Biodiversity hotspots for modeled habitat patches and corridors of species richness and threatened species of reptiles in central Iran

  • Kamran AlmasiehEmail author
  • Seyyed Mehdi Mirghazanfari
  • Shirin Mahmoodi
Original Article


In recent years, the distribution range of reptiles has greatly shrunk. Reptiles are sensitive to habitat degradation and fragmentation, and are thus ideal focal species for studies on habitat connectivity modeling. In this study, we conducted habitat and corridor modeling for 11 species out of nine families of reptiles and two vulnerable species in Qom province, central Iran, in order to identify biodiversity hotspots of species richness and threatened species for these reptiles and to compare these hotspots with current protected areas. Habitat modeling was carried out using MaxEnt for each species, and habitat patches were obtained from suitable polygons which included occurrence points. Least-cost corridors among these patches were designed using CorridorDesigner. We identified 40 habitat patches and 32 corridors among these patches for the species. The highest species richness was six species for the overlaid map of identified patches and four for the overlaid map of identified corridors. Biodiversity hotspots of species richness and two threatened species for both habitat patches and corridors covered about 22% and 14% of Qom province, respectively. These two hotspots had large overlapping areas (more than half of their areas) and showed the same general pattern. Comparison between the two types of biodiversity hotspots (i.e., species richness and threatened species) and the available protected areas revealed that the hotspots are mainly located outside of the protected areas. Therefore, these hotspots should be given the highest priority for conservation and be taken into consideration by the Department of Environment of Iran.


Focal species Habitat connectivity Least-cost corridors Protected areas Qom province 



We thank the Iranian Herpetological Studies Institute and the Department of the Environment of Qom province for providing assistance in the field survey. We also would like to express our gratitude to the anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments on the earlier version of the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10344_2019_1335_MOESM1_ESM.docx (2.3 mb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 2365 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kamran Almasieh
    • 1
    Email author
  • Seyyed Mehdi Mirghazanfari
    • 2
  • Shirin Mahmoodi
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Nature EngineeringAgricultural Sciences and Natural Resources University of KhuzestanMollasaniIran
  2. 2.Iranian Herpetological Studies Institute (IHSI)TehranIran
  3. 3.Department of Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Natural ResourcesUniversity of TehranKarajIran

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