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Prof. Dr. Bayram GÖÇMEN

Zoologist, Herpetologist, Protozoologist/Parasitologist,             Nature Photographer

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of  The WORLD

Based on the book entitled "Lizards of Iran" by Prof. Dr. Steven C. Anderson (1999)- Contribution To Herpetology, Vol. 15.

Society for the Study of Amphibians & Reptiles (SSAR), 442pp.

Eublepharis angramainyu (photo by Mr. Josef F. Schmidtler, after Prof. Anderson's Book)

ani.gif (1653 bytes) Eublepharis angramainyu

ani.gif (1653 bytes) Eublepharis angramainyu from Anatolia

Eublepharis turcmenicus (Photo by Mr. Rösler, after Mr. Rösler's Book)

ani.gif (1653 bytes) Eublepharis turcmenicus

Eublepharis macularius fasciolatus (courtesy by Dr. Yuri Kaverkin)

ani.gif (1653 bytes) Eublepharis macularius fasciolatus

Eublepharis macularius montanus (Courtesy by Dr. Yuri Kaverkin)

ani.gif (1653 bytes) Eublepharis macularius montanus

Eublepharis macularius afghanicus (courtesy by Dr. Yuri Kaverkin)

ani.gif (1653 bytes) Eublepharis macularius afghanicus

Eublepharis hardwickii (photo by M. Knoethig, courtesy by Dr. Yuri Kaverkin)

ani.gif (1653 bytes) Eublepharis hardwickii


Macrovipera lebetina lebetina from Cyprus

Blunt-nosed viper,  Macrovipera lebetina lebetina from Dikmen, N. Cyprus, photo by B. Göçmen.

Bufo viridis specimen from Kilis (Turkey)

A female Green toad, Bufo viridis specimen from Kilis (Turkey), photo by B. Göçmen.

female Desert cobra  Walterinnesia aegyptia specimen from Kilis

A female Desert cobra,  Walterinnesia aegyptia specimen from Kilis (Turkey), photo by B. Göçmen.

White-striped skink,  Eumeces pavimentatus

A female White-striped skink,  Eumeces pavimentatus specimen from Adana (Turkey), photo by B. Göçmen.



The only thorough review of this taxon is that of Grismer (1988). He follows Kluge (1987) in presenting evidence that the eublepharids are a monophyletic subgroup of the Gekkota on the basis of derived character states (medial contact of pares frontales, wide anterior section of nasal bones, and dorsal end of clavicle not projecting above dorsal end of scapulocoracoid). He recognizes two subfamilies, Aeluroscalabotinae and Eublepharinae, on the basis of his analysis. In his consideration of relationships among the outgroups of the Gekkota used in his analysis, Grismer (1988:372, fig. 4) utilizes Kluge’s (1987:39-40) classification. He regards the Gekkota as composed of three families, the Eublepharidae, the Diplodactylidae (consisting of the Diplodactylinae and the Pygopodinae), and the Gekkoni­dae (Gekkoninae, Teratoscincinae, and Sphaerodactylinae). His hypothesis of the relation­ships among the Eublepharidae is summarized in his cladogram (Grismer, 1988:452, fig. 53).

Genus Eubtepharis Gray, 1827 (Leopard geckos, fat-tailed geckos)

Eublepharis Gray, 1827:56 (Type species: Eublepharis hardwickii Gray, 1827, by monotypy).

Definition: Flat basioccipital bone; deep axial pockets (Grismer, 1988:441). Digits short, cylindrical, with transverse lamellae beneath, clawed, the claw partly concealed between two or four lateral scales and an upper scale; both eyelids well developed and movable; pupil vertical; males with preanal pores; dorsum with small juxtaposed scales and larger tubercles; tail shorter than head and body.

Distribution: A disjunct Southwest Asian distribution, including Iraq, Iran, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and northern India. At least four valid species, two known definitely from Iran. Borner (198 la) removed the East Asian species (F. kuroiwai and F. hichtenfelderi) from this genus, and Grismer (1988:37 1) concurred, placing both in the resurrected genus Goniurosaurus Barbour, 1908.

