Acanthodactylus schreiberi schreiberi Boulenger, 1878 ♂
Common Names: Frienge-toed Lizard, Schreiber's Fringe-fingered Lizard [En], Schreiber'in Tarak Parmaklı Kertenkelesi [Tu], Lézard de Schreiber [Fr]
IUCN Status: EN (Endengered)
Dipkarpaz (Ριζοκάρπασο), İSKELE (Τρίκωμο) ● Cyprus
Identification: Total length up to 15-20 cm. The occipital plate on top of head absent or rudimentary; a longitudinal depression on the anterior part of head. Subocular usually extends down to the edge of the mouth. 71-108 rows of scales around mid-trunk; femoral pores between 19-29. The lateral edges of the toes with fringe-like short spines, especially obvious at the outer borders of the 4th toes. The dorsum with 6-7 longitudinal white lines in young, with dark longitudinal stripes in-between, may be overlaid with round spots. The lined pattern more or less disappears on mature specimens, replaced by dark brownish and yellowish grey maculations. The venter is whitish. In breeding season, the venter of the males and females become brilliant reddish and greenish, respectively.
Biology: Very agile and quick moving, difficult to catch in open places. This species burrows in order to avoid the high desert temperatures, and will do so by shimmying from side to side until it has sunk into the sand. To prevent sand entering the nose and mouth, Schreiber’s fringe-fingered lizard has special adaptations, including valves in the nostrils. Feeds on insects. A female lays 3-5 eggs.
Habitat: It is found on sandy areas with sparse vegetation, coastal sand dunes or light soil close to the dunes. It can be found in newly created cultivated areas with sandy soil close to sand dune habitat. In many areas, it cannot tolerate disturbance. In Israel it can be found in open orchards with a suitable substrate.
Distribution: This species is distributed in Cyprus, Eastern Mediterranean region of Turkey, Lebanon and Israel; with a vertical distribution to 1000 m (Troodos Mountain, Southern Cyprus). One of its subspecies, A. s. syriacus Boettger, 1878 inhabits the sandy banks of Lebanon and Israel. In Cyprus and Turkey, the nominate subspecies, A. s. schreiberi Boulenger, 1878 is present.
Endangered species: There is a serious population decline, estimated to be more than 50% over the last three generations (12 years). In addition it is listed as Endangered because its area of occupancy is less than 500 km2, and its distribution is severely fragmented, and there is a continuing decline in its extent of occurrence, in its area of occupancy, in the extent and quality of its habitat, and the in the number of subpopulations. This species can be fairly common in suitable fragments of habitat in Cyprus. In Turkey, it is very rare.
Threats: This species is threatened by coastal urbanization, including the development of tourism facilities. It is also threatened by the extraction of sand from beaches for building, and human disturbance through the high numbers of tourists visiting sites. The population close to Beirut is believed to have been extirpated through loss of habitat through the construction of refugee camps. In Turkey, there is a major petrol pipeline project and industrial activities in its habitat and pollution from petrol and other industries threatens its restricted range.
References and more info:
Atatür M.K. & Göçmen B., 2001. Amphibians and Reptiles of Northern Cyprus [Kuzey Kibris'in Kurbaga ve Sürüngenleri], Ege Üniversitesi Fen Fakültesi Kitaplar Serisi, No. 170, Ege Üniversitesi Basimevi, Bornova-Izmir, 63 pp (ISBN-975-483-486-5) [In English, 63 pp.].
Hraoui-Bloquet S., Sadek R., Werner Y., Lymberakis P., Tok V., Ugurtas I.H., Sevinç M., Böhme W., Kaska Y., Kumlutaş Y., Kaya U., Avci A., Üzüm N., Yeniyurt C., Akarsu F., 2008. Acanthodactylus schreiberi, IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Halliday T. & Adler K., 2002. The New Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians. Oxford University Press, Oxford.