26 January 2015

Schmidt’s Fringe-toed Lizard near Tabuk – Record by Viv Wilson

Viv Wilson sent me the below photograph of a Schmidt’s Fringe-toed Lizard Acanthodactylus schmidti taken near Tabuk in September. It is one of the more common and abundant species in the genus Acanthodactylus and has ‘fringes’ of elongated scales along the sides of each toe that provide better traction on loose sand, allowing it to move much more efficiently across the desert. The scales on the head are generally larger than on the rest of the long, cylindrical body, and the smooth, rectangular scales on the belly are arranged in well-defined rows. They are typically coffee-coloured, with a pattern of small, oval-shaped, pale or white spots. They rely heavily on ants as prey and are probably diurnal digging burrows among the roots of shrubs in sandy plains, dunes and sabkahs (salt flats). This species ranges from southern and eastern Jordan and southeastern Iraq and southwestern Iran into the Arabian Peninsula where it has been recorded in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Oman. It has been recorded from 200m asl, to 1,000 m asl.