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Uromastyx ornata

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA REPTILIA SQUAMATA AGAMIDAE

Scientific Name: Uromastyx ornata
Species Authority: Heyden, 1827
Common Name(s):
English Ornate Mastigure
Taxonomic Notes: U. ornata and the previously recognized U. philbyi exhibit a high degree of morphological and genetic similarity (Wilms et al. 2007). These authors therefore treat U. philbyi as a subspecies of U. ornata, where it had previously provisionally been placed (e.g. Wilms and Böhme 2007), and this scheme is followed here. U. ornata itself has variously been treated as either a full species or a subspecies of U. ocellata (see Wilms and Böhme 2007 for a discussion of this lizard's taxonomic history).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-02-08
Assessor(s): Wilms, T. & Sindaco, R.
Reviewer(s): Bowles, P. & Cox, N.A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Bowles, P.
Justification:
This species is listed as Least Concern on the basis that, while it has suffered substantial declines and has become locally extinct in parts of northern Egypt and Israel, pressures on the lizard in Saudi Arabia, which forms the majority of its range, are presently low and it is not thought to be declining rapidly enough to warrant listing in a more threatened category. Despite this, pressures from exploitation are increasing in the Arabian portion of its range, and trade in this species should be monitored to establish whether it will justify listing in a more threatened category in future.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species ranges from the southern Sinai Peninsula (Egypt) and extreme southern Israel, south along the western flank of the mountains of Saudi Arabia to northwestern Yemen. The subspecies U. o. philbyi is confined to Yemen. On the Sinai Peninsula it is found up to about 1,000 m asl.
Countries:
Native:
Egypt; Israel; Saudi Arabia; Yemen
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: It is moderately abundant in suitable habitat, but populations appear to exhibit significant fluctuation. In Saudi Arabia it can regularly be seen where it occurs (R. Sindaco pers. comm. February 2012). The species is declining from heavily disturbed and accessible areas of its range, and may already have been extirpated from parts of Sinai and Israel (T. Wilms pers. comm. February 2012).
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species is found in desert areas, in dry wadi beds with rocky habitats, and sparse Acacia vegetation. In Israel, Sinai and Saudi Arabia it is mostly restricted to areas with granite rocks. It is also found in areas of limestone and sandstone. These animals live in rock crevices and sometimes in burrows. The female lays a clutch of between 6 and 17 eggs.
Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Between 1977 and 2001, over 24,000 Uromastyx ocellata were exported from this lizard's native range, the majority from Egypt (TRAFFIC 2004). Most of these were probably the form now recognized as U. ornata, due to the higher demand for this morph (T. Wilms pers. comm. February 2012). There is some domestic trade in this species for food and pets, and probably some international export, in Saudi Arabia, however this is at a smaller scale than in the related U. aegyptia (M. Shobrak pers. comm. February 2012). Following enforcement of the 1991 export ban of Uromastyx from Egypt, from 1995 onwards, Eastern European markets began exporting animals in poor condition, thought to be illegally wild-caught specimens, but the scale of continued exploitation of this species is not known (T. Wilms pers. comm. February 2012). Exports of Uromastyx from Yemen are no longer approved, but some illegal trade appears to be ongoing to meet demand in the United States (T. Wilms and O. Baeshen pers. comm. February 2012). There is some localized use for food in Yemen. There is some international trade for use in traditional medicine.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species is locally affected by overcollection for the international pet trade, particularly in Egypt and Israel. This includes the illegal collection of animals from within protected areas in Egypt. Trade levels in Saudi Arabia are presently low, but are increasing and may represent a threat. It is locally threatened in Sinai by loss of habitat due to tourism activities (such as off-road vehicles), removal of Acacia for charcoal, quarrying and military developments. Overgrazing may lead to localized habitat loss in parts of its Saudi Arabian range (M. Shobrak pers. comm. February 2012).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is listed on Appendix II of CITES. Egypt has banned the export of this species. It is present in one reserve in Israel and five protected areas in Egypt. Monitoring of trade and implementation of national legislation is needed to conserve this species. Reserch is needed into the development of community based conservation projects for this species. There is a need to research the range boundaries for this species on the Arabian Peninsula. It is listed as Endangered under Red List Criteria B and C2a (1994 criteria) in Israel.

Citation: Wilms, T. & Sindaco, R. 2012. Uromastyx ornata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 29 November 2014.
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