The Herpetological Journal is the Society's prestigious quarterly scientific journal. Articles are listed in Biological Abstracts, Current Awareness in Biological Sciences,Current Contents, Science Citation Index, and Zoological Record.
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Authors: Naeimeh Eskandarzadeh, Nasrullah Rastegar-Pouyani, Eskandar Rastegar-Pouyani, Fatemeh Todehdehghan, Mahdi Rajabizadeh, Mohammad Zarrintab, Fadhil Abbas Rhadi & Haji Gholi Kami
Abstract: Several attempts have recently been made to elucidate taxonomic status and phylogenetic relationships among the species and subspecies of sand boas of the genus Eryx throughout their distribution range, with no stable consensus about their taxonomy. Here the phylogenetic relationships among the populations of Eryx in Iran and adjacent areas are studied based on two mitochondrial markers (cytb and 16S). Sixteen morphological characters were examined for evaluation of morphological differences among major populations. Ecological niche modeling was applied to demonstrate the potential distribution of the populations in Iran. ENMtools was also used to measure the degree of niche overlap among the major populations in Iran. Based on phylogenetic reconstruction and considering the genetic distances with specimens from type localities, E. tataricus is a junior synonym of E. miliaris and the subspecies rank for E. m. nogaiorum seems to be invalid. Considering the genetic distance of populations in western Iran and Iraq, and the habitat and morphological differences among the populations of Eryx in western Iran, Iraq and Egypt, the population of Eryx in western Iran is suggested as a different species from E. jaculus, named here as Eryx sp. and the ones from Iraq as Eryx cf. jaculus. Here, the evaluation and revision of taxonomic status, distribution ranges and descriptions of morphological characters of the studied species have been done.
Keywords: Eryx, taxonomy, phylogeny, mitochondrial markers, morphology, niche modeling, niche overlap