Ablepharus deserti 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Reptilia Squamata Scincidae

Scientific Name: Ablepharus deserti Strauch, 1868
Common Name(s):
English Desert Lidless Skink
Ablepharus tenuis Nikolsky, 1915
Ablepharus turkestanicus Ahl, 1925

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2017
Date Assessed: 2016-04-07
Assessor(s): Anderson, S., Milto, K., Shestopal, A., Dujsebayeva, T., Nuridjanov, D., Golynsky, E., Borkin, L. & Sattorov, T.
Reviewer(s): Bowles, P.
Contributor(s): De Silva, R., Milligan, H.T., Wearn, O.R., Wren, S., Zamin, T., Sears, J., Wilson, P., Lewis, S., Lintott, P. & Powney, G.
Ablepharus deserti has been assessed as Least Concern owing to its wide distribution across the drylands of central Asia. No specific threats have been reported across the range as a whole and this species is not undergoing significant population declines. The Fergana subpopulation in Tajikistan is at high risk from habitat loss and would benefit from special protection along with a number of reptiles endemic to this valley.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species inhabits southern Kazakhstan (with isolated records in the country's west along the east bank of the Caspian Sea - Dujsebayeva 2015), Kyrgyzstan, northern Tajikistan, east Turkmenistan (with an isolated population in Merv Oasis) and Uzbekistan (Bobrov 2005). It has been observed on eastern and western slopes at elevations between 1,200 and 1,500 m above sea level (Kolbintzev et al. 1999); it can however be found up to 2,400 m, and has been recorded from as low as 1,000 m asl. in Tajikistan (T. Sattorov pers. comm. 2016). The westernmost Kazakh locality, Aqtau, may represent an introduction (Pestov 2014).
Countries occurrence:
Kazakhstan; Kyrgyzstan; Tajikistan; Turkmenistan; Uzbekistan
Additional data:
Lower elevation limit (metres):1000
Upper elevation limit (metres):2400
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:In Kazakhstan a range of 6-80 animals per hectare (mean 30) has been reported. A similar mean number of individuals per hectare has been recorded for Kyrgyzstan, and densities are presumably similar in Uzbekistan (T. Dujsebaveya et al. 2016). The species is in decline in the Fergana Valley in Tajikistan, where it was formerly widespread around in mesic habitats (T. Sattorov pers. comm. 2016). Recorded densities along a 100 m transect have declined from 17 individuals in the 1980s to as few to 3-4 in 2013 (T. Sattorov pers. comm. 2016).
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species inhabits desert areas including oases, and foothills and tugay (floodplain forest) (Bobrov 2005). At 2,000 m above sea level, it is known to live on dry-south exposed slopes with xerophytic steppe characterized by Ferula, Rosa, honeysuckle (Lonicera), Cotoneaster, and Spirea. In the Ferghana Valley it is restricted to well-watered habitats such as oases, gardens, orchards and ditches. Where it survives in the Tajik portion of the valley, it is found only in densely-vegetated gardens (T. Sattorov pers. comm. 2016). This species is diurnal and oviparous, with observed clutch sizes between 1-11 eggs (Kolbintzev et al. 1999; T. Dujsebayeva pers. comm. 2016 reports 2-8 as typical).

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: There is no known use of or trade in this species.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): It is unlikely that any major threat is impacting this species in most of its range. In the Fergana Valley it is heavily impacted by extensive human development, driven largely at present by livestock grazing and historically by conversion for cotton cultivation. Almost no natural habitat remains in the valley, in which no protected areas exist, and observed population densities have declined by 75-90% since the 1980s.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no known species-specific conservation measures in place, or needed for this species as a whole. It is found in many protected areas in countries of Central Asia. It is included in the Red Data Book in Tajikistan (2015), where it is in need of special protection. Species endemic to the Ferghana Valley are listed as globally Vulnerable, and the Tajik subpopulation should be considered at comparable risk of extinction.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.4. Forest - Temperate
suitability:Suitable season:resident 
3. Shrubland -> 3.4. Shrubland - Temperate
suitability:Suitable season:resident 
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.9. Wetlands (inland) - Freshwater Springs and Oases
suitability:Suitable season:resident 
8. Desert -> 8.2. Desert - Temperate
suitability:Suitable season:resident 
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.3. Artificial/Terrestrial - Plantations
suitability:Suitable season:resident 
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.4. Artificial/Terrestrial - Rural Gardens
suitability:Suitable season:resident 
1. Land/water protection -> 1.2. Resource & habitat protection

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
1. Residential & commercial development -> 1.1. Housing & urban areas
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Minority (<50%) ♦ severity:Slow, Significant Declines ⇒ Impact score:Low Impact: 5 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.3. Agro-industry farming
♦ timing:Past, Likely to Return ♦ scope:Minority (<50%) ♦ severity:Unknown ⇒ Impact score:Past Impact 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.3. Livestock farming & ranching -> 2.3.4. Scale Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Minority (<50%) ♦ severity:Slow, Significant Declines ⇒ Impact score:Low Impact: 5 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

Bibliography [top]

Bobrov, V.V. 2005. Independence of the Central Asian Faunistic Region (according to the distribution of lizards (Reptilia, Sauria)). Biology Bulletin 32(6): 576-589.

Dujsebayeva, T.N. 2015. About the lidless skink Ablepharus deserti in Kazakhstan and parapatry of A. deserti and Asymblepharus alaicus (Reptilia: Scincidae) [in Russian]. Труды Зоологического института РАН 319(2): 282-303.

IUCN. 2017. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2017-2. Available at: (Accessed: 14 September 2017).

Kolbintzev, V., Miroschnichenko, L. and Dujsebayeva, T. 1999. Distribution and Natural History of the Lidless Skinks, Asymblepharus alaicus and Ablepharus deserti (Sauria: Scincidae) in the Aksu-Djabagly Nature Reserve (Western Tian-Shan Mountains) Kazakstan. Asiatic Herpetological Research 8: 69-74.

Lambert, M.R.K. 2002. Preliminary observations on herpetofaunal diversity in the Almaty region, Southern Kazakhstan (September 1998). Herpetological Bulletin 79: 7-13.

Pestov, M.V. 2014. Desert lidless skink Ablepharus deserti Strauch, 1868 (Reptilia: Scincidae) in the Mangistau Region (Kazakhstan) [in Russian with English abstract]. Current Studies in Herpetology 14(3/4): 134-136.

Strauch. 1868. Ueber die Arten del' Eidechsen-Gattung Ablepharus (Fitz.). Bull. Ac. Sc. St. Pétersbourg 12: 359-371.

Szczerbak, N.N. 2003. Guide to the Reptiles of the Western Palearctic. Krieger, Malabar.

Citation: Anderson, S., Milto, K., Shestopal, A., Dujsebayeva, T., Nuridjanov, D., Golynsky, E., Borkin, L. & Sattorov, T. 2017. Ablepharus deserti. In: . The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T178546A85035208. . Downloaded on 25 June 2018.
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