7 Dec 2014

Three common Lizards near Al Thweer – Records by Mansur Al Fahad

Mansur Al Fahad sent me a number of photos of different lizards he took near his Village of Al Thweer which is located about 40 kilometres northwest of zulfi town in the deep of sands called Nafud Al Thwart. Mansur has kindly allowed me to use his photographs on my website with Rough-tailed Bowfoot Gecko Cyrtopodion scaber, Middle Eastern Short-fingered Gecko stenodactylus doriae & Schmidt’s Fringe-toed Lizard Acanthodactylus schmidti reproduced below. The Rough-tailed Bowfoot Gecko Cyrtopodion scabrum is a small, nocturnal ground gecko, with exceptionally long, angular toes. The head is flattened downwards, and the eyes are large, lacking eyelids, with vertical pupils that can be contracted during the day to prevent light from damaging the retina. The tail is longer than the head and body and is relatively flat and tapered, with rows of prominent keeled scales and a series of ridged, wart-like bumps, called tubercles, which are arranged regularly along the length of the back. It is sandy in colour and whiter underneath, marked with regular brown spots on the body, and brown bands on the tail. They are active during the night, hunting for small insects such as ants, termites, beetles, moths, and grasshoppers, often foraging in artificially lit areas, often associated with human habitation, where it picks off insects that are attracted to the light. They are distributed throughout southwest Asia, including south east Turkey, Iraq, the Arabian Peninsula, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. It is primarily found in disturbed habitats such as towns, oil camps and desert farms and also lives in homes in villages, but is very rare in cities
Rough-tailed Bowfoot Gecko

Rough-tailed Bowfoot Gecko

The Middle Eastern Short-fingered Gecko Stenodactylus doriae is a common Gecko in the sands of Zulfi and has the local name Abras Bar, meaning desert gecko. This photo was taken by Mansur in Zulfi and he has kindly allowed me permission to use it on my website as well as provided details on the Gecko. It is a large desert-dwelling sand gecko, growing up to 8 centimetres in length, well-adapted to its desert habitat, with eyes bordered by large scales to protect from sand while burrowing, and flattened toes, with a projecting fringe of long scales, to increase surface area contact with the loose substrate. They are pale sandy above, marked with indistinct dark transverse bands and a darker line running from the eyes down each side, and are whitish below. The eyes are large, and the tail is long and cylindrical, tapering to a fine point. They are active at night when they are often encountered walking slowly across the desert with thier body raised high off the ground. Prey, located by sight, mainly comprises insects and arachnids, which are caught by active pursuit or by remaining still and using an ambush strategy. The inhabit the Middle East and Arabian Peninsula and can be found in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, The United Arab Emirates, Oman and Jordan and are normally found on the loose, wind-blown sands of dunes and sandy plains
Middle Eastern Short-fingered Gecko

Schmidt's Fringed-toed Lizard Acanthodactylus schmidti is one of the most abundant species in the genus Acanthodactylus found in Saudi Arabia and occupies sandy plains, dunes and sabkhas (salt flats), particularly in areas of scrubby vegetation. It was named after Karl Patterson Schmidt, with a type locality of Dhahran, Saudi Arabia and it can be distinguished by the exceptionally long fourth toe found on each of its rear feet. As its name suggests it has 'fringes' of elongated scales along the sides of each toe, which are thought to provide better traction on loose sand. It has a light brown or coffee coloured back that is richly speckled with oval-shaped, pale or white spots and can grow to 18 centimetres in length. They have a cylindrical body with smooth, rectangular scales on the belly that are arranged in well-defined rows and scales on the head that are larger than those on the rest of the body. Little is known about the biology of the species but it is thought that its main prey is ants and when prey is located they instantly go rigid, suddenly quiver their tail and strike. It is a diurnal species that digs burrows in the sand among the roots of vegetation and is found throughout the Arabian Peninsula including Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, south-east Iraq and south-west Iran.
Schmidt's Fringed-toed Lizard
Schmidt's Fringed-toed Lizard
Schmidt's Fringed-toed Lizard tracks


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