Taxonomic reevaluation of <i>Eremias strauchi strauchi</i> Kessler, 1878 and <i>Eremias strauchi kopetdaghica</i> Szczerbak, 1972, based on nuclear and mitochondrial DNA sequences (Reptilia: Lacertidae)

<div><p>Strauch's Racerunner, <i>Eremias strauchi</i>, is represented by two subspecies, <i>Eremias strauchi strauchi</i> Kessler, 1878 and <i>Eremias strauchi kopetdaghica</i> Szczerbak, 1972, occurring in opposite margins on the northern Iranian Plateau. We sequenced 3926 base pairs of nuclear and mitochondrial DNA from 16 samples of <i>Eremias strauchi</i>, <i>Eremias lalezharica</i> and <i>Eremias velox</i> collected from northeastern, northwestern and southern Iran. Phylogenetic analyses revealed that <i>Eremias lalezharica</i> is sister to <i>Eremias strauchi kopetdaghica</i> and caused the currently recognised species <i>Eremias strauchi</i> to be paraphyletic. According to the estimated genetic distances in the mitochondrial fragments among the lineages, <i>E. s. strauchi</i> diverged from <i>E. s. kopetdaghica</i> and <i>E. lalezharica</i> with a mean genetic distance of 14.0% and 13.9% respectively. Our data indicate enough molecular divergence between the two currently recognised subspecies of <i>E. strauchi</i> and justify upgrading them to full species level as <i>Eremias strauchi</i> (for the north-western clade) and <i>Eremias kopetdaghica</i> (for the north-eastern clade).</p></div>