Owing to its superficial similarity to its larger congener, Acanthodactylus boskianus, the snake-tailed fringe-toed lizard was only officially described in 1980 (2). As its name suggests, this species has a particularly long tail (3), and, in common with other Acanthodactylus species, the toes are fringed with scales adapted for running over loose sand (4)(5). Like other lacertids, the body is long and cylindrical, and the legs are well developed (4). The basic body colour is grey, with seven dark stripes running down the back and sides (2), and a tail tinged red in immatures (3).
There is very little information available on the biology of the snake-tailed fringe-toed lizard. However, this diurnal lizard reportedly lives in burrows excavated out of hard sand. Remaining concealed for all but a few hours of the day, the burrows not only act as a shelter from predators but also provide refuge from extreme temperatures (6).
Tiedemann, F. (1991) First record of Acanthodactylus opheodurus ARNOLD, 1980, and Coluber ventromaculatus GRAY, 1834 (Squamata: Lacertidae, Colubridae) from the United Arab Emirates. Herpetozoa, 4: 167-175.
Hellyer, P. and Aspinall, S. (2005) The Emirates: A Natural History. Trident Press Limited, United Arab Emirates.
Pianka, E.R. and Vitt, L.J. (2003) Lizards: Windows to the Evolution of Diversity. University of California Press, Berkeley.
Halliday, T. and Adler, K. (2002) The New Encyclopedia of Reptile and Amphibians. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Zaady, E. & Bouskila, A. (2002) Lizard burrows association with successional stages of biological soil crusts in an arid sandy region. Journal of Arid Environments, 50: 235–246.
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