Sinai agama (Pseudotrapelus sinaitus)
|Size||Length: 18 cm (2)|
This species has yet to be classified by the IUCN.
Although drab and inconspicuous throughout much of the year, during the breeding season the male Sinai agama becomes instantly recognisable for its vivid sky-blue colouration (3) (4). This colouration can extend over the entire head and body or just the head and throat, while the tail and body remain brown. The females and juveniles retain the brown colouration throughout the year, but usually have a red crescent-shaped spot on the flanks, behind the forelimb (4). Other distinctive features of this species include a large ear opening behind the eye, long limbs and a thin, cylindrical tail that is over one and half times the length of the body (3).
The Sinai agama has a relatively large range extending from south-east Libya, east through Egypt, Sinai, Israel, Jordan and Syria, as far as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Oman, and south as far as east Sudan, Ethiopia and Eritrea (3) (5).
The Sinai agama is found in rocky, arid regions amongst foothill and mountains (3) (4).
A fast and agile climber, the Sinai agama is well adapted to its arid, rocky habitat. As hunting takes place during the day, this species relies on its long legs to raise its body off the hot substrate while waiting for insect prey to emerge (3) (4). Ants and other small insects are commonly taken, often with large quantities of sand (3).
The Sinai agama breeds during the summer, typically between May and August in Israel. Both the male and the female become territorial at this time, adopting a threat posture involving a raised head and gaping mouth when rival breeders are encountered. The males climb on rocks or stone heaps in order to survey the surroundings, and communicate to prospective females using eye movements, nods and push-ups. After mating, the female lays a clutch of five to nine relatively large eggs around 1.5 cm in length (3).
There are no known major threats to the Sinai agama at present, it is relatively common in at least some parts of its range and occurs in remote, inhospitable areas where there is little disturbance (2) (4).
There are no known conservation measures in place for the Sinai agama.
To learn more about reptile conservation visit:
- International Reptile Conservation Foundation:
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- Territorial: an animal, a pair of animals or a colony that occupies and defends an area.
UNEP-WCMC Species Database (July, 2009)
- Vine, P. and Al-Abed, I. (1997) Natural Emirates: Wildlife and Environment of the United Arab Emirates. Trident Press Ltd, London.
- Schleich, H.H., Kästle, W. and Kabisch, K. (1996) Amphibians and Reptiles of North Africa: Biology, Systematics, Field Guide. Koeltz Scientific Books, Koenigstein.
- Hellyer, P. and Aspinall, S. (2005) The Emirates: A Natural History. Trident Press Limited, United Arab Emirates.
J. Craig Venter Institute (July, 2009)