Iran, land of mystery

iran204Iran is a small paradise for Reptiles lovers. Of course our main targeted species was the famous horned spider-tailed Pseudocerastes urarachnoides. This incredible snake uses the modified scales of its tail to imitate a spider (more or less) and it attracts birds and other insectivores. Described for the first time in 2006, this endemic species of Iran is distributed only in a small area on the Iraqi border.
First our trip took us through the northern part of the country, along the Caspian Sea, rich in marshes, rice paddies, rainforests, very different from what we might expect when we think of Iran. The area is home to one of the rarest urodela, Paradactylodon persicus. This large endemic salamander from Iran lives in some mountain caves and is very hard to find.

Further east, the first deserts have allowed us to observe many species adapted to this environment, and especially Echis carinatus and Phrynocephalus mystaceus. The surveys then proceedrd to the mountains of Zagros where Reptiles and Amphibians seem numerous, with notably the rare Neurergus kaiseri. Then we went south to reach the desert of Dezful which allowed us the observation of the recently described Varanus nesterovi.

Then it was time to head for the Iraqi border, in search of the famous Pseudocerastes urarachnoides. What a fantastic animal! Before leaving Iran, a visit to the Damavand massif where the high altitude allowed us to quickly observe the Asian viper Gloydius halys.

Amazing trip! Iran is an absolutely beautiful country, inhabited by cheerful people, rich in incredible landscapes and unsuspected wildlife.

Here is the list of observed species:


Neurergus derjugini
Neurergus kaiseri
Paradactylodon persicus
Salamandra infraimmaculata
Triturus karelinii
Bufo eichwaldi
Bufotes luristanicus
Bufotes turanensis
Bufotes variabilis
Pelophylax bedriagae
Rana pseudodalmatina
Hyla orientalis
Hyla savignyi



Emys orbicularis
Mauremys caspica
Testudo graeca
Anguis colchica
Pseudopus apodus
Laudakia nupta
Paralaudakia caucasia
Phrynocephalus mystaceus
Phrynocephalus scutellatus
Saara loricata
Trapelus agilis
Asaccus griseonotus
Bunopus tuberculatus
Crossobamon eversmanni
Tenuidactylus caspius
Microgecko helenae
Stenodactylus doriae
Tenuidactylus caspium
Teratoscincus keyserlingii
Darevskia chlorogaster
Darevskia defilippii
Darevskia steineri
Eremias lineolata
Eremias persicus
Lacerta media
Lacerta strigata
Mesalina watsonana
Ophisops elegans
Timon kurdistanicus
Ablepharis pannonicus
Trachylepis septemtaeniata
Varanus nesterovi
Varanus griseus
Dolichophis jugularis
Eryx miliaris
Eryx jayakari
Eirenis persicus
Eirenis punctatolineatus
Hemorrhois ravergieri
Lytorhynchus ridgewayi
Natrix natrix
Natrix tessellata
Platyceps najadum
Platyceps ventromaculatus
Psammophis lineolatum
Spalerosophis diadema
Telescopus fallax
Zamenis persicus
Cerastes gasperettii
Echis carinatus
Gloydius halys
Pseudocerastes persicus
Pseudocerastes urarachnoides
Myriopholis macrorhyncha
Xerotyphlops vermicularis

About the author: ATHERIS