12 November 2014

Common Fan-footed Gecko 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 the Common Fan-footed Gecko ptyodactylus hasselquistii reproduced below. The Common Fan-footed Gecko has distinctive long legs that end in widely splayed toes, tipped on either side by a wide, fan-like fringe. The body colouration is pallid, helping camouflage it amongst its rocky habitat. Markings can vary between the sexes and between the subspecies with orange cross bands as well as reddish, black and pale spots all occurring on different individuals. They are exceptional climbers that are able to run across vertical rock faces and even overhangs and cave roofs due to their specialised toe scales, known as scansors, which bear thousands of microscopic, hooked hair-like projections that enable the toes to grip even the most slippery surfaces. They are a nocturnal species, emerging after dusk from daytime refuges such as caves and crevices to feed on insects and arachnids and are often encountered in small groups. They are a widespread species occurring throughout North Africa, the Arabian Peninsula and the Middle East. Populations occur from Morocco east to Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Oman through Saudi Arabia north as far as Iran, and south as far as eastern Ethiopia and northern Somalia. They are common in their range and inhabitant arid, rocky environments including boulders, rock faces and in caves located amongst valleys, hills and mountains up to elevations of 2,000 metres. This species is also sometimes found in buildings.