11 August 2023

Golden Grass Mabuya - Jubail

I saw a Golden Grass Mabuya Heremites septemtaeniatus in Jubail recently that ran across a track but stopped under the nearby vegetation allowing me to take a few photographs. I have seen this lizard a few times here over the years but only running fast across tracks and never allowing identification until this sighting. The lizards were formally known as Mabuya aurata and were generally regarded as three subspecies that were recognized on the basis of colour pattern and number of gular and ventral scales. Mausfeld et al. (2002) partitioned the genus Mabuya into four genera and restricted the application of the name Mabuya to the South American clade of these skinks. Therefore the skinks known formerly as M. aurata are assigned with the generic name Heremites. Heremites septemtaeniatus (Reuss, 1834) is the valid name for the populations, which are characterised by third supraocular shield being in contact with the frontal shield and by pattern of four longitudinal rows of small dark spots on the dorsum (the spots can fuse anteriorly and disappear posteriorly). This species is known from Eritrea, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran and Turkmenistan. I have also seen this species in Dhahran where I live but although common they are rarely seen.