17 July 2011

Schmidt's Fringed-toed Lizard

Whilst out at the Dammam Airport Pools we saw some unusual markings in the sand which we thought may be a small snake or lizard. Whilst looking around I saw a Schmidt's Fringed-toed Lizard (Acanthodactylus schmidti) running between the sparse vegetation and took a couple of photogrpahs of it. This 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 can be distinguished by the exceptionally long fourth toe found on each of its rear feet which as its name suggests it has 'fringes' of elongated scales along the sides of each toe. It is a diurnal species which 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. More information can be found under the Wildlife tab at the top of the page.