Sinai agama (Pseudotrapelus sinaitus) :
The Sinai agama (Pseudotrapelus sinaitus, formerly Agama sinaita) is an agamid lizard found in arid areas of southeastern Libya, eastern Egypt, Palestine, Israel, Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, eastern Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Djibouti.
The length of the lizard including its long slender tail is 18 cm (7 in), the tail accounting for up to two-thirds of its total length. The limbs and tail are long and thin and allow for good climbing and running capability.
Pseudotrapelus sinaitus is active during daytime and feeds on insects and other arthropods and plants. During the breeding season, males become a striking blue colour to attract females. The female has brownish-red spots on her sides.
Scientific classification :
(Heyden, 1827 [originally Agama])
Agama sinaitia Heyden, 1827
Agama arenaria Heyden, 1827
Agama lichtensteini Gray, 1845
Agama sinaitica Ruppell, 1845
Trapelus sinaiticus Tristram, 1888
Agama neumanni Tornier, 1905
Agama straminea Lichtenstein, 1945
Pseudotrapelus sinaitaMoody, 1980
The Sinai agama is a small lizard with long legs, giving it an upright stance. It grows to a length of 18 cm (7 in) and has a long, slender tail, one and a half times as long as the body. The long head has the eyes fairly near the front with a distinctive pair of ear openings some way behind in line with the animal's mouth. The legs are long and slender and the tail is often held off the ground. This lizard is generally a dull brown colour, but during the breeding season, the male turns bright blue, or sometimes just the head and throat turn blue with the other parts remaining brown. Females and juveniles are greyish-brown all year round, but females often have a crescent-shaped red patch on each side just behind the forelimbs. The scales on the dorsal surface are relatively small, uniformly overlapping, and slightly keeled. The mid-back scales are slightly larger than elsewhere, and the scales on the tail are larger than those on the back. Unlike members of the closely related genus Agama, the third (middle) toe is the longest instead of the fourth.
The Sinai agami is found in arid parts of northeastern Africa
and parts of the Middle East. The countries where it occurs include Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Saudi Arabia, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Palestine, Israel, Jordan, and Syria.
The Sinai agami hunts for insects and a large part of its diet consists of ants. Breeding takes place in spring and early summer when both the male and female become territorial. To maintain their territory, they adopt a threatening pose by raising their heads and gaping. The male finds a prominent spot where he can communicate with a prospective mate by bobbing his head, using eye movements, and doing push-ups with his front limbs. After mating has taken place, the female lays a clutch of five to nine eggs about 1.5 cm (0.6 in) long.
Like other lizards, the Sinai agami is ectothermic. In the daytime, they bask in the sun and are seen on boulders, cliffs, or piles of stone. Under these circumstances, any alarm or attempt at predation causes them to dash off at great speed. When the external temperature is lower, their body metabolism is lowered and they are incapable of sudden bursts of speed. Their instinct is to stand their ground and attack their aggressors.
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Sinai Agama - Pseudotrapelus sinaitus
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Latin Name: Pseudotrapelus sinaitus (Heyden, 1827).
Common name: Sinai agama. In common parlance a species of lizard.
Origin: The large agamid family is the Old World counterpart of the New World iguanids, where traditionally the “Old World” refers to our region in the Middle East and to North Africa.
Distribution in Jordan: The Sinai Agama has been observed in Al Shawbak, north of Azraq, the Dead Sea area, Ghore al Haditha, Khinzirah, Petra, Safawi, Sahl as-Siwan, and Wadi Al Mujib and Wadi Rum.
Habitat: The Sinai Agama is a diurnal ‘sit and wait’ forager that occupies a variety of open habitats. In Jordan, this species has been observed in the black lava desert, in Petra, in the Shawbak area and on the eastern shore of the Dead Sea. In all these regions, the Sinai Agama was found inhabiting volcanic boulders, outcrops and hard gravel surfaces with scattered rocks.
Diet: Their diet consists mainly of ants, grasshoppers, beetles, and termites. Hunting by vision, it sits in vegetation, under a rock outcropping, or in the shade and waits until an insect or small mammal walks by and then will chase the prey. They catch their prey by using a tongue with a tip covered by mucous glands; this aids the lizard in holding onto small prey such as ants and termites.
Characteristics: The Sinai Agama is typical of the agama species in being less shy than most other reptiles, allowing relatively close approach. Body length is typically 18cm, with a long tail adding an exaggerated long appearance. Females exhibit a distinctive colouration before oviposition: the head is light blue and the back bears rusty-orange crossbars. Males are brilliant turquoise (see photo) when sexually aroused or angry, and they express territoriality by occupying a large boulder to overlook its defended area
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Sinai agama חרדון סיני
Trek to Petra
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