Genus/species: Eublepharis angramainyu
Smaller localities like the Kermanshah Province angramainyu locale reach snout to tail lengths of 8.3 to 10 inches (212 to 254 mm) with the tail making up about 40% of the total length.
The largest locality is the Ilam Province angramainyu locale which reaches snout to tail lengths of up to 12 inches (305 mm). Females weigh 3.5 to 5.3 ounces (100 to 150 g) whereas males are larger and weigh five to 6.5 ounces (140 to 186 g).
Males are distinguished by the presence of 11 to 17 preanal pores arranged in an inverted “V” shape, females also have preanal pores, but they are quite faint.
Coloration and Pattern
Color patterns vary regionally. Generally, body coloration is a blonde or daffodil yellow and the head is pale. The head pattern is reticulated with lateral and radial dark blotchy thick lines. A pale line extends from the below the eyes to the end of the ear. A pale white stripe runs from the neck to tail. On either side of the pale stripe, there are three thick transverse bands located at the shoulder, mid-body, and pelvis. These bands have a bold outline and are filled with a brownish-lavender color. The bands contain longitudinal spots arranged in lateral rows which may fuse together to partially or completely fill the bands. The rest of the body contains interspersed but somewhat symmetrical blotches, spots, or stripes. The body pattern extends into the limbs, but the feet are usually devoid of pattern. The tail pattern consists of aberrant blotches, bands, and stripes. The underside of the head and body is pale or whitish without a pattern. The spots, stripes, bands, and blotches which have been described are usually a brownish-lavender but can range in color from chocolate to lilac, or even a reddish-blush.
The Kermanshah Province locality is one of the most colorful localities of this species. The Kermanshah Province spans a total of 9,652 square miles (24,998 km2 ). The climate here is a temperate moderate one, with the average daytime temperature in the summer months reaching up to 102 degrees Fahrenheit (39 degrees Celcius) and in the winter months with the nighttime temperature falling as low as 28 degrees Fahrenheit (-2 degrees Celcius). This region is very mountainous with fertile valleys and rivers between the mountains.
The Ilam Province locality is unique in that it has very light pigmentation with an almost white base color and a drastic reduction in pigmentation. The Ilam Province in Iran spans a territory of 7,780 square miles (20,150 km2 ) and features three distinct climates. The northern and northwestern section of the province is mostly mountainous with long cold winters. However, a broader part of the province to the west and southwest is semi-desert with plains and foothill grasslands composed of limestone and gypsum sediments. Here, it gets very hot, up to 126 degrees Fahrenheit (56 degrees Celcius). Between these two ecosystems lies an intermediate temperate climate with a wide range of temperatures and short frosty winters.
Masjed Soleyman-Khuzestan Province
The Masjed Soleyman-Khuzestan Province locality is also distinctive for its bold lateral striping on the body and horizontal striping on the tail. The Masjed Soleyman County is located in the Khuzestan Province of Iran. The climate here is semi-arid and very hot, during the hottest summer month the daytime temperatures averages at about 113.2 degrees Fahrenheit (45.1 degrees Celcius) and 61.5 degrees Fahrenheit (16.4 degrees Celcius) during the coldest winter month.
Chogha Zanbil-Khuzestan Province
Finally, there is the Chogha Zanbil-Khuzestan Province locality which has very bond transverse bars and a pinkish or reddish hue throughout the pattern.
When frightened this gecko will detach its tail to distract a predator while it makes an escape. They can regenerate this tail, but it will regrow abnormally. They have been described as having “spider-like” legs which are great for climbing mountainous terrain. The body is covered in small bumps called tubercles, which can secrete a liquid irritant when threatened or killed capable of causing numbness, pain, and swelling on any skin that comes in contact with the liquid.
When frightened this gecko will stand on its digits, curl its tail, and raise its body. This display is accompanied by a loud hissing or squealing noise. They will wrap their tail around a predator and defecate or bite if given the opportunity.
Distribution and Habitat
This is a terrestrial species of gecko occupying semi-desert or semi-arid mountainous regions in northeastern Syria, northern Iraq, west-central Iran, and Turkey. They are found at elevations between 985 and 3,280 feet (300 to 1000 m). These regions are typically devoid of vegetation except for seasonal agriculture. As a nocturnal species, they spend the day in deep crevices or gypsum caverns where water is abundant.
The Iranian gecko is an opportunistic carnivore, feeding on grasshoppers, scorpions, beetles, spiders, and small lizards in the wild.
The Iranian gecko is an egg-laying species that lays clutches of two eggs several times per year, but usually between May and June. Captive breeders report hatchlings to weigh 0.35 to 0.42 ounces (10 to 12 g) and grow rapidly until they reach full size at three to four years of age. Neonate pattern is distinct from adults because the only body pattern is three solid dark transverse lines, these bars fade with maturity and other patterns will develop with time. This species can begin breeding after it is two years old.
The life span of the Iranian gecko is not yet known, however other Eublepharis species commonly live into their 20s in captivity.
Conservation and Threats
Listed as Data Deficient on IUCN Red List as of a 2008 assessment.
The biggest threat to this species is the lack of knowledge surrounding their populations, habitat range, and lifestyle. While this species may be locally abundant in some regions its population has been decreasing. The two Turkish localities, Telctek and Birecik, are extremely rare. This species is collected for the international pet trade but is also bred by a few individuals in captivity.