Age Structure of the Caucasian Agama (Paralaudakia caucasia) from Elmadağ, Iğdır, Turkey: Preliminary Data from Small Sample Size

Kalayci T. Ergül, A. Altunışık, Ç. Gül, M. Tosunoğlu, Nurhayat Özdemir


Life history traits of lizard species, including agamid species, generally involve male-larger body size, but age of these species has not adequately been examined in each cohort. We thus conducted a skeletochronological study using 16 preserved specimens of Paralaudakia caucasia (8 males, 6 females, and 2 juveniles) captured from Elmadağ, Iğdır, Turkey. Mean snout-vent length was slightly but insignificantly larger in males (120.2 mm) than in females (115.9 mm). Maximum longevity was 10 years in males and 6 years in females. No significant difference in age structure was found between the sexes. Juveniles were 2-year old young. Mean age was 7.12 years for males and 5.33 years for females. Sexually matured individuals were found at the end of the second or third years (i.e., first reproduction occurred at 3 – 4 years). A positive correlation was detected in age and body size in both sexes, as has previously been shown in other lizard species. Our finding of age structure in P. caucasia would contribute to our understanding of life-history trait variations among lizard species.


Eastern Anatolia, age structure, body size, Paralaudakia caucasia, skeletochronology, Turkey

Full Text:



Adolph S. C. and Porter W. P. (1993), «Temperature, activity and lizard life histories», Am. Nat., 142, 273 – 295.

Altunışık A., Gül Ç., Özdemir N., Tosunoğlu M., and Ergül T. (2013), «Age structure and body size of the Strauch’s racerunner, Eremias strauchi strauchi Kessler, 1878», Turk. J. Zool., 37, 539 – 543.

Ananjeva N., Orlov N., Khalikov R., Darevsky I., Ryabov S., and Barabanov A. (2004), Atlas of Reptiles of the North Eurasia: Taxonomic Diversity, Distribution, Conservation Status, St. Petersburg [in Russian].

Atayev C. (1985), Mountain Reptiles of Turkmenistan, Ylym, Ashkhabad [in Russian].

Badyaev A. V. (2002), «Growing apart: an ontogenetic perspective on the evolution of sexual size dimorphism», Trends Ecol. Evol., 17, 369 – 378.

Baig K. J., Wagner P., Ananjeva N. B., and Böhme W. (2012), «A morphology-based taxonomic revision of Laudakia Gray, 1845 (Squamata: Agamidae)», Vertebr. Zool., 62, 213 – 260.

Baig K. J. (1992), Systematic Studies of the Stellio-Group of Agama (Sauria: Agamidae). Ph. D. Thesis, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad.

Castanet J. (1982), Recherchesur la croissance du tissu osseux des reptiles. Application: la methode squelettochronologique. Ph. D. Thesis, Universite de Paris VII, Paris.

Castanet J. and Smirina E. (1990), «Introduction to the skeletochronological method in amphibians and reptiles», Ann. Sci. Nat., 11, 191 – 196.

Cheatsazan H., Kami H. G., Kiabi B. H., and Rabani V. (2006), «Sexual dimorphism in the Caucasian rock agama, Laudakia caucasia (Sauria: Agamidae)», Zool. Middle East, 39, 63 – 68.

Chou C. C., Iwasa Y., and Nakazawa T. (2016), «Incorporating an ontogenetic perspective into evolutionary theory of sexual size dimorphism», Evolution, 70, 369 – 384.

Clark R. J. and Clark E. D. (1973), «Report on a collection of amphibians and reptiles from Turkey», Occas. Pap. Calif. Acad. Sci., 104, 1 – 62.

Cox R. M. and John-Alder H. B. (2007), «Growing apart together: the development of contrasting sexual size dimorphisms in systematic Sceloporus lizards», Herpetologica, 63, 245 – 257.

Çiçek K., Kumaş M., Ayaz D., and Tok C. V. (2012), «Preliminary data on the age structure of Phrynocephalus horvathi in Mount Ararat (Northeastern Anatolia, Turkey)», Behav. Biol., 6(2), 112 – 115.

Eichwald C. E. V. (1831), Zoologia Specialis Quam Expositis Animalibus. Pars Posterior, Josephi Zawadzki, Vilnae.

Ergül T., Özdemir N., Gül Ç., and Tosunoğlu M. (2014), «Variation in body size and age structure of Stellagama stellio (L., 1758) (Reptilia: Agamidae) from Turkey», Acta Zool. Bulg., 66, 65 – 72.

Guarino F. M., Già I. D., and Sindaco R. (2010), «Age and growth of the sand lizards (Lacerta agilis) from a high Alpine population of north-western Italy», Acta Herpetol., 5, 23 – 29.

Hasumi M. (2010), «Age, body size, and sexual dimorphism in size and shape in Salamandrella keyserlingii (Caudata: Hynobiidae)», Evol. Biol., 37, 38 – 48.

Kumaş M. and Ayaz D. (2014), «Age determination and long bone histology in Stellagama stellio (Linnaeus, 1758) (Squamata: Sauria: Agamidae) populations in Turkey», Vertebr. Zool., 64, 113 – 126.

Ledentsov A. V. and Melkumyan L. S. (1987), «On longevity and growth rate in amphibians and reptiles in Armenia», Tr. Zool. Inst. RAN, 158, 105 – 110 [in Russian].

Lovich J. E. and Gibbons J. W. (1992), «A review of techniques for quantifying sexual size dimorphism», Growth Develop. Aging, 56, 269 – 281.

Panov E. N., Zykova L. Y., Gauzer M. E., and Vasil’ev V. I. (1987), «Zone of intergradiation of different forms of Stellio caucasicus complex from Southwest Turkmenia», Zool. Zh., 66, 402 – 411 [in Russian].

Panov E. N. and Zykova L. Y. (1995) «Variability and differentiation of populations in Laudakia caucasia (Reptilia, Agamidae) complex», Usp. Sovr. Biol., 115, 293 – 315 [in Russian].

Rastegar-Pouyani N. and Nilson G. (2002), «Taxonomy and biogeography of the Iranian species of Laudakia (Sauria: Agamidae)», Zool. Middle East, 26, 93 – 122.

Rastegar-Pouyani N., Eftekharzadeh G., Imani A., and Hosseini S. (2013), Sexual dimorphism in Trapelus lessonae (De Filippi, 1865) (Sauria: Agamidae) from western Iranian Plateau», Int. J. Agricult. Biol., 9, 125 – 133.

Roitberg E. S. (2007), «Variation in sexual size dimorphism within a widespread lizard species», in: D. J. Fairbairn, W. U. Blanckenhorn, and T. Székely (eds.), Sex, Size, and Gender Roles: Evolutionary Studies of Sexual Size Dimorphism, Oxford Univ. Press, Oxford, pp. 143 – 217.

Ryser J. (1988), «Determination of growth and maturation in the common frog, Rana temporaria, by skeletochronology», J. Zool., 216, 673 – 685.

Terent’ev P. V. and Chernov S. A. (1965), Key to the Amphibians and Reptiles. 3rd Edition, Israel Programme of Translations, Jerusalem.

Zykova L. Y. and Panov E. N. (1991), «Long-term study of growth of Caucasian Agama, Stellio caucasius», Zool. Zh., 70, 81 – 90 [in Russian].



  • There are currently no refbacks.

You can subscribe to the print or electronic version of the journal on the site of EastView Company. If you have any questions, please write to the email