14 Nov 2015

Schmidt's Fringed-toed Lizard – Sabkhat Al Fasl

Whilst ringing at Sabkhat Al Fasl I found a Schmidt's Fringed-toed Lizard Acanthodactylus schmidti near the car and took a couple of photogrpahs of it. Schmidt's Fringed-toed Lizard 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, southeast Iraq and south-west Iran.
Schmidt's Fringed-toed Lizard

Schmidt's Fringed-toed Lizard

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