The Quaternary Range Dynamics of the Dwarf Lizard, Parvilacerta parva (Boulenger, 1887) (Squamata, Lacertidae) in the Anatolian Peninsula
Keywords:last glacial maximum, last interglacial, ecological niche modelling, species distribution, Turkey
The dwarf lizard, Parvilacerta parva, is a characteristic member of the steppe biome in Irano - Anatolian biological hotspot. While this lizard has been included in local faunistic surveys and its morphological variation was addressed, no targeted study has been performed on the ecology and distribution of the species. Here we investigate the range dynamics of dwarf lizard during recent glacial and interglacial periods. We looked at the effects of climatic oscillations on species distribution at Present, Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), and Last Interglacial (LIG) periods using ecological niche modelling (ENM), based on our own fieldwork and literature data. The model results suggest that the range of dwarf lizards contracted during the LIG and expanded during the LGM, opposite to the pattern observed in many other temperate reptiles. During the LIG, distribution of the dwarf lizards had been restricted to the mountainous steppe habitats in Northeastern Anatolia, but during the LGM it expanded to the west by including the new steppe habitats in Sultan, Emir and Murat mountains and adjacent areas. Climatic factors had a strong influence on shaping the spatiotemporal habitat. The Anatolian Biogeographic Region overlaps with Irano - Anatolian biodiversity hotspot, reflecting remarkable species richness in this area. However, faunal elements of the hotspots are under threat due to not only global climate change, but also anthropogenic pressures, such as habitat loss and overgrazing. Our results suggest that the dwarf lizards have a potential as indicators for tracking the local effects of global climate change as well as human induced degradation of the steppe habitat.
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