Saturday 25 May
Saudi fringe-fingered lizard (Acanthodactylus gongrorhynchatus)
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Saudi fringe-fingered lizard fact file
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Saudi fringe-fingered lizard description
The Saudi fringe-fingered lizard (Acanthodactylus gongorhynchatus) has remarkable ‘fringes’ of elongated scales on each toe, and a long, fragile tail, enabling the lizard to move easily across the loose, shifting surface of sandy deserts. A small to medium sized reptile, the Saudi fringe-fingered lizard has a long, cylindrical body, with well-defined rows of smooth, rectangular scales on the belly (2) (4) (5). It is usually fairly pale in colour, with a bold, brown stripe running along the body. As a juvenile, the Saudi fringe-fingered lizard has a blue tail, which changes to blue-white with age (2) (3).
- Acanthodactylus fraseri. Top
International Reptile Conservation Foundation:
The Environment Agency, Abu Dhabi:
IUCN Red List (February, 2013)
- Hellyer, P. and Aspinall, S. (2005) The Emirates: A Natural History. Trident Press Limited, United Arab Emirates.
Fuelner, G. (2001) Fringe-toed Lizards. Gazelle Newsletter November 2001. Emirates Natural History Group, Dubai. Available at:
- Halliday, T. and Adler, K. (2002) The New Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
- Barth, H. J. and Böer, B. (2002) Sabkha Ecosystems Volume I: The Arabian Peninsula and Adjacent Countries. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, Netherlands.
- Alsharhan, A. et al. (2008) Terrestrial Environment of Abu Dhabi Emirate. Environment Agency, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
The Reptile Database (October, 2010)
- Pianka, E.R. and Vitt, L.J. (2003) Lizards: Windows to the Evolution of Diversity. University of California Press, Berkeley.
- Luke, C. (1986) Convergent evolution of lizard toe fringes. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 27: 1-6.
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Saudi fringe-fingered lizard biology
There is very little information available on the biology of the Saudi fringe-fingered lizard; however, it is thought that the sand-dwelling species of the Acanthodactylus genus may rely heavily on ants as prey (3). A study on the evolution of lizard toe fringes has found that, contrary to most other ‘fringed’ reptile species, the fringes of the Saudi fringe-fingered lizard are different shapes on either side of the toe, with ‘triangular’ shaped scales on one side, and ‘projecting’ scales on the other (9).Top
Saudi fringe-fingered lizard rangeTop
Saudi fringe-fingered lizard habitat
Occurring in arid regions, the Saudi fringe-fingered lizard is primarily a sand-dwelling species (2) (3). It has also been reported from the sabkhas (salt flats) of the UAE, where it may occasionally forage (8).Top
Saudi fringe-fingered lizard status
The Saudi fringe-fingered lizard is classified as Data Deficient (DD) on the IUCN Red List (1).Top
Saudi fringe-fingered lizard threats
Relatively little is currently known about the distribution and status of the Saudi fringe-fingered lizard. However, in parts of the United Arab Emirates it is believed to be under threat from real estate development (1).Top
Saudi fringe-fingered lizard conservation
There are no known specific conservation measures currently in place for the Saudi fringe-fingered lizard, but it occurs in a number of protected areas in the United Arab Emirates (1).Top
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To learn more about reptile conservation visit:
For further information on conservation in the region, see:
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:
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