Remarks on the Iranolacerta brandtii brandtii (De Filippi, 1863) (Sauria: Lacertidae) habitat from the Varzeghan area, East Azerbaijan province

Remarks on the Iranolacerta brandtii brandtii (DE FILIPPI, 1863) (Sauria: Lacertidae) habitat from the Varzeghan area, East Azerbaijan province



During recent herpetological field work (june 2012) a new locality was found for Iranolacerta brandtii brandtii (DE FILIPPI, 1863) 40 km north of Varzeghan, in the East Azerbaijan province of Iran. Two specimens were collected and deposited in the Madani University Zoological Collection under numbers A49 and A50. A description is given on the local habitat, as well as 20 metric and meristic characters of the two specimens.

Keywords: Lacertidae, East Azerbaijan province, Iranolacerta brandtii brandtii, morphological characteristics.


Während einer herpetologischen Exkursion im Juni 2012 wurde ein neues Vorkommen von Iranolacerta brandtii brandtii (DE FILIPPI, 1863) 40 km nördlich von Varzeghan in der iranischen Provinz Ost-Aserbaidschan entdeckt. Zwei Exemplare wurden gesammelt und in der zoologischen Sammlung der Madani-Universität unter den Nummern A49 und A50 hinterlegt. Es werden der Lebensraum sowie 20 metrische und meristische Merkmale der beiden Exemplare beschrieben.

Schlüsselwörter: Lacertidae, Ost-Aserbaidschan Provinz, Iranolacerta brandtii brandtii, morphologische Merkmale.


Iranolacerta ARNOLD, ARRIBAS & CARRANZA, 2007 is a small genus of lacertidae that occurs in Iran (ANDERSON 1999 ; RASTEGAR-POUYANI et al. 2008) and adjacent Azerbaijan (BOETTGER 1886). It consists of two species, Iranolacerta brandtii (DE FILIPPI, 1863) and Iranolacerta zagrosica (RASTEGAR-POUYANI & NILSON, 1998).

Iranolacerta brandtii has two subspecies, I.b.brandtii, the nominate form with type locality Basmenj (near Tabriz) in the east Azerbaijan province of Iran (DE FILIPPI 1863), and I.b.isfahanica with type locality in the Zagros Mountains, northwest of Fereydun Shahr, in the Isfahan province of Iran (NILSON et al. 2003). Results from phylogenetic mtDNA research on the species of the genus Iranolacerta suggests that the populations of the genus from the Zagros mountains and the Northwest of the Iranian plateau were connected in early Holocene and then disconnected in late Holocene (AHMADZADEH et al. 2012).

Iranolacerta brandtii inhabits mountainous areas, it occurs in hills and foothills containing sand and clay (AHMADZADEH et al. 2006), and according to ANDERSON (1999) it occurs in gullies and on the slopes of redeposit volcanic tuff and the lizards are taking refuge under and among boulders. This species is placed in the Data Deficient (DD) group of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species,

due to the lack of information regarding threats, biology, ecology and geography (TUNIYEV et al. 2009 ; REZAZADEH et al. 2010). The survival of lizards depends on many factors, such as substrate type, vegetation, temperature and moisture. They play an important role in many ecosystems, and are sensitive to habitat destruction (AHMADZADEH et al. 2006 ; ANDERSON 1999). Human activity affecting the above-mentioned factors could cause environmental destruction, which is dangerous, and has a negative effect on the lizards survival.

Materials and Methods

During herpetological field work in June 2012 in the Varzeghan area, two specimens of the subspecies Iranolacerta brandtii brandtii were collected at the coordinates N 38 23', E 046 42' at an altitude of 1875 m, in a region known as Aq-Darreh (Image 1). The lizards were captured by hand, under spring-like conditions, with temperature of 70 °F (approximately 21 °C), humidity approximately 80% and an air pressure of 814 mmHg. Both specimens were euthanized and conserved using common methods in herpetology (Image 2), and were deposited in the Madani University Zoological Collection under numbers A49 and A50. The following metric and meristic characters were recorded (Table 1);

T4L4th toe length
SVLSnout to vent length
SLSupra-labials (before sub-ocular)
SBMSub-ocular bordering mouth or not?
GSGular scales
DSDorsal scales
VRVentral rows (vertically)
VSHVentral series (horizontally)
LFLength of femor
FPFemoral pores
CSCaudal scales keeled or not?
S9thSOTScales in 9th segment of tail
ELEye length
LOHLength of head
WHOWidth of head
LWPTLength of widest part of tail
WCLSWidth of coloac largest size
TLTail length
Table 1. The 20 metric and meristic characters that were examined in this study.

Image 1. Habitat of Iranolacerta brandtii brandtii in the Varzeghan area, about 40 km north of Varzeghan (Photograph by Alireza Mohammadpour).

Image 2. Ventral view (A) and Dorsal view (B) of Iranolacerta brandtii brandtii.

Results and Discussion

We present the biometric results of the first two specimens of Iranolacerta brandtii brandtii recorded from this part of the Varzeghan area in table 2.

A4910.5168.83275Yes315126811.0216Less274.4315.9910.557.867.86No tail
Table 2. The 20 metric and meristic characters that were examined in this study.

Arasbaran forest is one of the five main forests of Iran. (The other forests are Hyrcanian-, Zagros-, Irano- (Touranian and khalij) and Omani-forest). It is a UNESCO registered biosphere reserve (since 1976) and an Iranian Department of Environment designated Protected Area, alongside and covering the Ghareh Dagh mountains, in the East Azarbaijan province (GHARACHORLOU et al. 2010). The Aq-Darreh area, where we collected our lizards, is situated on the south-side of this protected area, in a rocky area, where the soft soil consists of sand mixed with some rocks, and vegetated with Astragalus ssp. shrubs. There is a nearby spring that provides good conditions for the alongside vegetation. Other lizards, Laudakia caucasia, Darevskia raddei and Ablepharus bivitatus, are the species that were found to live sympatric with Iranolacerta brandtii brandtii in our study area.


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SEYYED SAEED HOSSEINIAN YOUSEFKHANI, Iranian Plateau Herpetology Research Group (IPHRG), Faculty of Science, Razi University, 6714967346 Kermanshah, Iran.
Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Razi University, 6714967346 Kermanshah, Iran.
ALIREZA MOHAMMADPOUR, Iranian Plateau Herpetology Research Group (IPHRG), Faculty of Science, Razi University, 6714967346 Kermanshah, Iran.
Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Razi University, 6714967346 Kermanshah, Iran.
NAEIMEH ESKANDARZADEH, Department of Biology, Faculty of science, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Iran.