In common with other lacertids, Bosk’s fringe-toed lizard (Acanthodactylus boskianus) has a long, cylindrical body and well developed legs (3). It is one of the largest Acanthodactylus species (2), a genus commonly referred to as the fringe-toed lacertids, owing to the presence of a series of scales on the fingers that provide traction for running over loose sand (3)(4). 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 (2).
Bosk’s fringe-toed lizard excavates burrows in hard sand, some of which are equipped with multiple entrances to allow quick retreats. These burrows not only provide protection from predators, but also act as a nightly resting place and as a refuge from periods of intense heat. A relatively late riser, this diurnal lizard generally emerges from its burrow around mid-morning. It is a voracious predator, with a diet that comprises a wide variety of insects and other invertebrates, from flies and beetles to grasshoppers and spiders. Generally, it will eat anything it can overwhelm and has even been observed taking a young gecko (2).
During courtship the male approaches the female with a bent neck, and then runs in semi-circles, whilst probing the female’s body with its tongue. If receptive, the female lies flat and lifts the base of the tail, allowing the male to make cloacal contact. The eggs are laid about two weeks after mating in a deep hole in moist ground, which is subsequently covered up. The eggs, which normally number from around two to seven in a clutch, remain buried for 89 to 100 days before hatching (2).
Bosk’s fringe-toed lizard is the most widespread of all species in the genus, with a distribution that encompasses a large portion of Northern Africa and extends into the Arabian Peninsula, Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey (2)(5).
Relating to the cloaca,a common cavity into which the reproductive, alimentary and urinary systems open.
Active during the day.
A category used in taxonomy, which is below ‘family’ and above ‘species’. A genus tends to contain species that have characteristics in common. The genus forms the first part of a ‘binomial’ Latin species name; the second part is the specific name.
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