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Taxonomy, distribution and geographic variation of Eirenis punctatolineatus (Boettger, 1892) (Reptilia: Colubridae)

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Distribution and geographic variation in Eirenis punctatolineatus are studied in the whole distribution range of the species. The results show that the species is distributed from eastern central Turkey in the west to east up to northern Khorasan mountains in Iran and from central Armenia in the north to the south up to the adjacency of the seashores of the Persian Gulf. An univariate analysis shows that there is possibly a clinal variation in two morphometric and one meristic characters through the latitudes. Percent ratio of tail length on total length and number of Subcaudal scales increase from north to south and conversely, percent ratio of head length to total length decrease. A subsequent multivariate analysis revealed that populations of Turkey, Transcaucasia and northwestern Iran, referred to as northern populations of Eirenis punctatolineatus, and populations of the southern Zagros Mountains and adjacent areas, referred to as southern populations of Eirenis punctatolineatus are clearly different morphologically, but intermix in an intermediate area. A subspecific subdivision is suggested for the northern and southern populations. As a new combination, Eirenis punctatolineatus condoni (Boulenger, 1920), is proposed for the southern populations.

Affiliations: 1: 1Department of Biodiversity, International Center for Science, High Technology & Environmental Science (ICST), Kerman, Iran; 2: 2Oberföhringer Str. 35, D-81925 München, Germany; 3: 3Department of Biology, College of Sciences, Shiraz University, 71454 Shiraz, Iran; 4: 4Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Razi University, 67149 Kermanshah, Iran

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