Differentiation and Interrelations of Two Representatives of Laudakia stellio Complex (Reptilia: Agamidae) in Israel
Field studies were conducted in Central Negev within the breeding range of Laudakia stellio brachydactyla and in NE Israel (Qyriat Shemona) in the range of an unnamed form (tentatively “Near-East Rock Agama”), during March – May 1996. Additional data have been collected in Jerusalem at a distance of ca. 110 km from the first and about 170 km from the second study sites. A total of 63 individuals were caught and examined. The animals were marked and their subsequent movements were followed. Social and signal behavior of both forms were described and compared. Lizards from Negev and Qyriat Shemona differ from each other sharply in external morphology, habitat preference, population structure, and behavior. The differences obviously exceed the subspecies level. At the same time, the lizards from Jerusalem tend to be intermediate morphologically between those from both above-named localities, which permits admitting the existence of a limited gene flow between lizard populations of Negev and northern Israel. The lizards from NE Israel apparently do not belong to the nominate subspecies of L. stellio and should be regarded as one more subspecies within the species.
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