Monday, September 18, 2017

[Herpetology • 2017] Eumeces persicus • A New Species of Eumeces Wiegmann 1834 (Sauria: Scincidae) from Iran

Eumeces persicus
Faizi, Rastegar-Pouyani, Rastegar-Pouyani, Nazarov, Heidari, Zangi, Orlova & Poyarkov, 2017

Persian Striped Skink  || DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4320.2.5 
We describe a new species of skink in the genus Eumeces Wiegmann 1834 from Iran. Eumeces persicus sp. nov. is a medium sized skink, distinguished by two clear, wide, and brown lateral lines extending from the ear opening to the hindlimbs, with scattered light orange spots, and two median rows of dorsal scales broadly enlarged in eight longitudinal rows. The new species ranges from southern Tehran to Kerman Province along the eastern slopes of the Zagros Mountains towards the Iranian plateau. We provide morphological comparisons of the new species with other Eumeces species from the region and molecular analyses of two mitochondrial markers (16S and Cytb). We also present taxonomic and phylo-genetic accounts, with an updated identification key for the genus Eumeces in Iran and surrounding regions. 

Keywords: Reptilia, Eumeces persicus sp. nov., Iranian Plateau, Morphology, Phylogeny, Skink

FIGURE 4. (A) Holotype of Eumeces persicus sp. nov. RUZM-SE-07. Inset shows close-up of the lateral side of the head. (B) Paratype specimen (ZMMU R-14723-1) alive in its habitat.

Eumeces persicus sp. nov. 
Proposed vernacular name: Persian Striped Skink

Etymology. The species epithet “persicus” is an adjective that refers to the current known distribution of the new species—Iran (=Persia).

Distribution. The new species is widely distributed at the eastern Zagros Mountain slopes, in the central plains of Iran from the deserts of southern Tehran to Kerman Province encompassing a distribution range of about 900 km. .... Further investigation is necessary to find more records in other regions with similar habitats situated between the two current localities. Eumeces persicus sp. nov. is also found in sympatry with other reptile species including snakes and lizards such as Bunopus crassicauda, Tenuidactylus caspium, Trachylepis aurata, Varanus griseus, Spalerosophis diadema, Malpolon insignitus, Lytorhynchus ridgewayi and Platyceps karelini, and specifically in close syntopy with Trapelus agilis.  

  Hiva Faizi, Nasrullah Rastegar-Pouyani, Eskandar Rastegar-Pouyani, Roman Alexeevich Nazarov,  Nastaran Heidari, Bahman Zangi, Valentina Orlova and Nikolay Poyarkov. 2017.  A New Species of Eumeces Wiegmann 1834 (Sauria: Scincidae) from Iran. Zootaxa. 4320(2) 289-304. DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4320.2.5

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