Bosk’s fringe-toed lizard (Acanthodactylus boskianus)

Bosk's fringe-toed lizard portrait
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Bosk’s fringe-toed lizard fact file

Bosk’s fringe-toed lizard description

GenusAcanthodactylus (1)

In common with other lacertids, Bosk’s fringe-toed lizard (Acanthodactylus boskianus) has a long, cylindrical body and well developed legs (3). It is one of the largest Acanthodactylus species (2), a genus commonly referred to as the fringe-toed lacertids, owing to the presence of a series of scales on the fingers that provide traction for running over loose sand (3) (4). The general body colour of this species ranges from darkish or silvery grey, to yellow or reddish brown, with seven contrasting dark, brown longitudinal stripes that run the length of the back. With age, these stripes generally fade away or become grey in colour (2).

Also known as
Bosc’s fringe-toed lizard.
Lacerta aspera, Lacerta boskiana, Lacerta longicauda, Scapteira inaequalis.
Male length: 24.5 cm (2)
Female length: 20.5 cm (2)

Bosk’s fringe-toed lizard biology

Bosk’s fringe-toed lizard excavates burrows in hard sand, some of which are equipped with multiple entrances to allow quick retreats. These burrows not only provide protection from predators, but also act as a nightly resting place and as a refuge from periods of intense heat. A relatively late riser, this diurnal lizard generally emerges from its burrow around mid-morning. It is a voracious predator, with a diet that comprises a wide variety of insects and other invertebrates, from flies and beetles to grasshoppers and spiders. Generally, it will eat anything it can overwhelm and has even been observed taking a young gecko (2).

During courtship the male approaches the female with a bent neck, and then runs in semi-circles, whilst probing the female’s body with its tongue. If receptive, the female lies flat and lifts the base of the tail, allowing the male to make cloacal contact. The eggs are laid about two weeks after mating in a deep hole in moist ground, which is subsequently covered up. The eggs, which normally number from around two to seven in a clutch, remain buried for 89 to 100 days before hatching (2).


Bosk’s fringe-toed lizard range

Bosk’s fringe-toed lizard is the most widespread of all species in the genus, with a distribution that encompasses a large portion of Northern Africa and extends into the Arabian Peninsula, Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey (2) (5).


Bosk’s fringe-toed lizard habitat

Occurs in arid regions, on open sand or clay ground, with vegetation or rocks for cover (2).


Bosk’s fringe-toed lizard status

Bosk's fringe-toed lizard has not yet been classified on the IUCN Red List.


Bosk’s fringe-toed lizard threats

While the conservation status of Bosk’s fringe-toed lizard is yet to be assessed on the IUCN Red List, there are no known major threats to this species.


Bosk’s fringe-toed lizard conservation

There are no known conservation measures in place for Bosk’s fringe-toed lizard.

Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi is a principal sponsor of ARKive. EAD is working to protect and conserve the environment as well as promoting sustainable development in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.

Find out more

Find out more about reptile conservation:

  • International Reptile Conservation Foundation:


This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:



Relating to the cloaca,a common cavity into which the reproductive, alimentary and urinary systems open.
Active during the day.
A category used in taxonomy, which is below ‘family’ and above ‘species’. A genus tends to contain species that have characteristics in common. The genus forms the first part of a ‘binomial’ Latin species name; the second part is the specific name.
An animal with no backbone.
Old World terrestrial lizard.


  1. Catalogue of Life: Annual Checklist (April, 2009)
  2. Schleich, H.H., Kästle, W. and Kabisch, K. (1996) Amphibians and Reptiles of North Africa: Biology, Systematics, Field Guide. Koeltz Scientific Books, Koenigstein.
  3. Pianka, E.R. and Vitt, L.J. (2003) Lizards: Windows to the Evolution of Diversity. University of California Press, Berkeley.
  4. Halliday, T. and Adler, K. (2002) The New Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  5. Rastegar-Pouyani, N. (1999) First Record of the Lacertid Acanthodactylus boskianus (Sauria: Lacertidae) for Iran. Asiatic Herpetological Research, 8: 85-89.

Image credit

Bosk's fringe-toed lizard portrait  
Bosk's fringe-toed lizard portrait

© Jan Ševcík

Jan Sevcik


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