Systematics and Distribution of the Iranian Species of Trapelus (Sauria: Agamidae): A Review

Nasrullah Rastegar-Pouyani


The agamid genus Trapelus, as one of the least studied genera of the Agamidae, consists of about six species complexes widely distributed throughout the desert and semi-desert regions of north Africa, Middle East, and Central Asia. Of these, three species complexes occur on the Iranian Plateau: T. agilis, T. persicus, and T. ruderatus. The systematic status as well as distribution of this well defined monophyletic genus is anecdotal and there are still many controversies and uncertainties in this relation. In order to explain and clarify various ideas and researches done, so far, and as a starting point for a comprehensive taxonomic, phylogenetic, and biogeographic work on this genus, in this paper systematics and distribution of the Iranian species of Trapelus, mainly by a historical perspective, based on all the available relevant literature (since 1804 when Olivier collected and described Agama agilis and A. ruderata as the first described species of the genus), as well as my own preliminary studies have been reviewed. As well, the type series of these species have been examined, their relevant type localities have been questioned and, partly, restricted and the traditional subspecific (or specific) status of their different populations has been evaluated and criticized. Also, the distribution of the genus Trapelus and a key to the Iranian species are provided.


Trapelus agilis; T. persicus; T. ruderatus; Agamidae; systematics; distribution; Iranian Plateau; Central Asia; Middle East; North Africa; type locality

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