Comprehensive Description

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Description

Lyciasalamandra irfani is generally similar in form to other members of the Lyciasalamandra genus. Snout-vent length is approximately 70 mm, and the length of the tail is around 51 mm. The head is flattened, and is longer than it is wide. Snout shape is rounded. The parotids are long and narrow, and a distinct gular fold is present. In adult males, there is a forward curving protuberance of approximately 2 mm located above the base of the tail, and the cloacal region is swollen (Göçmen et al. 2011).

Lyciasalamandra irfani can be distinguished from other Lyciasalamandra species mainly by its coloration and patterning. The ground color of the dorsum (in both sexes, adult and juvenile) is an aubergine reddish brown. Females are generally darker in coloration than males, with juveniles being darker than either adult. White flecks of varying sizes are scattered across the dorsum, with tiny brownish-black dots within the flecks. Juveniles have the largest flecks, followed by females, with males having the smallest flecks. The ground color of the upper eyelids is black, and the snout typically has a darkish tinge compared to the rest of the dorsum. The rear portion of the parotids has a yellowish tinge, which is especially prominent in juveniles. Reddish coloration is seen along the sides of the head, tail, and legs (as well as the upper parts of the posterior body flanks in females). There is a continuous white band present along the flanks. The venter is translucent with reddish coloration (Göçmen et al. 2011).

Coloration: The ground color of the dorsum (including the head, torso, tail, and limbs) in life is aubergine reddish brown. The dorsum is spotted with white flecks of varying sizes, which contain within them many blackish-brown dots. The eyelids are black with very small white dots. The regions in front of the eyes and towards the tip of the snout are darker than the rest of the dorsum, with a blackish tinge. The posterior regions of the parotids are lighter, and slightly yellowed. The lower portions are lighter, with lateral regions having a reddish tinge. The throat and ventral region are translucent, becoming an opaque white towards the sides, with white flecks similar to those found dorsally. This results in a continuous white lateral stripe separating dorsum and venter (Göçmen et al. 2011).

Variation:Some individuals may have a red vertebral stripe (along the center of the dorsum) of lighter coloration than the rest of the dorsum. Females and juveniles are typically bulkier, darker, and have larger flecks. Juveniles and females also lack the protuberance at the tail base, and have a smoother cloacal region. Patterns change slightly with sex and age (Göçmen et al. 2011).

Bayram Göçmen, Hüseyin Arikan, and Deniz Yalçinkaya are the species authorities.

Phylogenetic relationships:Blood serum protein analyses indicate that within Lyciasalamandra, L. irfaniis most closely related to L. antalya. Other closely related species include L. luschani finikensis (which is similar in body plan to L. irfani), L. atifi (which has similar patterning to L. irfani), and L. billae (which has similar patterning and is the closest geographically to L. irfani) (Göçmen et al. 2011).

Etymology: The species is named for the senior author's late father, Irfan Göçmen (Göçmen et al. 2011).

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