Lizards > Lacertids > Knox's Desert Lizard

Lacertids (Lacertidae; naelloper-akkedisse)

Knox's Desert lizard / Knox se Woestynakkedis

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Meroles knoxii

Size A medium-sized lacertid with adult snout-vent length in the region of 60-70 mm. Individuals from the northern part of the range are larger than from the southern part. The tail is about 2.5 times body length.

Description It is easily confused with the spotted sand lizard (Pedioplanis lineoocellata), but can be distinguised from the latter by the subocular scale that does not reach the lip. In all Pedioplanis species the subocular reaches the lip. The head and body are moderately depressed, and the snout is well-rounded with no sharp edge. The collar is slightly curved (straight in P. lineoocellata ). The scales on the dorsal neck region are granular and feebly keeled, but on the back, they are larger, rhombic and diagonally keeled, and smoother and larger on the sides of the body. The ventral body scales are normally arranged in 12 longitudinal rows. Usually 18-20 femoral pores occur on the ventral aspect of the femur. Adults are greyish to reddish-brown above with a dark brown to black band dorso-laterally, bearing pale brownish to white spots. Below the bands on the side of the body, the colour may vary from light grey to blackish with longitudinal series of yellow or brownish and black spots. The limbs have pale bluish-white dark-edged spots above. The ventral body and limbs are white to bluish-grey. Breeding males may have bright yellow infusions along the lips (see photo).

Biology Knox's Desert Lizard is very common in Namaqualand. These very active, fast-running lizards live in sandy, scrub-covered areas. It follows an active foraging strategy and covers large areas in search of suitable prey, mainly small insects. At night, it shelters in a burrow dug among the roots of a scrub. In the southern part of its range where the species is smaller, females lay only two to three eggs during early summer, in the northern part of the range females may lay up to six eggs.

Distribution This species occurs along the west coast from southern Namibia to the Cape Peninsula.

Distribution in the GCBC Common along the coast, but with a patchy distribution further inland.

Conservation status Not listed.

Threats None.

Current studies None.


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