Eublepharis angramainyu and E. turcmenicus have been recorded from Iran, but E. cf. macularius occurs in eastern Afghanistan and eastern Baluchistan, Pakistan. Specimens were collected in eastern Khorasan by Zarudny (1903:9-10), but subsequently lost. Below, I list his localities tentatively under E. macularius. The distributions of the known populations of these closely related forms appear to be disjunct, and the observed morphological differences among populations is to be expected. Börner (1974, 1976, 198 la, 198 lb) has seen fit to assign subspecific or specific names to each of the populations known from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and India. The distribution of these geckos as currently known extends primarily along the edges of the Iranian Plateau. This suggests that a once-continu­ous distribution has been fragmented by paleogeographic events antedating the development of the present fauna of Southwest Asia. Possibly the distributional discontinuity dates back to the uplifting of the Iranian Plateau during the Pliocene. In light of recent discoveries indicating previous faunal connections between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula, Eublepharis should be looked for in the upland regions of Oman.

Closely related to the macularius group is F. hardwickii, known with certainty only from the hills of Chota Nagpur and Orissa and the adjacent districts, again a region of fairly long historical continuity as a continental area, but having been separated from areas now occupied by E. maculariuss by an arm of the Tethys Sea during the mid-Miocene, and since that time intermittently by climatic events, including increasing aridity in recent time (see discussion above, in section on paleogeography).

A curious structure in some eublepharid species is a deep axial pocket of unknown function. This is an invagination of the skin just behind the insertion of the forelimb. It is well developed in the Southwest Asian species of Eublepharis, but is absent in Goniurosaurus. It is not present in Coleonyx nor Aeluroscalabotes. This pocket has its greatest development in Hemitheconyx caudicinctus from Mauritania, but is less developed in H. caudicinctus from Ghana. Axillary pockets are not present in Holodactylus africanus that I have examined. I am confused by Grismer’s (1988) remarks on axial pockets; on page 410 he lists character S92 as present = primitive, absent derived, while in his matrix on page 468 he lists this character (C92 [lapsus?]) as derived in Eublepharis, variable in Coleonyx and Hemitheconyx. His fig. 31 (p. 409) shows Eublepharis as defined by the derived condition of character S92, and be includes the presence of deep axillary pockets in his diagnosis of Eublepharis. My observations of captive E. macularius have not shed any light on the function of these pockets. In preserved specimens they often contain many small mites. They bring to mind pockets in the neck and postanal regions of species of Sceloponus, which similarly harbor mites. Loveridge (1925) described a similar structure in Gymnodactylus lawdenanus Stoliczka and termed it a “mite pocket.” More recently, Arnold (1986) proposed that such pockets reduce the damage done to lizard hosts by ectoparasitic larval trombiculid mites, or chiggers, by concentrating them in restricted areas. Bauer et al. (1990, 1993) argued that such pockets result from phylogenetic and/or structural constraints on the skin of these lizards.

Key to the Species of Eublepharis

la. 5-9 preanal pores (Fig. A); first labial not in contact with large, postmental chin shield (Fig. B) ........  Eublepharis turcmenicus Darevsky, 1977

lb. 11-17 preanal pores; first labial usually in contact with chin shield (Fig. C)

2a.   Subdigital lamellae smooth (Fig. D) ........ Eublepharis angnamainyu Anderson and Leviton, 1966

2b. Subdigital lamellae each with several small tubercles (Fig. E).........*Eublepharis macularius (Blyth, 1854).

Further Readings

1. Anderson, SC, 1999. The Lizards of Iran (Contrubution to Herpetology, Vol. 15), Missouri, USA: Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles. 442 pp.

2. Anderson, S. C. & Leviton, A. E. (1966). A New species of Eublepharis from southwestern Iran (Reptilia: Gekkonidae). Occas. Pap. California Acad. Sci. 53, 1-5.

3. Leviton, A. E., Anderson, S. C., Adler, K. & Minton, S. A. (1992). Handbook to Middle East Amphibians and Reptiles (Contributions to Herpetology, Vol.8). Missouri, USA: Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles., 252pp.

4. Rösler, H. (1995). Geckos der Welt. Leipzig, Jena, Berlin:Urania-Verlag., 256pp

5. Szczerbak, N. N. & Golubev, M. L. (1996). Gecko Fauna of the USSR and Contiguous Regions. Contributions to Herpetology, Vol.13, Adler, K. R. Perry, T. D. (eds.). Missouri (USA): Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, 233pp.

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