The Be’er Sheva Fringe-fingered Lizard has had a major population decline in the past few years with more than an 80% decrease in three generations.
Be’er Sheva Fringe-fingered Lizards are born with colourful blue tails and striped bodies but these characteristics are lost when they enter adulthood and their behaviour changes. It is believed that this colouration is used as an anti-predator mechanism whilst they are young.
This species is part of the diverse Lacertidae family of lizards, which diverged from all other families of lizards around 62 million years ago, around the time of when humans and tarsiers shared a common ancestor.
The main threat to this species is habitat degradation due to intensive agriculture, urbanisation and trampling by grazing animals. Predation also poses a threat – Be’er Sheva Fringe-fingered Lizards are easily caught by a number of different predatory birds such as falcons and egrets and the abundance of these predatory birds are increasing with ongoing tree planting. Only 10km2 of this species range is left for them to live in.
Be’er Sheva Fringe-fingered Lizards are protected by national legislation in Israel and a part of this species range is within protected areas.
- Order: Squamata
- Family: Lacertidae
- Population: Rare
- Trend: decreasing
- Size: 17-20cm
This species is found in the Irano-Turanian region of south-central Israel.
Habitat and Ecology
This species lives in loess plains with sparse shrub cover. The females lay between three and seven eggs. It is not found in any agricultural areas. Individuals hide under stones and in holes in the ground.