Phrynocephalus horvathi 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Reptilia Squamata Agamidae

Scientific Name: Phrynocephalus horvathi
Species Authority: von Mehely, 1894
Phrynocephalus helioscopus subspecies horvathi von Mehely, 1894
Phrynocephalus persicus subspecies horvathi von Mehely, 1894
Taxonomic Notes: We provisionally follow Melnikov et al. (2008) in considering Phrynocephalus horvathi to be distinct at the species level pending additional taxonomic studies.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered A2c ver 3.1
Year Published: 2009
Date Assessed: 2008-12-14
Assessor(s): Natalia Ananjeva, Aram Agasyan
Reviewer(s): Neil Cox and Helen Temple
This species is listed as Critically Endangered because it has experienced a loss of over 80 percent of its habitat over the past 3 generations (12 years) due to land conversion for agriculture and urbanization. In addition, its range is highly fragmented and the population is small and declining.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species occurs as several isolated populations within the Araks River valley of Armenia, Nakhichevan (Azerbaijan), and Turkey. It is a lowland species found up to 500 m asl.
Countries occurrence:
Armenia (Armenia); Azerbaijan; Turkey
Upper elevation limit (metres): 500
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The total number of animals in the Araks River is unlikely to exceed 1,500 - 2,000 individuals. Approximately four to six animals are found per hectare.
Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Population of this species are largely limited to a limited patches of saltwort and wormwood semi-desert with sparse xerophytic herbaceous vegetation and takyr-like (clay desert) soils. Animals are particularly numerous on weakly-stabilized sandy soils (such as that found in the Gorovanskie peski protected area, Armenia). Animals can marginally also be found on traditional arable land. The females lay clutches of eggs two or three times in a season. This species is difficult to reproduce in captivity.
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The habitat of this species is being significantly fragmented by conversion to intensive agriculture and urbanization in the Araks River valley. Much of the appropriate habitat has been lost within the past few years.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species has been recorded from the Gorovanskie perski protected area in Armenia; although protection measures for this species within the park need to be improved. There is an urgent need to identify and protect any remaining populations of this declining species. Formerly this species was included into the Red Data Book of the USSR (as P. h. persicus) (1984) - category 1. It is included in the Red Data Book of Armenia (1987).

Classifications [top]

8. Desert -> 8.1. Desert - Hot
suitability: Marginal  
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.1. Artificial/Terrestrial - Arable Land
suitability: Marginal  
1. Land/water protection -> 1.1. Site/area protection
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management
4. Education & awareness -> 4.3. Awareness & communications

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over entire range
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
1. Residential & commercial development -> 1.1. Housing & urban areas
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.3. Agro-industry farming
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

Bibliography [top]

IUCN. 2009. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2009.1). Available at: (Accessed: 22 June 2009).

Melnikov, P., Ananjeva, N., Agasyau, A., and Rajabizadeh, M. 2008. On specific and conservation status of P. h. persicus. Problems of Herpetology: 56-63. St. Petersburg.

Sindaco, R. and Jeremčenko, V.K. 2008. The Reptiles of the Western Palearctic. 1. Annotated Checklist and Distributional atlas of the turtles, crocodiles, amphisbaenians and lizards of Europe, North Africa, Middle East and Central Asia. Edizioni Belvedere, Latina (Italy).

Wermuth, H. 1967. Liste der rezenten Amphibien und Reptilien. Dar Tierreich. Berlin. Lief. 86: 1-105.

Citation: Natalia Ananjeva, Aram Agasyan. 2009. Phrynocephalus horvathi. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2009: e.T164759A5923724. . Downloaded on 27 November 2015.
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