Seyyed Saeed HOSSEINIAN YOUSEFKHANI,Gentile Francesco FICETOLA,Nasrullah RASTEGAR-POUYANI,et al.Environmental Suitability and Distribution of the Caucasian Rock Agama, Paralaudakia caucasia (Sauria: Agamidae) in Western and Central Asia[J].Asian Herpetological Research(AHR),2013,4(3):207-213.[doi:10.3724/SP.J.1245.2013.000207]
Click Copy

Environmental Suitability and Distribution of the Caucasian Rock Agama, Paralaudakia caucasia (Sauria: Agamidae) in Western and Central Asia
Share To:

Asian Herpetological Research[ISSN:2095-0357/CN:51-1735/Q]

2013 VoI.4 No.3
Research Field:
Original Article
Publishing date:


Environmental Suitability and Distribution of the Caucasian Rock Agama, Paralaudakia caucasia (Sauria: Agamidae) in Western and Central Asia
1 Iranian Plateau Herpetology Research Group (IPHRG), Faculty of Science, Razi University, Kermanshah 6714967346, Iran
2 Dipartimento di Scienze dell’Ambiente e del Territorio e di Scienze della Terra, Università degli Studi di Milano Bicocca. Piazza della Scienza 1, 20126 Milano, Italy
3 Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Razi University, Kermanshah 6714967346, Iran
4 Department of Herpetology, Zoological Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg 199034, Russia
Western Asia Paralaudakia caucasia distribution Maxent modeling Agamidae
Predictive potential distribution modeling is crucial in outlining habitat usage and establishing conservation management priorities. In this paper we provide detailed data on the distribution of the Caucasian rock agama Paralaudakia caucasia, and use species distribution models (MAXENT) to evaluate environmental suitability and potential distribution at a broad spatial scale. Locality data on the distribution of P. caucasia have been gathered over nearly its entire range by various authors from field surveys. The distribution model of P. caucasia showed good performance (AUC = 0.887), and predicted high suitability in regions mainly located in Tajikistan, north Pakistan, Afghanistan, southeast Turkmenistan, northeast Iran along the Elburz mountains, Transcaucasus (Azerbajan, Armenia, Georgia), northeastern Turkey and northward along the Caspian Sea coast in Daghestan, Russia. The identification of suitable areas for this species will help to assess conservation status of the species, and to set up management programs.


