Jayakar’s Oman lizard (Omanosaura jayakari)

Also known as: Jayakar lizard, Jayakar’s lacertid, Oman lizard
Synonyms: Lacerta jayakari
KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassReptilia
OrderSquamata
FamilyLacertidae
GenusOmanosaura (1)
SizeTotal length: up to 60 cm (2)

Jayakar’s Oman lizard is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List (1).

One of only two Omanosaura species, Jayakar’s Oman lizard (Omanosaura jayakari) is a large, slender lizard (2) (3) (4) which is endemic to the Hajar Mountains of Oman and the United Arab Emirates (3) (5) (6) (7).

Jayakar’s Oman lizard is variable in colour and patterning, but is usually brownish to greyish-green or bluish-grey above (2) (8), often with pale blue or grey spots (3) (8) and irregular light and dark markings (4) (8). The belly is usually white or creamy-white. In the male Jayakar’s Oman lizard there may be pale grey-blue, criss-cross patterning on the throat, and the male also has a longer and more robust head than the female (8).

Like other lizards in the Lacertidae family, Jayakar’s Oman lizard has a somewhat flattened body with long limbs, long toes and a very long tail (3) (9), which in this species is twice the length of the head and body (2) (8). The body of Lacertidae species is covered in small, granular scales, with larger and more conspicuous scales on the top of the head (2) (8).

Jayakar’s Oman lizard can be distinguished from the closely related blue-tailed Oman lizard (Omanosaura cyanura) by its larger size (3) (7) and by the absence of a bright blue tail (3).

Jayakar’s Oman lizard occurs only in the Hajar Mountains of Oman and the United Arab Emirates (3) (5) (6) (7), where it has been recorded at elevations up to around 1,700 metres (6) (8).

A species of mountainous areas (4) (5) (10), Jayakar’s Oman lizard is typically found on rocky ledges, overhangs and cliffs, often close to small streams and wadis (3) (4) (5) (6) (8). It also occurs on dry stone walls around cultivated areas (4) (8).

Although it may sometimes hunt on the ground, Jayakar’s Oman lizard is a skilled climber and can easily scale sheer rocks and even small trees (4) (8). This species may retreat into rock crevices when disturbed (6) (8).

Jayakar’s Oman lizard is active during the day (2) (6) (8) (9) (10). Somewhat unusually for a lizard in the Lacertidae family, the diet of this species includes a relatively large amount of plant material, such as leaves, fruits and seeds (8), although it also takes insects (8) (11) and perhaps small lizards (4).

Relatively little is known about the breeding behaviour of Jayakar’s Oman lizard. However, as in related species, it is likely that males perform courtship rituals to attract a mate, as well as threat displays to warn away rival males (9). In captivity, a female Jayakar’s Oman lizard has been known to produce five clutches of eggs a year, with seven to nine eggs per clutch. The clutches were laid at intervals of 6 to 21 weeks, and the eggs took about 4 months to hatch, producing relatively large young (11).

As in the blue-tailed Oman lizard (O. cyanura), breeding activity in Jayakar’s Oman lizard is likely to peak in the autumn months (11).

Jayakar’s Oman lizard is not currently known to be facing any major threats. However, rapid development and urbanisation are placing increasing pressure on the natural environment of the United Arab Emirates, while increasing tourism in the Hajar Mountains may potentially threaten the fragile habitat of this species there (12).

There are no specific conservation measures currently known to be in place for Jayakar’s Oman lizard. The Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi is working within the United Arab Emirates to protect and manage biodiversity in the region (13), which may go some way towards preserving the habitat of this endemic reptile.

Find out more about Jayakar’s Oman lizard and other reptile species:

More information on conservation in the United Arab Emirates:

This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:
arkive@wildscreen.org.uk

  1. IUCN Red List (February, 2013)
    http://www.iucnredlist.org
  2. Vine, P. (1996) Natural Emirates: Wildlife and Environment of the United Arab Emirates. Trident Press, London.
  3. Hellyer, P. and Aspinall, S. (2005) The Emirates: A Natural History. Trident Press Limited, London.
  4. Brown, J.N.B. (1985) Two lizards of the UAE. Bulletin of the Abu Dhabi Natural History Group, 26: 15. Available at:
    http://www.enhg.org/bulletin/b26/26_15.htm
  5. Soorae, P.S., Al Quarqaz, M. and Gardner, A.S. (2010) An overview and checklist of the native and alien herpetofauna of the United Arab Emirates. Herpetological Conservation and Biology, 5(3): 529-536.
  6. Sindaco, R., Venchi, A. and Grieco, C. (2011) The southern limit of Omanosaura lizards (Squamata: Lacertidae). Herpetology Notes, 4: 171-172.
  7. Gardner, A.S. (2009) Mapping the terrestrial reptile distributions in Oman and the United Arab Emirates. ZooKeys, 31: 165-177.
  8. Arnold, E.N. (1972) Lizards with northern affinities from the mountains of Oman. Zoologische Mededelingen, 47(8): 111-128.
  9. Halliday, T. and Adler, K. (2002) The New Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  10. Hornby, R. (1996) A checklist of amphibians and reptiles of the UAE. Tribulus, 6(1): 9-13.
  11. Leptien, R. and Böhme, W. (1994) First captive breeding of Lacerta (Omanosaura) cyanura ARNOLD, 1972, with comments on systematic implications posed by the reproductive pattern and the juvenile dress. Herpetozoa, 7(1/2): 3-9.
  12. WWF: Major environmental threats in the UAE (February, 2012)
    http://uae.panda.org/about_the_uae/threats/
  13. The Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (February, 2012)
    http://www.ead.ae/en/