetofauna. Fifty five endemic species in 11 families and 22 genera are considered here. At
present, numerous factors, including habitat destruction through increased agriculture, as well as
vegetation burning and climate change along with increasing risks of desertification have made a
major impact on various ecosystems. Further, threats come from exotic species, the use of reptile
products in traditional medicine and food, and pollution. There are ten Vulnerable, four
Endangered, and seven Critically Endangered herpetofaunal elements in Iran. The establishment of
protected areas, participation of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in herpetological
conservation, and more research of taxonomy, species range and habitats, threats and their
mitigation are required for the sustainable management of Iranian herpetofauna. A concerted Iranian
and international program for the sustainable management of Iranian herpetofauna is required
because of Iran’s biogeographic status, its high level of herpetological diversity and endemicity,
and its importance as a global biodiversity hot spot.
A conservation reassessment of the Critically Endangered, Lorestan
newt Neurergus kaiseri (Schmidt 1952) in Iran. 2014. Asghar Mobaraki, Mohsen
Amiri, Rahim Alvandi, Masoud Ebrahim Tehrani, Hossein Zarin Kia, Ali Khoshnamvand, Ali Bali, Ehsan
Forozanfar, and Robert K Browne. Amphibian and Reptile Conservation 9(1):
Summary: The Lorestan newt
(Neurergus kaiseri, Schmidt 1952) is an endemic salamander species to Iran, listed as
“Critically Endangered” in the 2006 IUCN Red List due to population declines of 80%, over
collection for the pet trade; area of occupancy less than 10 km2, fragmented populations, less than
1,000 adults, and continuing habitat degradation and loss. We conducted a series of field surveys
over the previously known region inhabited by N. kaiseri, and over some other areas that
appeared to provide suitable habitat for N. kaiseri. Two Iranian provinces of Khuzestan
and Lorestan were surveyed with 20 aquatic sites inhabited by N. kaiseri distributed over
an area of ~10,000 km2, with an estimate a minimum total population of greater than ~9,000 adult
N. kaiseri. We surveyed only a small area of the potential range of N.
kaiseri, and more breeding sites appear during exceptionally wet periods. We consider that
N. kaiseri needs greater conservation planning and implementation, habitat and legal
protection, and increasing support for the expansion of community conservation programs.
Conservation initiatives for N. kaiseri will also benefit many other threatened species
including the Iran cave barb (Iranocypris typhlops), spur-thighed tortoise (Testudo
graeca), Persian leopard (Panthera pardus ciscaucasica ), brown bear (Ursus
arctus), Caucasian squirrel (Sciurus anomalus) and saker falcon (Falco
cherrug). We recommend a conservation action plan prepared by the Department of
the Environment of Iran, with contributions by Iranian and International experts on all facets of
the conservation of Neurergus species especially including the expansion of community conservation
record of Apathya cappadocica muhtari (Eiselt, 1979) (Sauria: Lacertidae) in Iran
with its natural history and distribution. 2014. Zahed Bahmani, Rasoul Karamiani, Nasrullah
Rastegar-Pouyani, Ahmad Gharzi. Amphibian and Reptile
Conservation. 9(1): 26-30. PDF
Summary: The first record of the lacertid lizard Apathya
cappadocica muhtari from Iran is presented. The most distinguishing characters of A. c.
muhtari is the presence of an undivided and single preanal plate and six longitudinal rows of
The amphibian fauna of
Kurdistan Province , Western Iran. ZahedBahmani, Rasoul Karamiani,
Gharzi, Robert Kenneth
2014. Amphibian and Reptile
Conservation 9(1): 31–35. High
Summary: The amphibian fauna of
Kurdistan Province was surveyed over a period of three years from April 2010 to June 2013. We found
six species of amphibians belong to five genera and four families including: Rana
ridibunda and Rana camerani (family Ranidae), Bufo
viridis (family Bufonidae), Hyla savignyi (family Hylidae), and the
critically endangered Neurergus microspilotus and Salamandara infraimmaculta
semenovi (family Salamandridae). N. microspilotus is distributed in
Kermanshah and Kurdistan Provinces, while S. i. semenovi is confined to Kurdistan
Province. These two species are threatened by anthropogenic habitat modification particularly the
loss of suitable aquatic habitat and the effects of climate
Conservation status of the Kurdistan Newt Neurergus
microspilotus in Kermanshah and Kurdistan Provinces, Iran. 2014. Nasrullah Rastegar-Pouyani, Rezgar Mirani, Zahed Bahmani, Rasoul Karamiani,
Mohsen Takesh, and Robert K
Browne. Amphibian and Reptile Conservation 9(1): 36-41.
