Amphibians and Reptiles Database
Trapelus agnetae   (WERNER, 1929)  
Synonyms: Agama agnetae WERNER, 1929; Agama pallidus haasi WERNER, 1971; Trapelus pallidus agnetae SINDACO et al., 2006
Distribution: Israel?, Jordan, Iraq?, Saudi Arabia
NCBI ID: 1001384    (opens in new window)

Trapelus agnetae; Rotem plains, Israel (Photo: Shai Meiri)
Trapelus agnetae; Wadi Arab, Jordan; April 2012 (Photo: Thomas Bader)

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Al-Oran, S. (Al-Quran) (2009): The Herpetofauna of the Southern Jordan -- American-Eurasian J. Agric. & Environ. Sci., 6 (4): 385-391,--

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A total number of 70 herpetofaunistic species organised in 3 orders and 18 families were surveyed during a period of two years (2005– 2007) in southern Jordan. The orders are (1) Ophidia has 7 families: Leptotyphlopidae (1 species), Typhlopidae (2 species), Boidae (1 species), Colubdridae (17 species), Atractaspididae (1 species), Elapidae (1 species) and Viperidae (5 species). (2) Sauria has 7 families: Gekkonidae (12 species), Chamaeleonidae (1 species), Agamidae (8 species), Lacertidae (3 species), Sincidae (8 species), Anguidae (1 species), Varanidae (1 species). (3) Testudines has 4 families: Cheloniidae (2 species), Dermochetylidae (1 species), Emydidae (1 species) and Testudinidae (1 species). The species listed were all resident and were mostly found throughout the year. The diversity of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems in the study area encouraged the occurrence of the species. The results reinforce the necessity of longterm inventory plannings in order to understand the ecology and the dynamics of herpetofaunistic and other wildlife communities in the study area. The over-increasing of human impact on the existing natural resources in the southern Jordan has threatened the ecology diversity of wildlife species, where the populations of some herpetofaunaistic species (especially frog species) and many reptilian species are declining in diversity status and abundance. The author recommend at the end the improving cooperation of different parties to enhance the public awareness and to implement environmental laws and legislation to conserve the sensitive and rare species of herpetofauna components.


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The lizard and Amphisbaenian fauna inhabiting Riyadh Province of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been investigated through the collection and subsequent identification of 455 specimens from various localities in the province. Twenty six species belonging to five families: Agamidae, Gekkonidae, Lacertidae, Scincidae and Varanidae were recorded. One species of Amphisbaenian belongs to family Trogonophidae was recorded, Agama stellio brachydactyla, Chalcides ocellatus, Chalcides levitoni, Diplometopon zarudnyi, Mesalina guttulata, Mesalina brevirostris, Pristurus rupestris and Stenodactylus slevinii were reported from Riyadh Province for the first time. Hie geographical distribution of the collected species within this province and in Saudi Arabia was mapped.

Al-Sadoon, M.K., B.A. Paray & H.S. Al-Otaibi (2016): Survey of the reptilian fauna of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. V. The lizard fauna of Turaif region -- Saudi Journal of Biological Sciences (2016). in press. 7 pp.--

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Turaif area located in the Northern border region of Saudi Arabia is one of the most important regions of the Kingdom. This work was proposed to throw light on the diversity of lizard fauna investigated through the collection and subsequent identification of specimens from different localities of Turaif region of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Sixteen species of lizards belonging to 5 families (Agamidae, Gekkonidae, Lacertidae, Scincidae and Varanidae) were recorded. Lacertidae was the most common family. Three species of lizards namely Acanthodactylus orientalis, Acanthodactylus scutellatus and Acanthodactylus grandis were reported for the first time in the Turaif region of Saudi Arabia. The geographical distribution of the collected species within this province was mapped.

Al-Shammari, A.M. (2012): ADDITIONAL RECORDS OF LIZARDS IN HA’IL PROVINCE, SAUDI ARABIA -- Russian Journal of Herpetology 19(4): 287 – 291--

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A recent collection of lizards from Ha’il area revealed 19 species representing six families. Additional records to Ha’il province include Acanthodactylus grandis, Acanthodactylus opheodurus, Acanthodactylus schmidti, Diplometopon zarudnyi, Trapelus ruderatus fieldi, Trapelus pallidus haasi, and Varanus griseus.

