04 July 2013

Blandford's Agama – Sabkhat Al Fasl

On my last trip to Sabkhat Al Fasl I found a Blandford's Agama running along the ground by the track. It found a small plant and tried to hide, thinking that by keeping still and having good camouflage it would not be found. I crept right up to the lizard without it moving and took a couple of photographs of it with my macro lens from a few centimeter away. I left it still in the same place, as I did not want to draw attention to it from unfriendly foes. The summer months of June, July & August are the best time to see these lizards in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia and Sabkhat Al Fasl appears to be a very good site for them.

Blandfords Agama Trapelus ruderatus ranges from northeastern Jordan and southern Syria, through northern and eastern Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait and southern and central Iran as far south as Shiraz (Rastegar-Pouyani 2000). The species occurs from close to sea level to around 1,000 metres above sea level. It can be moderately common in suitable habitat. This ground-dwelling species is associated with low shrubs (Nitraria) on the fringe of sandy dunes in arid areas and in sandy desert areas. It can sometimes be found perching on bushes but is not found in modified areas. Initially I identified this as a Yellow-spotted Agama Trapelus flavimaculatus but Mansur Al-Fahad kindly pointed out this was in fact a Blanford's Agama Trapelus ruderatus because of the lines on its back which are missing on Yellow-spotted Agama.