The Baluch ground gecko (Bunopus tuberculatus) is a small, ground-dwelling gecko with rather short, straight toes, a long tail, and conspicuous tubercles on the back and flanks (2)(3). The body is generally tan coloured, giving good camouflage against its sandy habitat, and the tail is barred. Young Baluch ground geckos have a prominent dark stripe through the eye, which may fade with age (3), and the eye itself has a vertical pupil (4). As in other geckos, the eyelids are fused together, forming a transparent covering to the eye (3)(5). However, unlike many other geckos (5), the Baluch ground gecko lacks expanded toe pads, and is therefore unable to climb vertical surfaces (2).
The Baluch ground gecko, as its common name suggests, lives on the ground, digging burrows in the sand and also hiding under surface debris (3). Little is known about the biology and life history of this species, but, like other geckos, it is likely to be active at night, feeding on a variety of insects, spiders and other small invertebrates(3)(5). Most gecko species lay two hard-shelled eggs, although some smaller species produce only one egg per clutch (5). The Baluch ground gecko may be preyed upon by species such as Jayakar’s sand boa (Eryx jayakari), which lies in wait for prey, hidden in the sand (3). Like many lizards (5), this gecko may shed (‘autotomise’) its tail as a defence mechanism to escape predators.
The Baluch ground gecko is found in the Middle East, Arabian Peninsula and southwest Asia, from Israel, Jordan and Syria, south into Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Oman, north to Turkmenistan, and east to Pakistan (1)(4)(6).
Little information is available on the threats faced by the Baluch ground gecko. Habitat loss, due to overgrazing, urbanisation and industrial development, is a problem in many parts of its range (4)(7), but it is not known to what extent these are affecting the Baluch ground gecko.
There are no known conservation measures in place for the Baluch ground gecko, and its conservation status has yet to be assessed by the IUCN (8). Little information is currently available on this species, and so it is likely to benefit from further research into its biology, ecology and populations, and into the threats it faces throughout its range.
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