21 September 2020

Bosk's Fringe-toed Lizard - Tanoumah

Whilst birding the mountains of Tanoumah we came across an area of permanent water with good bird and insect life. Here I sawa number of Bosk's fringe-toed lizard Acanthodactylus boskianus always near to vegetation of low-lying shrubs. This is the most widespread species of its genus as well as the largest Acanthodactylus species measuring 16-23 centimetres in total length. Its range includes all of Saharan North Africa and the Middle East including Arabia (widespread in Saudi Arabia), the Levant and Mesopotamia (including the Turkish border), as well as north- western Iran. It has a long, cylindrical body and well developed legs and is known as a fringe-toed lizard due to the presence of a series of scales on the fingers that provide traction for running over loose sand. The general body colour of this species ranges from darkish or silvery grey, to yellow or reddish brown, with seven contrasting dark, brown longitudinal stripes that run the length of the back. With age, these stripes generally fade away or become grey in colour. It frequents a range of stony and sandy environments and is sometimes common in rocky areas with some shrubs. They excavate burrows in hard sand, some of which are equipped with multiple entrances to allow quick retreats and act as a nightly resting place and as a refuge from periods of intense heat. They emerge from their burrows around mid-morning. It is a voracious predator and eats a wide variety of small insects and other invertebrates. Some of the lizards we saw retreated down their burrows when we disturbed them.
Bosk's Fringe-toed Lizard