Low res PDF
High res PDF
Summary: Assessments of a species
range, distribution, evolutionary distinct populations, and threatening processes are necessary for
sustainable management and to guide further research. During extensive field work in the western
regions of the Iranian Plateau from April 2012 to Jun 2013 we found 11 new localities of Kurdistan
newt Neurergus microspilotus in Kermanshah and seven in Kurdistan Province. There were few
Neurergus microspilotus observed in each habitat and we discuss threatening
Sexual dimorphism of the Yassujian lizard, Apathya
yassujica (Nilson et al, 2003) (Sauria: Lacertidae) from
Iran. 2014. Rasoul Karamiani, Sarallah Dabid,
Nasrullah Rastegar-Pouyani. Amphibian
and Reptile Conservation 9(1): 42-48. PDF
رSummary: We measured the morphometrics
of 23 male and 19 female adult specimens Apathya yassujica (Nilson et al., 2003) from
Kohguiluyeh Va Boyer Ahmad and Fars Provinces in southwestern regions of the Iranian Plateau. The
uni-and multivariate analyses performed on the morphometric data (metric and meristic) demonstrated
that males are larger than females but other morphometrics are the indistinguishable. New records
of A. yassujica from different regions of Fars province, southwestern Iran were
A noteworthy record of translocation for
Emys orbicularis persica (Eichwald, 1831) in southern Iran. Ali Gholamifard, Hamid Reza
Esmaeili, Nasrullah Rastegar-Pouyani.
Amphibian and Reptile Conservation 9(1): 49-53. PDF
Summary: In the present study we record a considerable translocationof the eastern
pond turtle, Emys
orbicularispersica to a rich freshwater habitat
in southern Iran.Several scenarios for its introduction to Fars Province are also
First record and range extension of Sistan
racerunner, Eremias fasciata (Blanford 1874) (Sauria: Lacertidae) from Hormozgan Province, southern
Iran. Ali Gholamifard, Nasrullah
Rastegar-Pouyani. Amphibian and
Reptile Conservation 9(1): 54-57.
genus Eremias, Fitzinger, 1834, with 35 species of mostly sand, steppe, and desert
dweller lizards, is one of the most specious genera of the diverse family of Lacertidae.
Here, we record E. fasciata from Hormozgan Province, a new location in southern
Iran, and describe the specimens morphometrics. Previously published localities for E.
fasciata in Iran lie between 450 and 1700 m elevation, while the elevation of this
new locality is at about 15 m a.s.l.
Some aspects of the ecology and natural history of
Teratoscincus keyserlingii, Strauch 1863, (Lancertia, Sphaerodactylidae) from South Khorasan Province,
Eastern Iran. Ali Gholamifard, Nasrullah Rastegar-Pouyani and Hamed Ostovari. Amphibian and Reptile Conservation 9(1): 58-65.
Summary: During herpetological field work in 3 areas in
South Khorasan Province, eastern Iran, some aspects of the ecology and natural history of
Keyserling’s plate-tailed gecko, Teratoscincus keyserlingii, Strauch 1863, were
investigated including behavioral ecology, feeding and reproductive biology, and habitat. Some new
findings regarding behavior and biology of T. keyserlingii were recorded and discussed.
Teratoscincus keyserlingii employs several different predator-escape mechanisms during
different life history stages. These include visual and acoustic displays of threat such as
limb extension, back posturing and tail waving in combination with the production of a buzzing
sound, predator avoidance through escape to the burrow or hiding in the bushes, and escape behavior
through losing large patches of skin and tail autotomy.
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