AMR, Z., A. SHEHAB & M. ABU BAKER (2007): Recent observations on the herpetofauna of Syria with notes on trade in reptiles -- HERPETOZOA 20 (1/2): 21 -26--

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Further localities for two species of amphibians [Hyla savigny, Triturus (O.) vittatus] and fourteen of reptiles [Blanus strauchi, Testudo graeca, Chelonia mydas, Mauremys caspica, Asaccus elisae, Cyrtopodion scaber, Laudakia stellio, Trapelus ruderatus, T. persicus, T pallidus, Eumeces schneideri, Ophisops elegans, Varanus griseus, Coluber (H.) nummifer] collected or observed in Syria are given with some notes. Emphasis on trade in reptiles in Syria revealed that at least five species are threatened due to excessive trade, including the Middle Eastern Spur-thighed Tortoise, Testudo graeca terrestris, the Striped-necked Turtle, Mauremys rivulata, the Mediterranean Chameleon, Chamaeleo chamaeleon, the Dabb, Uromastyx aegyptia, and two snakes; Natrix sp. and Coluber jugularis. KURZFASSUNG Es wird über weitere Fundorte von zwei Arten von Amphibien [Hyla savigny, Triturus (O.) vittatus] und vierzehn von Reptilien [Blanus strauchi, Testudo graeca, Chelonia mydas, Mauremys caspica, Asaccus elisae, Cyrtopodion scaber, Laudakia stellio, Trapelus ruderatus, T. persicus, T. pallidus, Eumeces schneideri, Ophisops elegans, Varanus griseus, Coluber (H.) nummifer] berichtet, die in Syrien gefangen oder beobachtet wurden. Zusätzlich werden Angaben über den Lebensraum am Fundort gemacht. Bei der Befassung mit dem Reptilienhandel in Syrien, stellten sich zumindest fünf Arten als durch uneingeschränkten Handel gefährdet heraus, nämlich die Syrische Landschildkröte Testudo graeca terrestris, die Kaspische Bachschildkröte Mauremys rivulata, das Europäische Chamäleon, Chamaeleo chamaeleon, die Ägyptische Dornschwanzagame Uromastyx aegyptia und zwei Schlangenarten, eine Wassernatter (Natrix sp.) und die Pfeilnatter Coluber jugularis.


Arnold, E.N. (1986): A Key and Annotated Check List to the Lizards and Amphisbaenian of Arabia -- Fauna Saudi Arabia 8: 385 - 435--

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A key and checklist is provided to the 96 species and six additional subspecies of lizards and two species of Amphisbaenians known to occur in and around Arabia

Cox, N.A., D. Mallon, P. Bowles, J. Els & M.F. Tognelli (compilers) (2012): THE CONSERVATION STATUS AND DISTRIBUTION OF REPTILES OF THE ARABIAN PENINSULA -- Cambridge, UK and Gland, Switzerland: IUCN, and Sharjah, UAE: Environment and Protected Areas Authority--

Disi, A.M. (2011): Review of the lizard fauna of Jordan (Reptilia: Sauria) -- Zoology in the Middle East, Supplementum 3, 2011: 89–102. --

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The lizard fauna of Jordan is very diverse and forms 55.5% of the terrestrial herpetofauna of the country. Lizard species of Arabian origin form the highest percentage (43%) of the lizards, followed by Saharo-Sindian (35%), Palaearctic (20%) and only 2% with Afrotropical affinities. 69.1% of the lizard species inhabit two ecozones: Badia (Eastern Desert); and Wadi Araba and Wadi Rum. The Badia may form the focal point for the evolution of certain Acanthodactylus species. Jordan forms the southernmost limit of the distribution of some Palaearctic species (i.e. Lacerta media, L. laevis, Pseudopus apodus) and they inhabit the Mediterranean ecozone. The presence of diverse habitats in Jordan allowed certain allopatric congeneric species of the genus Ptyodactylus to live in isolation from one another. Southern Jordan and Wadi Rum are part of the Levantine land bridge and act as a “biogeographical filter”. Most of the species found in Wadi Rum are of Arabian affinities and their distribution does not extend towards the west.

