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Higher TaxaLacertidae, Eremiadinae, Sauria, Lacertoidea, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Zagrosian Fringe-fingered lizard 
SynonymAcanthodactylus zagrosicus MOZAFFARI, MOHAMMADI, SABERI-PIROOZ & AHMADZADEH 2021
Acanthodactylus boskianus — RASTEGAR-POUYANI 1999
Acanthodactylus boskianus — HEIDARI et al. 2014
Acanthodactylus boskianus — ŠMID et al. 2014
Acanthodactylus boskianus — MOZAFFARI et al. 2014 
DistributionIran (Khuzestan)

Type locality: roadside from Gotvand to Saland (around 60 km east of Dezful city, Khuzestan Province, Iran), 32° 26 ́ 51.54 ̋ N, 48° 52 ́ 26.64 ̋ E at an elevation of 460 m a.s.l.  
TypesHolotype. ZFMK103173. Adult male. Collected on April 2005 by Omid Mozaffari. Paratype. ZFMK103174. Adult female. Collection details as the holotype. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: A medium to large size Acanthodactylus species with: 1) three rows of scales around 4th toe; 2) ventral plates in 10 longitudinal rows across belly; 3) four supraoculars, the last one is sometimes divided; 4) smooth temporal and supratemporal scales; 5) strong keel on dorsal and upper caudal scales; 6) a single large and sharply keeled subocular scale; 7) subocular scale in contact with mouth or supralabials; 8) large ear opening with anterior denticulation; 9) 43–50 mid-dorsum scales; 10) 25–30 transverse scales in ventral.
Comparisons. Acanthodactylus zagrosicus sp. nov. can be differentiated from most species of the Western and scutellatus clades of Acanthodactylus due to their North African distribution. It can be distinguished from species of the Eastern clade and from those geographically close to or from Iran, as follows: from species of blanfordii group (A. blanfordii and A. schmidti), cantoris group (A. arabicus Boulenger, 1918, A. cantoris, A. gongrorhynchatus Leviton & Anderson, 1967, A. haasi Leviton & Anderson, 1967 and A. tilburyi Arnold, 1986) and A. hardyi by having three rows of scales on fingers (vs. four), smooth temporal scales (instead of keeled temporal scales) and 10 straight longitudinal rows of ventral scales (vs. 12 or more). It is further distinguished from A. gongrorhynchatus by having large ear opening (instead of almost closed off by two or three scales on the anterior portion). It can be differentiated from A. grandis by having strongly keeled dorsal scales (instead of smooth or weakly keeled), 10 straight longitudinal rows of ventral scales (vs. 14–16) and three rows of scales on fingers (instead of four). Acanthodactylus zagrosicus sp. nov. can be excluded from species of the tristrami group (A. tristrami (Günther, 1864) and A. robustus Werner, 1929) by having strongly keeled upper caudal and dorsal scales (instead of smooth scales on upper caudal and dorsal), having four supraocular scales (vs. two or three) and anterior denticulation in ear opening that is not present in the tristrami group’s species. This new species can be excluded from members of micropholis group (A. micropholis and A. khamirensis) by having less mid-dorsum scales (43–50 vs. 50–63 in A. micropholis and 56–64 in A. khamirensis) and having four supraocular scales (vs. two or three). In addition, it also can be distinguished from A. micropholis by having strongly keeled dorsal scales (instead of smooth or feebly keeled), and from A. khamirensis by having less rows or transverse scales in ventral (25–30 vs. 32–39). Among the members of the opheodurus group, it can be differentiated from A. felicis Arnold, 1980 by having less transverse ventral scales (25–30 vs. 36–42), more straight longitudinal rows of ventral scales (10 vs. 8), smooth supratemporal scales (instead of keeled supratemporals), and it can be distinguished from A. opheodurus Arnold, 1980 by having smooth temporal scales (instead of sharply keeled temporal scales), smooth supratemporal scales (instead of very conspicuous longitudinal central keel on supratemporal), and by having less transverse ventral scales (25–30 vs. 29–36).
Regarding to its morphological characters, Acanthodactylus zagrosicus sp. nov. is similar to members of the boskianus group along with A. boskianus, A. nilsoni, and A. schreiberi. This species can be distinguished from other species of this group by smooth temporal scales and lacking longitudinal central keel on supratemporals (instead of sharply keeled temporal scales). Moreover, Acanthodactylus zagrosicus sp. nov. can be differentiated from A. nilsoni by having strongly keeled dorsal scales (instead of weakly keeled dorsal scales), less collar scales (8–9 vs. 10–12), and more longitudinal rows of ventral scales (10 vs. 8). It can be distinguished from A. schreiberi by having strongly keeled dorsal scales (instead of smooth dorsal scales) and less gular scales (25–30 vs. 31–36).

Coloration. In life, dorsal side of head and body is sandy light brown to light orange with a series of darker brown spots. Four longitudinal medial light cream or milky white stripes extend from back of the head; the two external stripes starting from the upper margin of ear opening, and contact in the pelvic region, extending to dorsal tail; the two medial stripes merge into one medial stripe after the fore limbs. Along the longitudinal medial stripes are numerous irregular dark brown to black spots, mainly on the dorsal body, and slightly extending to the tail. These spots fade with age. The tail is sandy light brown with light creamy dorsal medial stripe. Venter is milky white. We did not collect juvenile forms, but our on-site observation detect that their ventral side of the tail is light pinkish-red, while it is milky white in adults. In preserved specimens the coloration become pale and the light longitudinal stripes turn light gray. 
EtymologyAcanthodactylus is a combination of two Greek word; “akanthodis” meaning thorny and “dachtylo” meaning finger. The words together refer to lateral fringes on hindlimb fingers. The epithet zagrosicus refers to the Zagros Mountains in western Iran, the known habitat of this species. 
  • HEIDARI, NASTARAN; ESKANDAR RASTEGAR-POUYANI, NASRULLAH RASTEGAR-POUYANI & HIVA FAIZI 2014. Molecular phylogeny and biogeography of the genus Acanthodactylus Fitzinger, 1834 (Reptilia: Lacertidae) in Iran, inferred from mtDNA Sequences. Zootaxa 3860 (4): 379–395 - get paper here
  • MOZAFFARI, O. ., MOHAMMADI, S. ., SABERI-PIROOZ, R. ., & AHMADZADEH, F. . 2021. A new species of Acanthodactylus Fitzinger, 1834 (Sauria: Lacertidae) from the Zagros Mountains, Iran. Zootaxa 5047 (1): 17–32 - get paper here
  • Mozaffari, Omid; Kamran Kamali and Hadi Fahimi 2014. The Atlas of Reptiles of Iran. Iran Department of the Environment, 362 pp.
  • Rastegar-Pouyani, N. 1999. First record of the Lacertid Acanthodactylus boskianus (Sauria: Lacertidae) for Iran. Asiatic Herpetological Research, 8: 85–89 - get paper here
  • ŠMÍD, JIŘÍ; JIŘÍ MORAVEC, PETR KODYM, LUKÁŠ KRATOCHVÍL, SEYYED SAEED HOSSEINIAN YOUSEFKHANI, ESKANDAR RASTEGAR-POUYANI & DANIEL FRYNTA 2014. Annotated checklist and distribution of the lizards of Iran. Zootaxa 3855 (1): 001–097 - get paper here
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