Morphological study and comparison of western and eastern goitered gazelle(Gazella subgutturosa:Gueldenstaedt, 1780) Populations in Iran


1 Faculty of Environment & Energy, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University (IAU), Tehran, Iran

2 College of Natural Resources, University of Tehran, Karaj, Iran

3 College of Agriculture, University of Tehran, Karaj, Iran

4 Conservation of Asiatic Cheetah Project, Department of Environment, Tehran, Iran


Western and eastern populations of goitered gazelles are separated by Zagors Mountains as a barrier. Bordering Iraq, western population has suffered from drastic decline during and after Iran-Iraq war. Presently, there are small numbers of the goitered gazelles left in the region with no clear understanding of their taxonomic status. It has been normally assumed that there should be a difference between these regions which has been the main objective of the present study. Twenty two skull variables of the goitered gazelles were measured and analyzed. Difference between the mean values of the regions (males only) in eastern and western Zagros as well as populations of western Zagros in Iran and Iraq populations show that western Zagros individuals in Iran have differentiated from eastern Zagros in at least 10 variables. Also, comparison of Iranian and Iraqi specimens indicates that no significant difference between these areas can be seen, seemingly an indication of morphological similarities between these two groups. Accordingly, it was concluded that western and eastern Zagros populations exhibit remarkable variation which can be due to their distinct evolution, phylogeny and environmental variations. Uniqueness of Kermanshah population in western Zagros reveals high priority to promote conservation and management of the habitat which enhancing its conservation level to Protected Area is a significant official step forward.