Bosk’s fringe-toed lizard (Acanthodactylus boskianus)

Also known as: Bosc’s fringe-toed lizard
Synonyms: Lacerta aspera, Lacerta boskiana, Lacerta longicauda, Scapteira inaequalis
GenusAcanthodactylus (1)
SizeMale length: 24.5 cm (2)
Female length: 20.5 cm (2)

Bosk's fringe-toed lizard has not yet been classified on the IUCN Red List.

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 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).

Occurs in arid regions, on open sand or clay ground, with vegetation or rocks for cover (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).

While the conservation status of Bosk’s fringe-toed lizard is yet to be assessed on the IUCN Red List, there are no known major threats to this species.

There are no known conservation measures in place for Bosk’s fringe-toed lizard.

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  1. Catalogue of Life: Annual Checklist (April, 2009)
  2. Schleich, H.H., Kästle, W. and Kabisch, K. (1996) Amphibians and Reptiles of North Africa: Biology, Systematics, Field Guide. Koeltz Scientific Books, Koenigstein.
  3. Pianka, E.R. and Vitt, L.J. (2003) Lizards: Windows to the Evolution of Diversity. University of California Press, Berkeley.
  4. Halliday, T. and Adler, K. (2002) The New Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  5. Rastegar-Pouyani, N. (1999) First Record of the Lacertid Acanthodactylus boskianus (Sauria: Lacertidae) for Iran. Asiatic Herpetological Research, 8: 85-89.