16 May 2014

Arabian Spiny-tailed Lizard sunning itself – Dhahran Hills

A few days ago I was walking around the jebals when I cam across an Arabian Spiny-tailed Lizard sunning itself on a rock. As I can from behind it I managed to get reasonably close before it noticed me and bolted down its hole. These lizards are relatively common in the camp and are widespread across Saudi Arabia preferring hard stony ground to excavate their holes. Spiny-tailed Lizard (Uromastyx spp.) is a medium to large sized, heavily built lizard with a spiny club like tail, which has been likened to a small living dinosaur. They are ground dwelling and live in some of the most arid regions of the planet including northern Africa, the Middle East, Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and northwestern India. The generic name (Uromastyx) is derived from the Ancient Greek words ourá (οὐρά) meaning "tail" and mastigo (Μαστίχα) meaning "whip" or "scourge", after the thick-spiked tail characteristic of the species. The Arabian Spiny-tailed Lizard Uromastyx aegyptia microlepis is most common in Saudi Arabia and is the one that occurs in the Eastern Province and is generally regarded as a subspecies of the Egyptian Spiny-tailed Lizard (Uromastyx aegyptia). It is locally known to the Arabs as 'Dhub' (Arabic:'‫ضب‬').