Ananjeva N. B., Orlova V. F. 1979. Distribution and geographic variability of Agama caucasia (Eichwald, 1831). Proc Zool Inst Acad Sci, 89: 4–17
Ananjeva N. B., Tuniev B. S. 1994. Some aspects of historical biogeography of Asian rock agamids. Russ J Herpetol, 1: 42–52
Anderson S. C., Leviton A. E. 1969. Amphibians and reptiles collected by the Street Expedition to Afghanistan, 1965. Proc Calif Acad Sci, 37(2): 25–56
Anderson S. C.1999. The lizards of Iran. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, Saint Louis, Missouri: i-vii, 1–442
Anadón J. D., Giménez A., Graciá E., Pérez I., Ferrández M., Fahd S., Mouden H. El., Kalboussi M., Jdeidi T., Larbes S., Rouag R., Slimani T., Znari M., Fritz U. 2012. Distribution of Testudo graeca in the western Mediterranean according to climatic factors. Amphibia-Reptilia, 33: 285–296
Baig K. J., Bohme W., Ananjeva N. B., Wagner P. 2012. A morphology-based taxonomic revision of Laudakia Gray, 1845 (Squamata: Agamidae). Verte Zoo, 62(2): 37–60
Brambilla M., Falco R., Negri I. 2012. A spatially explicit assessment of within-season changes in environmental suitability for farmland birds along an altitudinal gradient. Anim Conserv, 15: 638–647
Buckley L. B., Hurlbert A. H., Jetz W. 2012. Broad-scale ecological implications of ectothermy and endothermy in changing environments. Glob Ecol Biogeogr, 21: 873–885
Corbalan V., Tognelli M. F., Scolaro J. A., Roig-Junent S. A. 2011. Lizards as conservation targets in Argentinean Patagonia. J Nat Conserv, 19: 60–67.
D’Amen M., Zimmermann N. E., Pearman P. B. 2013. Conservation of phylogeographic lineages under climate change. Glob Ecol Biogeogr, 22: 93–104
Dezfoulian R., Mebert K., Karami M., Kaboli M., Ahmadzadeh F. 2012. Habitat factors determining the distribution of the Caucasian Agama, Laudakia caucasia, (Squamata: Agamidae) in the Sorkh-e-Hesar National Park, Tehran province, Iran. J Nat His, 46:2735–2747
Elith J., Graham C. H., Anderson R. P., Dudík M., Ferrier S., Guisan A., Hijmans R. J., Huettmann F., Leathwick J. R., Lehmann A., Li J., Lohmann L. G., Loiselle B. A., Manion G., Moritz C., Nakamura M., Nakazawa Y., Overton J. M., Peterson A. T., Phillips S. J., Richardson K. S., Scachetti-Pereira R., Schapire R. E., Soberon J., Williams S., Wisz M. S., Zimmermann N. E. 2006. Novel methods improve prediction of species’ distributions from occurrence data. Ecography, 29: 129–151
Elith J., Phillips S. J., Hastie T., Dudík M., Chee Y. E., Yates C. J. 2011. A statistical explanation of MaxEnt for ecologists. Divers Distrib, 17: 43–57
Ficetola G. F., Bonardi A., Sindaco R., Padoa-Schioppa E. 2013. Estimating patterns of reptile biodiversity in remote regions. J Biogeogr, 40: 1202–1211
Ficetola G. F., Maiorano L., Falcucci A., Dendoncker N., Boitani L., Padoa-Schioppa E., Miaud C., Thuiller W. 2010. Knowing the past to predict the future: land-use change and the distribution of invasive bullfrogs. Glob Change Biol, 16: 528–537
Fouquet A., Ficetola G. F., Haigh A., Gemmell N. 2010. Using ecological niche modelling to infer past, present and future environmental suitability for Leiopelma hochstetteri, an endangered New Zealand native frog. Biol Conserv, 143: 1375–1384
Gallien L., Douzet R., Pratte S., Zimmermann N. E., Thuiller W. 2012. Invasive species distribution models-how violating the equilibrium assumption can create new insights. Glob Ecol Biogeogr, 21: 1126–1136
Graham C. H., Ferrier S., Huettman F., Moritz C., Peterson T. A. 2004. New developments in museum-based informatics and applications in biodiversity analysis. Trends Ecol Evol, 19(90): 497–503
Gutman G., Tarpley D., Ignatov A., Olson S. 1997. Global monthly AVHRR climatology over land clear-sky top-of-the-atmosphere variables. NOAA/NESDIS National Geophysical Data Center, Boulder, Colorado. Retrieved from
Harris R. M., McQuillan P., Hughes L. 2013. A test of the thermal melanism hypothesis in the wingless grasshopper Phaulacridium vittatum. J Insect Sci, 13(51): 1–18
Hijmans R. J., Cameron S. E., Parra J. L., Jones P. G., Jarvis A. 2005. High resolution interpolated climate surfaces for global land areas. Int J Climat, 25: 1965–1978
