Mating behavior in Darevskia chlorogaster (BOULENGER, 1908) in the north of Iran (Golestan province)

Mating behavior in Darevskia chlorogaster (BOULENGER, 1908) in the north of Iran (Golestan province)



During a field trip on 13th June at 14.00 h in the Hyrcanian forests in Golestan province (N-Iran) we witnessed the courtship behavior as well as a copulation of a pair of Darevskia chlorogaster. The whole sexual activity lasted about 45 minutes whereas the copulation lasted about 15 minutes.

Keywords: Darevskia chlorogaster, mating behavior, Shir Abad region.

On the 13th July 2011 at 14.00 h, while we surveyed the Shirabad forest near Ali Abad-e Katool in Golestan province (Fig. 1) for some lacertid species, we witnessed the mating behavior of two Darevskia chlorogaster. From our observations we can tell that adult males of this species display a beautiful green color on their dorsal side from April until the end of September with greatest intensity in June and July which is also the period in which we noticed sexual behavior in this species.

The male approached the female and both lizards circled around each other before the male headed for the female gradually and bit into the lateral region of the female lizard. Then the male spin his body to get his cloaca right to the female's one. Suddenly the male went to the other side of the female and grasped her left leg with his jaw. By grasping the female's body with his right leg the male pulled the female to his direction and pushed his cloacal region to the female's cloaca and inserted one hemipenis (Fig. 2). The copulation lasted about 15 minutes and after copulation the pair seperated.

The air temperature in the studied area was about 20‒25 °C and relative humidity was about 69 %. There is a great biodiversity of plants in this area: kinds of hyrcanian trees and shrubs (Acer, Quercus, Carpinus, Ilex, Tendril, etc.) and kinds of pteridophyte (Peteridium, Adiantum, etc.). The altitude of this locality is about 400 m. Other localities where we observed matings of Darevskia chlorogaster during June and July are Gorgan, Minoudasht, Azadshar and Kordkouy which are at the same altitude level of 400 m.

Figure 1. Habitat of Darevskia chlorogaster in Shir Abad region, near Ali Abad-e Katool, Golestan province (Photo by Mohammad Arab).

Figure 2. Two specimens of Darevskia chlorogaster in copulation (Photo by Mohammad Arab).

Figure 3. Four climatic graphs that show rain, relative humidity, temperature and sunny hours during the course of the year in Ali Abad region. - Original article - published online: 2012-12-07

Authors: SEYYED SAEED HOSSEINIAN YOUSEFKHANI, Iranian Plateau Herpetology Research Group (IPHRG), Faculty of Science, Razi University, 6714967346 Kermanshah, Iran. Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Razi University, 6714967346 Kermanshah, Iran. E-Mail: & MOHAMMAD ARAB.