Disi, A.M. (1991): A Contribution to the Herpetofauna of Jordan 4. Lizards of Jordan -- Zoology in the Middle East 5: 25 - 35--

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Systematics, distribution and ecology of 4 lizards of Jordan were studied: Uromastyx aegyptius microlepis, Lacerta laevis kulzeri, Lacerta trilineata israelica and Chalcides guentheri. All these species are new for Jordan. A revised list of the lizards of Jordan is given as an appendix

Gemel, R., G. Gassner & S. Schweiger (2019): Katalog der Typen der Herpetologischen Sammlung des Naturhistorischen Museums Wien – 2018 -- Ann. Naturhist. Mus. Wien, B 121: 33–248--

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In this catalogue, all type specimens of amphibians and reptiles of the Herpetological Collection of the Natural History Museum Vienna are listed. The types are arranged systematically and listed in alphabetical order. The collection contains valuable historical material among which, those from the collection of Steindachner.

Haas, G. (1943): On a Collection of Reptiles from Palestine, Transjordan, and Sinai -- Copeia 1943(1): 10 - 15--


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The agamid lizard genera Agama and Stellio differ in thermal biology during early summer in Israel. Species of Agama (A. pallida, A. savignii, and A. sinaita) are small, live in hot desert habitats, and frequently use thermoregulatory behaviors that foster convective cooling. Individuals in local populations maintain body temperatures within a narrow range (within and among species), and body temperatures are only slightly higher than air and substrate temperatures. In contrast, Stellio stellio is of moderately large size, occupies cooler habitats, and frequently uses behaviors which tend to increase rates of heat gain. Body temperatures for Stellio are lower than those of Agama, but are more elevated above environmental temperatures. In two Stellio populations at high altitudes, body temperatures were extremely variable. In the laboratory, A. savignii was more tolerant of high temperatures than any of four populations of Stellio, but tolerance of low temperatures did not vary among any of these five populations. Differences in thermal biology between the two genera may influence their geographical distribution in Israel.

Leaché, A.D., Ph. Wagner, C.W. Linkem, W. Böhme, T.J. Papenfuss, R.A. Chong, B.R. Lavin, A.M. Bauer, S.V. Nielsen, E. Greenbaum, M.-O. Rödel, A. Schmitz, M. LeBreton, I. Ineich, L. Chirio, C. Ofori-Boateng, E.A. Eniangm, S. Baha El Din, ............. (2014): A hybrid phylogenetic–phylogenomic approach for species tree estimation in African Agama lizards with applications to biogeography, character evolution, and diversification -- Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 79 215–230--

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Africa is renowned for its biodiversity and endemicity, yet little is known about the factors shaping them across the continent. African Agama lizards (45 species) have a pan-continental distribution, making them an ideal model for investigating biogeography. Many species have evolved conspicuous sexually dimorphic traits, including extravagant breeding coloration in adult males, large adult male body sizes, and variability in social systems among colorful versus drab species. We present a comprehensive time-calibrated species tree for Agama, and their close relatives, using a hybrid phylogenetic–phylogenomic approach that combines traditional Sanger sequence data from five loci for 57 species (146 samples) with anchored phylogenomic data from 215 nuclear genes for 23 species. The Sanger data are analyzed using coalescent-based species tree inference using *BEAST, and the resulting posterior distribution of species trees is attenuated using the phylogenomic tree as a backbone constraint. The result is a time-calibrated species tree for Agama that includes 95% of all species, multiple samples for most species, strong support for the major clades, and strong support for most of the initial divergence events. Diversification within Agama began approximately 23 million years ago (Ma), and separate radiations in Southern, East, West, and Northern Africa have been diversifying for >10 Myr. A suite of traits (morphological, coloration, and sociality) are tightly correlated and show a strong signal of high morphological disparity within clades, whereby the subsequent evolution of convergent phenotypes has accompanied diversification into new biogeographic areas.

Saman R. Afrasiab, S.R., A.A. Al-Moussawi & H.D. Hadi (2018): ANNOTATED CHECKLIST OF REPTILIAN FAUNA OF BASRAH, SOUTH OF IRAQ -- Bull. Iraq nat. Hist. Mus. 15(1): 77-92 --

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Basrah province is situated at the extreme south of Iraq, it has an interesting reptile fauna (Squamata and Serpentes) and represents a land bridge between three different zoogeographical regions ( Oriental, Palaearctic and Ethiopian). This situation gave Basrah province a topographic specific opportunity for raising its own faunal diversity including reptiles; in this study Basrah province was divided into four main zones: the cities and orchards, marshes and wetlands (sabkha), the true dessert, the seashore and Shat Al-Arab. Forty nine reptile species were recorded including snakes, sea and fresh water turtles, and Lizards; brief notes and descriptions for the rare and important species were provided and supported by Plates.

