On the Snake Fauna of Central and Southern Iraq and Some Zoogeographic Remarks

Fadhel Aabbas Rhadi, Rihab Ghaleb Mohammed, Nasrullah Rastegar-Pouyani, Eskandar Rastegar-Pouyani, Seyyed Saeed Hosseinian Yousefkhani


Central and southern Iraq in the area adjacent to and between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, known as Mesopotamian plain. The Mesopotamian plain is a geological depression filled with rivers sediments which covers the central and southern part of Iraq. It is plain of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, beings north of Baghdad and extends to southern Iraq, bordered by High Mountain in the east, desert from the west, and Persian Gulf from the south. An area of diverse physical features leading to rich biodiversity. An investigation of the status of snakes in central and southern Iraq was carried out from September 2013 to May 2015. A total of 138 specimens were collected and identified. Five families, 13 genera, and 17 species are represented, including Lyptotyphlopidae: Lyptotyphlops macrorhyncha (Jan, 1861); Boidae: Eryx jaculus jaculus (Linnaeus, 1758), Eryx jaculus familiaris Eichwald, 1831, Eryx cf. miliaris (Pallas, 1773); Lamprophiidae: Psammophis schokari (Forsskål, 1775), Malpolon insignitus (Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, 1827), Rhagerhis moilensis (Reuss, 1834); Colubridae: Dolichophis cf. caspius (Gmelin, 1789), Dolichophis jugularis (Linnaeus 1785), Dolichophis cf. schmidti (Nikolsky, 1909), Spalerosophis diadema cliffordi (Schlegel, 1837), Platyceps ventromaculatus (Gray, 1834), Natrix tessellata (Laurenti, 1768); and Viperidae: Pseudocerastes persicus fieldi K. Schmidt, 1930, Macrovipera lebetina (Linnaeus, 1758), Cerastes gasperettii gasperettii Leviton et Anderson, 1967, and Echis carinatus Stemmler, 1969. According to the literature, 41 species of snakes were found in Iraq and according to the results of this survey 17 species and subspecies (~41%) of them occur in central and southern Iraq. Of these, 10 species are aglypha, 3 species opisthoglypha and 4 species proteroglypha. This study was conducted in 27 sampling localities and these project areas represent typical environment and climate of the central and southern regions of Iraq.


snake fauna of Iraq; central and southern Iraq; ecoregion of Iraq; zoogeography

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.30906/1026-2296-2017-24-4-251-266


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