Lyet A., Thuiller W., Cheylan M., Besnard A. 2013. Fine-scale regional distribution modelling of rare and threatened species: Bridging GIS Tools and conservation in practice. Diver Distrib, 19: 651–663.
Jose D. A., Gimenez A., Gracia E. 2012. Distribution of Testudo graeca in the western Mediterranean according to climatic factors. Amphibia-Reptilia, 33: 285–296
Macey J. R., Schulte J. A. Kami H. G., Ananjeva N. B., Larson A., Papenfuss T. J. 2000. Testing hypotheses for vicariant separation in the agamid lizard Laudakia caucasia from mountain ranges of the Northern Iranian plateau. Mol Phylogenet Evol, 14(3): 479–483
Macey J. R., Schulte J. A., Ananjeva N. B., Larson A., Rastegar-Pouyani N., Shammakov S. M. Papenfuss T. J. 1998. Phylogenetic relationships among agamid lizards of the Laudakia caucasia species group: testing hypotheses of biogeographic fragmentation and an area cladogram for the Iranian Plateau. Mol Phylogenet Evol, 10: 118–131
Manel S., Williams H. C., Ormerod S. J. 2001. Evaluating presence–absence models in ecology: the need to account for prevalence. J Appl Ecol, 38: 291–931
Nelson A. 2008. Travel time to major cities: A global map of Accessibility Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, Luxembourg
New M., Lister D., Hulme M., Makin I. 2002. A high-resolution data set of surface climate over global land areas. Clim Res, 21: 1–25
Nogués-Bravo D. 2009. Predicting the past distribution of species climatic niche. Glob Ecol Biogeogr, 18: 521–531
Pearson R. G., Raxworthy C. J., Nakamura M., Peterson A. T. 2007. Predicting species distributions from small numbers of occurrence records: A test case using cryptic geckos in Madagascar. J Biogeogr, 34: 102–117.
Phillips S. J., Anderson R. P., Schapire R. E. 2006. Maximum entropy modeling of species geographic distributions. Ecol Model, 190: 231–259
Phillips S. J., Dudik M., Elith J., Graham C. H., Lehmann A., Leathwick J., Ferrier S. 2009. Sample selection bias and presence-only distribution models: Implications for background and pseudo-absence data. Ecol Appli, 19: 181–197
Rastegar-Pouyani N., Nilson G. 2002. Taxonomy and biogeography of the Iranian species of Laudakia (Sauria: Agamidae). Zool Mid East, 26: 93–122
Reshetnikov A. N., Ficetola G. F. 2011. Potential range of the invasive fish rotan (Perccottus glenii) in the Holarctic. Biol Invas, 13: 2967–2980
Roitberg E. S., Mazanaeva L. F., Ilyina E. V., Orlova V. F. 2000. Die Echse des Dagestans (Nordkaukasus, Russland): Artenliste und aktuelle Verbreitungsdaten (Reptilia: Sauria: Gekkonidae, Agamidae, Anguidae, Scincidae et Lacertidae), Faunist Abh Staatl Mus Tierkunde, 22: 97–118
Schammakov S., Ataev C., Rustamov E. A. 1993. Herpetological map of Turkmenistan. Asiatic Herpetol Res, 5: 127–136
Sindaco R., Jerem?enko V. K. 2008. The Reptiles of the Western Palearctic 1. Annotated checklist and distributional atlas of the turtles, crocodiles, amphisbaenians and lizards of Europe, North Africa, Middle East and Central Asia. Belvedere, Latina, Italy.
Thomas C. D., Cameron A., Green R. E., Bakkenes M., Beaumont L. J., Collingham Y. C., Erasmus B. F. N., de Siqueira M. F., Grainger A., Hannah L., Hughes L., Huntley B., van Jaarsveld A. S., Midgley G. F., Miles L., Ortega-Huerta M. A., Peterson A. T., Phillips O. L., Williams S. E. 2004. Extinction risk from climate change. Nature, 427:145–148
Thuiller W., Lavorel S., Araújo M. B., Sykes M. T., Prentice I. C. 2005. Climate change threats to plant diversity in Europe. PNAS, 102: 8245–8250
Tuniyev B., Atayev C., Shammakov S. 1998. Report on fauna of amphibians and reptiles from Eastern Kopet Dag in Turkmenistan. Russ J Herpetol, 5(1): 74–81
Uchida H., Nelson A. 2010. Agglomeration Index: Towards a new measure of urban concentration. In Beall J., Guha-Khasnobis B., Kanbur R. (Eds.), Urbanization and development. Multidisciplinary perspectives. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 41–60
Vale C. G., Tarroso P., Campos J. C. 2012a. Distribution, suitable areas and conservation status of the Boulenger’s agama (Agama boulengeri, Lataste 1886). Amphibia-Reptilia, 33: 526–532
Vale C. G., ?lvares F., Brito J. C. 2012b. Distribution, suitable areas and conservation status of the Felou gundi (Felovia vae Lataste 1886). Mammalia, 76(2): 201–207


Last Update: 2016-01-25