Morphological and morphometric variations of the water frogs (genus Pelophylax) in Iran


  • Fariba Mohaymeni Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, Golestan University, Gorgan, Iran
  • Kosar Nikcheh Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, Golestan University, Gorgan, Iran
  • Haji Gholi Kami Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, Golestan University, Gorgan, Iran
  • Zeinolabedin Mohammadi Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, Golestan University, Gorgan, Iran



Pelophylax, Morphological characters, Polymorphism, Iran


Despite the efforts conducted on the identification of species of the genus Pelophylax from Iran, recent studies revealed that the taxonomy and identification of local populations within this genus have been still unresolved. Here, the morphological and morphometric variations of water frog populations (Pelophylax) from different localities of Iran were studied. To assess suitable morphological and morphometric diagnosis for taxonomic identification of the genus, 13 morphological and 23 morphometric characters of 160 specimens were analyzed. Our result indicated P. cf. bedriagae and Pelophylax sp. show cryptic variation in morphology and melanistic diversity. In water frogs, this character is much more influenced by compatibility to special habitat, so its value is less to be considered as a taxonomic trait or key character for identification. However, the morphometric variables of Pelophylax sp. are larger than P. cf. bedriagae from the west of Iran. Following generalized Gloger's rule, a comparison of character states of 12 biological variables revealed that dorsal coloration of water frog populations become paler from north to south in eastern Iran, while the ventral part shows low variation in color. This pattern indicates the low selective value of ventral coloration in the viability of water frogs in eastern Iran. Moreover, natural selection stabilized olive coloration on the populations of water frogs living in the green habitats of north Iran while compromising light grey and dark brown in contrasting ecosystems through the semi-desert and humid oases of south Iran via a disruptive selection mechanism


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How to Cite

Mohaymeni, F. ., Nikcheh, K. ., Kami, H. G. ., & Mohammadi, Z. . (2022). Morphological and morphometric variations of the water frogs (genus Pelophylax) in Iran. Journal of Wildlife and Biodiversity, 6(3), 54–71.