Uromastyx ocellata 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Reptilia Squamata Agamidae

Scientific Name: Uromastyx ocellata Lichtenstein, 1823
Common Name(s):
English Eyed Dabb Lizard, Ocellated Spinytail
Aporoscelis princeps Scortecci, 1933

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2011
Date Assessed: 2009-06-30
Assessor(s): Spawls, S.
Reviewer(s): Böhm, M., Collen, B. & Ram, M.
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.
Uromastyx ocellata has been assessed as Least Concern, as it has a large area, is estimated to have a large population size and occurs in proteced areas throughout its raneg. However, the population may be in decline due to collection of the species for the international pet trade, coupled in some parts of its range with habitat degradation. Since its ecology makes it particularly vulnerable to over-collecting, it is vital that effective monitoring and legislation is put into place to ensure the continued well-being of this species. Particular focus should be put on monitoring harvest and population levels, since any evidence of  population declines of 25% or more will place this species in the Near Threatened or a threatened category in the future.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species ranges from southeastern Egypt and northern Sudan into Eritrea, Djibouti and northwestern Somalia. While its extent of occurrence is estimated as 473,600 km2, its area of occupancy is likely to be much smaller, since they do not occur uniformly across their range, but are often found in isolated pockets with the right conditions (S. Spawls pers. comm. 2011).
Countries occurrence:
Djibouti; Egypt; Eritrea; Somalia; Sudan
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:In Egypt this species is fairly common but declining in some areas (Baha El Din 2001). Continuing declines are also suspected in other parts of its range. Assuming population densities comparable to those of other species of this genus, it is estimated to number at minimum several hundred thousand individuals (CITES 2006).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This diurnal rock-dwelling species is found in wadis in mountainous rocky desert with Acacia trees. It retreats to cracks and crevices between large boulders, and sometimes burrows into the beds of wadis. It is generally not present in cultivated areas.

The species mainly feeds on Acacia leaves and climbs these trees. It tends to live in colonies, often in holes.
Generation Length (years):9-11

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is of interest to the international pet trade and specimens have been exported primarily from Egypt and Sudan. Between 1994 and 2003, a total of 16,707 were reported exported globally (UNEP-WCMC 2010).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species is of interest to the international pet trade and collecting could present a real threat to this species, as particularly large individuals can fetch a good price (S. Spawls pers. comm. 2011). Between 2000 and 2009, approximately 22,250 live speciemns were reportedly exported from the Sudan (UNEP-WCMC 2010). The fact that the species tends to occur in colonies in distinct pockets of suitable habitat makes collection of a large number of individuals particularly easy for collectors (S. Spawls pers. comm. 2011). This also invariably increases the severity of this threat. However, export of this species has been banned in Egypt. Loss of habitat through quarrying and cutting of Acacia for charcoal amy also pose a threat to this species at a local scale.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is listed on Appendix II of CITES. Egypt has banned the export of this species. There are protected areas within its range, including three protected areas in Egypt covering about 50% of the species' national range. Monitoring of harvest, trade and population status of this species is urgently needed to ensure that excessive collection for the pet trade does not cause serious population declines. Implementation of effective national legislation on the harvest and trade of this species is recommended.

Classifications [top]

2. Savanna -> 2.1. Savanna - Dry
3. Shrubland -> 3.5. Shrubland - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
0. Root -> 6. Rocky areas (eg. inland cliffs, mountain peaks)
3. Species management -> 3.1. Species management -> 3.1.1. Harvest management
3. Species management -> 3.1. Species management -> 3.1.2. Trade management
5. Law & policy -> 5.2. Policies and regulations

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
  Included in international legislation:Yes
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:Yes
3. Energy production & mining -> 3.2. Mining & quarrying
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Unknown ♦ severity:Unknown ⇒ Impact score:Unknown 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

5. Biological resource use -> 5.1. Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals -> 5.1.1. Intentional use (species is the target)
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Unknown ♦ severity:Unknown ⇒ Impact score:Unknown 
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

5. Biological resource use -> 5.3. Logging & wood harvesting -> 5.3.5. Motivation Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Unknown ♦ severity:Unknown ⇒ Impact score:Unknown 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

♦  Food - human
 Local : ✓ 

♦  Pets/display animals, horticulture
 International : ✓ 

Bibliography [top]

Baha el Din, S.M. 2001. The herpetofauna of Egypt: species, communities and assemblages. PhD unpublished, University of Nottingham School of Biological Sciences, Nottingham, UK.

Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). 2006. Review of Significant Trade in specimens of Appendix-II species: Uromastyx ocellata. Twenty-second meeting of the Animals Committee. Lima, Peru.

Flower, S. 1933. Notes on the recent reptiles and amphibians of Egypt, with a list of the species recorded from that kingdom. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1933: 735-851.

IUCN. 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2011.1). Available at: (Accessed: 30 June 2017).

Knapp, A. 2004. An assessment of the international trade in Spiny-tailed Lizards Uromastyx with a focus on the role of the European Union. TRAFFIC Europe. European Commission., Brussels.

Martens, H. 1997. A review of "Zoogeography of amphibians and reptiles of Syria, with additional new records" (Herpetozoa 9 (1/2), 1996). Herpetozoa 10(3/4): 99-106.

Saleh, M.A. 1997. Amphibians and Reptiles of Egypt. Publication of the National Biodiversity Unit, Cairo.

Schmidt, K.P. and Marx, H. 1956. The herpetology of Sinai. Fieldiana 39(4): 21-40.

UNEP-WCMC. 2010. CITES Trade Database. Available at: (Accessed: 17th September).

Wilms, T. 2001. Dornschwanzagamen: Lebensweise, Pflege und Zucht. Herpeton-Verlag., Offenbach, Germany.

Wilms, T. 2002. Habits, care and breeding of spiny-tailed agamas (the Uromastyx-ocellata complex as an example). Reptilia (GB) 21: 19-29.

Wilms, T. 2002. Uromastyx - spiny-tailed agamas. Reptilia (GB) 21: 12-18.

Wilms, T. and Böhme, W. 2000. Zur Taxonomie und Verbreitung der Arten der Uromastyx-ocellata-Gruppe (Sauria: Agamidae). Zoology in the Middle East 21: 55.

Citation: Spawls, S. 2011. Uromastyx ocellata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2011: e.T176223A7199657. . Downloaded on 23 April 2018.
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