Laudakia stellio

Laudakia stellio LINNAEUS 1758

Common Names

Rough-tailed Rock Agama (English), Starred Agama (English), حردون (Arabic)

Languages: English

Overview

Description

Medium-sized lizard, largest with a SVL of 284 mm; average tail/SVL = 1.3. Similar to L. s. brachydactyla; differs as follows: Mid-back longitudinal band of enlarged scales is more heterogeneous, composed of large scales surrounded by much smaller ones; spiny rosettes on flanks less well developed; tail proportionately shorter; dorsal coloration pale olive-gray, with whitish dorsal spots, less contrasting even in breeding males; tail bars less conspicuous.

Conservation

Conservation Status

Least Concern

Status in Egypt

Heavily collected by commercial animal dealers. The decline and disappearance of some local popu­lations is probably due to commercial collection. Loss of introduced populations is of little ecological consequence

Description

Behaviour

When disturbed it runs into rock crevices or climb up high on trees.

Ecology and Distribution

Global Distribution

Southeast Europe, Asia Minor, the Levant, and northeast Egypt.

Distribution in Egypt

Northeast Sinai, and the environs of Alexandria, west to Burg El Arab. Specimens from Ras El Hekma, collected in 1951 appears to be from an isolated population; none were found at that locality during several visits in the 1990s. The species was introduced to Giza and the Delta Barrages (north of Cairo) in the late 1800s and early 1900s (Flower 1933), and apparently also at Kom Oshim. The Giza population has become extinct; the status of the other two introduced populations is not clear, but they are likely to have disappeared as well. In North Sinai it is dis­tributed in a narrow band from El Arish to Rafah, extending inland some 15 km along Wadi El Arish.

It is likely that the only populations of L. s. stellio naturally occur­ring in Egypt are those of northeast Sinai. The Alexandria population was probably introduced (from Greece) in ancient times, when maritime- transport across the Mediterranean was prevalent. The isolated nature of the Alexandria population and its limited disjunct distribution indicate that it is unlikely that the species colonized this territory by natural means. The taxon appar­ently has excellent colonization capacity. A similar (but reversed) scenario is proposed for an isolated population of Chamaeleo africanus found recently in Greece (Bohme et al. 1998).

Habitat

Well-vegetated rocky areas.It is found in two different situations: in the environs of Alexandria it inhabits coastal ridges and cliffs near the Mediterranean, as well as some ruins; in North Sinai it has adapted to cultivation and orchards with large trees, where it climbs on buildings (even inhabited ones) and trees.

References

S., Baha El Din. (2006).  A Guide to the Reptiles and Amphibians of Egypt, The American University in Cairo Press, Cairo..