Lizards > Lacertids > Spotted Sand Lizard

Lacertids (Lacertidae; naelloper-akkedisse)

Spotted Sand Lizard / Gevlekte Sandakkedis

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Pedioplanis lineoocellata

Size It is a small lacertid with adult snout-vent length in the region of 45-55 mm. Hatchlings measure 50-55 mm in total length.

Description The tail of the spotted sand lizard is not as long as that of other lacertids, but the lizard has the typical lacertid built, namely a elongated, slender body with well-developed legs and long toes. It has 10-17 femoral pores on each thigh. Coloration is extremely variable. The colour of the back may range from grey-brown to red-brown, usually with 2-4 rows of small, pale dorsal spots that may fuse into broken or continuous dorsolateral stripes. The flanks have a series of large, pale-blue spots that may be dark-edged. Namaqualand specimens usually have paired black dorsolateral stripes. The hindlegs are usually spotted and the tail is flecked with pale and dark dots. Sometimes, individuals may be fairly uniformly coloured. The belly is white. Adult males sometimes have a blue-grey throat.

Biology The spotted sand lizard is very common in the arid central and western parts of the country. Although it is a typical terrestrial species, it prefers rocky veld and during periods of inactivity, shelters in a small burrow dug underneath a flat rock. It is a diurnal species and unlike most other lacertids, it is a sit-and-wait forager. Its diet consists mostly of small insects and varies from season to season. It is an extremely fast lizard and uses its speed to catch its prey and also to outrun predators. It tires very quickly, however, and needs to find cover pretty soon when chased by a predator. Females lay 4-8 eggs during early summer which then hatch in February the next year. Sexual maturity is reached in 15-18 months and it can live for 4-5 years.

Distribution The spotted sand lizard has an extensive range in the western half of southern Africa reaching well into Namibia and Botswana.

Distribution in the GCBC Probably occurs throughout the corridor.

Conservation status Not listed.

Threats None identified.

Current studies Jane Sakwa Makokha recently completed her M.Sc. on the fine scale phylogeography of this species and the evolutionary relationships of the genus Pedioplanis. M.Sc. student Johan du Plessis is currently investigating habitat partitioning in two Pedioplanis species.

 

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