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Ophisops elegans

Ophisops elegans

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Superphylum: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Megaclassis: Osteichthyes
Superclassis: Sarcopterygii
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Cladus: Reptiliomorpha
Cladus: Amniota
Classis: Reptilia
Cladus: Eureptilia
Cladus: Romeriida
Subclassis: Diapsida
Cladus: Sauria
Infraclassis: Lepidosauromorpha
Superordo: Lepidosauria
Ordo: Squamata
Cladus: Unidentata Episquamata

Subordo: Lacertoidea
Infraordo: Lacertibaenia

Familia: Lacertidae
Subfamilia: Lacertinae
Genus: Ophisops
Species: Ophisops elegans

Ophisops elegans, commonly known as the snake-eyed lizard, is a species of lizard in the family Lacertidae. The species is endemic to the Mediterranean region and Central Asia. There are nine recognized subspecies.


O. elegans has the following distinguishing characters: Head moderate, feebly depressed. Upper head-shields smooth or slightly rugose; nostril lateral, pierced between on upper and a lower nasal, and followed by one or two postnasals; frontonasal single; four supra-oculars, first and fourth very small, the two principal separated from the supraciliaries by a series of granules: occipital small, in contact with or separated from the interparietal; subocular bordering the lip, normally between the fourth and fifth upper labials; temporal scales small, smooth; usually two large supratemporal shields bordering the parietal; a large tympanic shield. A. gular fold may be distinguishable; collar absent or feebly marked. Dorsal scales variable in size, as large as or larger than the laterals; 30 to 40 scales round the middle of the body, ventrals included. A more or less enlarged postero-median preanal plate. The hind limb reaches about the ear in the male, the shoulder or a little beyond in the female. 7 to 12 (usually 9 to 11) femoral pores on each side. Tail about twice as long as head and body. Olive or bronzy above, with black spots usually forming longitudinal series, sometimes forming a network; frequently and or two light longitudinal streaks on each side; lower surfaces white.[2]

From snout to vent 2 inches (5 cm); tail 4 inches (10 cm).

The following nine subspecies are recognized as being valid, including the nominotypical subspecies.[3]

Ophisops elegans basoglui Baran & Budak, 1978
Ophisops elegans blanfordi Schmidt, 1939
Ophisops elegans budakibarani Tok, Afsar, Yakin, Ayaz & Çiçek, 2017
Ophisops elegans centralanatoliae Bodenheimer, 1944
Ophisops elegans ehrenbergerii (Wiegmann, 1835)
Ophisops elegans elegans Ménétries, 1832
Ophisops elegans macrodactylus Berthold, 1840
Ophisops elegans persicus Boulenger, 1918
Ophisops elegans schlueteri Boettger, 1880

Nota bene: A trinomial authority in parentheses indicates that the subspecies was originally described in a genus other than Ophisops.

The subspecific name, schlueteri, is in honor of Wilhelm Schlüter, who was a German dealer of natural history specimens.[4]
Geographic range

O. elegans is found in E Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, SE Bulgaria, NE Greece (Lesbos, Limnos, Chios, Samos, Samothraki, Agathonisi, Psara), Cyprus, Turkey, Algeria, Libya, Egypt,[5] W Syria, Lebanon, Israel, W Jordan, Iraq, Iran (Kavir desert), N Pakistan, NW India.


O. e. basoglui – S Anatolia
O. e. blanfordi – Pakistan
O. e. centralanatolia – C Anatolia
O. e. ehrenbergi – Kalymnos, Lesbos etc.
O. e. elegans – Turkey (including Anatolia)
O. e. macrodactylus – W Turkey, Greece (Lesbos etc.)
O. e. schlueteri – Cyprus

Type locality: Baku, Azerbaijan.

The preferred natural habitats of O. elegans are grassland, shrubland and forest, at altitudes of 400–2,000 m (1,300–6,600 ft).[1]

O. elegans is oviparous.[3]

Lymberakis P et al. (2009). "Ophisops elegans ". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2009: e.T157279A5068693. Downloaded on 29 February 2020.
Boulenger GA (1890). The Fauna of British India, Including Ceylon and Burma. Reptilia and Batrachia. London: Secretary of State for India in Council. (Taylor and Francis, printers). xviii + 541 pp. (Ophisops elegans, p. 175).
Species Ophisops elegans at The Reptile Database
Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michael; Grayson, Michael (2011). The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. xiii + 296 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. (Ophisops elegans schlueteri, p. 235).

Baha el Din, Sherif (2006). A Guide to Reptiles & Amphibians of Egypt. Cairo: The American University in Cairo Press. ISBN 978-9774249792.

Further reading

Bischoff W (1974). "Echsen des Kaukasus, Teil 7. Die Europäische Schlangenaugen-Eidechse Ophisops elegans Menetries 1832 ". Aquar. Terr. B21: 340-343. (in German).
Lantz AL (1930). "Note sur la forme typique d' O. elegans Ménétries. Bull. Mus. Géorgie 6: 31-42. (in French).
Ménétries E (1832). Catalogue raisonné des objets de zoologie recueillis dans un voyage au caucase et jusqu'aux frontières actuelles de la Perse. Saint Petersburg, Russia: L'Académie Impériale des Sciences de St.-Pétersbourg. 330 pp. (Ophisops elegans, new species, pp. 63-64). (in French).
Olgun, Kurtuluş; Tok, Cemal Varol (1999). "Ihlara Vadisi (Aksaray)'nden toplanan Ophisops elegans (Sauria: Lacertidae) ornekleri hakkinda ". Turkish Journal of Zoology 23 (Turkish Supplement 3): 807-810. (in Turkish).
Schlüter U (2003). "Zur Kenntnis des Westlichen Schlangenauges, Ophisops occidentalis (Boulenger 1887)". Elaphe 11 (3): 56-63. (in German).
Tok, Cemal Varol; Kumlutas, Yusuf; Türkozan, Oguz (1997). "On Specimens of Ophisops elegans Menetries 1832, (Sauria; Lacertidae) Collected From Hatay, Turkey". Turk. J. Zool. 21: 195-203.

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