Ophisops elegans elegans Ménétries 1832♂
Common names : Snake-eyed lizard, Field Lizard [En], Ophisops élégant [Fr], Tarla Kertenkelesi, Οφίσωψ [Gr], Yılan Gözlü Kertenkele [Tu], Alinzavra, Αλιζαύρα [Tu & Gr Cypriot]
Uzundere, ERZURUM ● Turkey
Description: Ophisops elegans is a small lizard with a total length up to 15-16 cm. Snout-vent length usually 5.5 cm; tail about twice body length. A distinct depression is present at the anterior dorsal side of head.
The two eyelids are fused, forming a transparent capsule over the eye, similar to that of a snake.
Rostral does not contact external nares; 2 postnasals; no collars; 28-43 rows of keeled dorsal scales at mid-trunk; ventrals in 6 longitudinal rows; femoral pores between 8-12.
The dorsum is usually gray or brown with a few or more abundant and variously sized black markings, rarely no markings on dorsum; usually two dorsolateral light lines present.
In Cyprus, this species is represented with an endemic subspecies, O. e. schlueteri which is abundantly encountered everywhere of the island. The chin, throat and the body venter of O. e. schlueteri males become yellowish green, while this colouration is seen only in chin and throat in females during the breeding season.
Subspecies of Ophisops elegans Ménétries 1832:
• O. e. basoglui Baran & Budak 1978: Turkey
• O. e. blanfordi Schmidt 1939: Iraq, Iran, Jordan
• O. e. centralanatoliae Bodenheimer 1944: Turkey (Central, Western and Southern Anatolia)
• O. e. ehrenbergii Wiegmann 1835: South Turkey, West Syria, Lebanon, Israel, West Jordan, Egypt (North-East Sinai).
• O. e. elegans Ménétries 1832: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iraq, Iran, Jordan, Pakistan, Eastern Turkey
• O. e. macrodactylus Berthold 1842: South-West Bulgaria, North-East Greece (including Eastern Greek Islands), European and Western Asia Turkey.
• O. e. persicus Boulenger 1918: Iran
• O. e. schlueteri Boettger 1880: Cyprus
Biology: Diurnally feeds on insects. A female lays 2-6 eggs.
Habitat: A ground-dwelling species usually inhabiting open arid plains with sparse vegetation and rocky, soily substrates; prefers steppes. Vertical distribution to 2000 m.
Distribution: Range of the species extends from southern Balkan countries, Turkey, Aegean and Mediterranean islands, including Cyprus to SW Asia and Punjab in N India.
Atatür, M. K. & Göçmen, B., 2001. Amphibians and Reptiles of Northern Cyprus [Kuzey Kibris'in Kurbaga ve Sürüngenleri], Ege Üniversitesi Fen Fakültesi Kitaplar Serisi, No. 170, Ege Üniversitesi Basimevi, Bornova-Izmir, 63 pp. ISBN 975-483-486-5.