Working at the Department of Medical Services and Techniques at Gümüşhane University, Dr. Lecturer Muammer Kurnaz contacted him after a photograph of a lizard shared by nature photographer Bülent Karadağ on his social media account caught his attention.
Kurnaz learned from Montenegro that the photo was taken in the Yazihan district of Malatya, and Res. Asst. See. Dr. He went to the region to investigate with Mehmet Kürşat Şahin.
Kurnaz and Şahin, as a result of their morphological and molecular studies, named the lizard “Acanthodactylus iliaz”, which they consider as a new species in the “Acanthodactylus” group known as comb-toed lizards.
“A new breed for the world”
Stating that they had taken the first sample in the field with difficulty, Muammer Kurnaz said, “After we caught the sample, we observed something different when we looked at its first features. We realized that it is a different species from those in Turkey. It turned out to be a new species for the world with later morphological and molecular studies.”
Kurnaz said that the spread and number of comb-toed lizard species in Anatolia is very limited and they are represented by 3 species, and that Acanthodactylus ileikazi is only seen between Koşar and Boztepe villages in the Yazihan district of Malatya.
The article was published in an international journal
Known for his work in the field, Prof. Dr. Kurnaz stated that they named “Acanthodactylus irrelevant” in reference to Çetin Ilgaz.
“Our article on the discovery of a new species, which we call Acanthodactylus iliaz, was accepted and published by the Journal of Wildlife and Biodiversity, an internationally respected journal in the field. From now on, the population of this species should be investigated first in Malatya and then in nearby provinces.”