Volume 40 Issue 4
Jul.  2019
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Eduard Galoyan, Alisa Bolshakova, Manush Abrahamyan, Ruzanna Petrosyan, Valeria Komarova, Victor Spangenberg, Marine Arakelyan. Natural history of Valentin’s rock lizard (Darevskia valentini) in Armenia. Zoological Research, 2019, 40(4): 277-292. doi: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2019.036
Citation: Eduard Galoyan, Alisa Bolshakova, Manush Abrahamyan, Ruzanna Petrosyan, Valeria Komarova, Victor Spangenberg, Marine Arakelyan. Natural history of Valentin’s rock lizard (Darevskia valentini) in Armenia. Zoological Research, 2019, 40(4): 277-292. doi: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2019.036

Natural history of Valentin’s rock lizard (Darevskia valentini) in Armenia

doi: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2019.036
Funds:  This work was supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR) KOMFI 17-00-00430 (K) and 17-00-00425 and Arm_a 18-54-05020 and Russian National Foundation N14-50-00029
More Information
  • Corresponding author: Eduard Galoyan
  • Received Date: 2018-08-09
  • Publish Date: 2019-07-18
  • Valentin’s rock lizard (Darevskia valentini) is suggested to be the parent for several parthenogenetic species (e.g., D. armeniaca, D. bendimahiensis, D. sapphirina, and D. unisexualis) that evolved through hybridization. Complex evolutionary processes (including reticulate evolution) are occurring within the areas where Valentin’s rock lizard coexists with these and other rock lizards. Hence, a detailed biological specification of this species is important for understanding how vertebrates evolve. Valentin’s rock lizard is a long-lived (up to 9 years), small diurnal lizard with larger females than males, which is unlike other species of the genus. Their relatively large eggs and early reproduction period, which occurs just after emergence from winter shelters, are adaptations for living in a high elevation climate (higher than 2 000 m a.s.l.). Their body temperatures (31–32 °С) are comparable to body temperatures of rock lizards living in milder climates, though female body temperature is more dependent on substrate temperature and basking due to their lower activity than that found in males. Population density fluctuates from several individuals to several hundred per hectare and is not affected by parthenogen coexistence, although hybrids do occur in sexually biased populations where males are more common than females. The male home range is larger than that of females, though these home ranges broadly overlap. Prey is not limited in the mountain meadows and Valentin’s rock lizards feed on a great variety of arthropods. Infanticide occurs in high-density populations.
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