Seifan, M., Y. Zohar & Y.L. Werner (2016): Reptile distribution may identify terrestrial islands for conservation: the Levant’s ‘Arava Valley as a model -- JOURNAL OF NATURAL HISTORY, 2016 19 pp. + 17 pp suppl.--

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Widely accepted major criteria for biodiversity hotspots that deserve conservation include species richness, endemism and threat. Proving that a taxon is endemic to a given area is more diffcult, and therefore expensive, with animals than with plants because of the diffculty to prove absence outside the known distribution. Seeking a cost-eficient practical method to show animal endemism while funds necessary for conventional demonstration of endemism are lacking, we argued that when the known distribution of a suspected endemic taxon coincides with an ecogeographically isolated area, e.g. island, its exclusivity to that area is more credible. We selected a model site containing suspected endemics, the ‘Arava depression (altitude - 400–0 m) between arid southern Israel and southern Jordan. A search of the literature and collections found at least 23 animal taxa endemic to the ‘Arava, to the adjacent Dead Sea basin sharing the depression, or to both. We assessed the level of isolation of the ‘Arava depression by statistically analysing the geographical distribution of taxa (species or subspecies) of one selected well researched model group, Squamata (lizards and snakes). In northern Israel and Jordan the squamate faunas of the two countries are very similar. In contrast in the south where the ‘Arava intervenes, the two faunas greatly differ. The ‘Arava both constitutes a partial barrier and is partly isolated. Hence its apparent endemics are likely real endemics, inviting conservation of the area. The more so since the ‘Arava is also an arena of much research and education. Our methodology may serve worldwide to identify semi-isolated terrestrial areas for conservation.

SINDACO, R. - N. FEDRIGHINI & A. VENCHI (1995): Contribution to the herpetology of Jordan -- Boll. Mus. reg. Sci. nat. Torino 13(2): 389 - 405--

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The authors report the data collected in two herpetological surveys during summer 1990 and spring 1994; moreover Jordan specimens conserved in the herpetological collections of the "Dipartimento di Biologia Animale dell'Universita di Torino" and of "Museo di Zoologia dell'Universita La Sapienza" (Rome) are examined. Coluber sinai is reported for the first time in Jordan and, together with Ablepharus kitaibelii, is added to the Arabian fauna. New localities are provided for Bunopus tuberculatus, Tenuidactylus scaber, Pristurus rupestris, Ablepharus kitaibelii, Acanthodactylus opheodurus, all of them previously known in Jordan from very few localities. Some specimens are depicted in colour photographs.

Sindaco, R., R. Nincheri & B. Lanza (2014): Catalogue of Arabian reptiles in the collections of the “La Specola” Museum, Florence -- Scripta Herpetologica. Studies on Amphibians and Reptiles in honour of Benedetto Lanza: 137-164--

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A catalogue of the Arabian reptiles in the collection of “La Specola” Museum in Florence is presented. The collection includes more than 1000 specimens, belonging to 83 taxa (species and subspecies), 43 genera and 13 families.

Wagner, P. & W. Böhme (2007): A new species of the genus Trapelus Cuvier, 1816 (Squamata: Agamidae) from arid central Africa -- Bonner zoologische Beiträge 55 (2006)(2): 81–87--

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The Saharo-Sindian genus Trapelus contains 14 species, four of which occur in northern Africa. One of these taxa, Trapelus mutabilis, has a very widespread distribution from West to East Africa along the northern Saharan border. It has been identified as a species complex that includes several cryptic taxa. Together with a key of the so far described African species of the genus, the description of the first of these cryptic taxa is presented here.

WAGNER, P., J. MELVILLE, T.M. WILMS & A. SCHMITZ (2011): Opening a box of cryptic taxa – the first review of the North African desert lizards in the Trapelus mutabilis Merrem, 1820 complex (Squamata: Agamidae) with descriptions of new taxa -- Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 163: 884–912--

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We present a review of the morphology and current taxonomy of North African Trapelus species. The Saharo-Sindian agamid genus contains 15 species, of which five occur in northern Africa. The taxonomy of this complex group continues to provide difficulties for taxonomists because of a lack of consistent morphologically diagnostic characters and relatively high intraspecific morphological variation. In particular, the widespread species Trapelus mutabilis, which occurs from Egypt in the east to Mauritania in the west, has been identified as a species complex and probably represents an artificial grouping of unrelated taxa. This taxonomic uncertainty is exacerbated because a type specimen for T. mutabilis was never designated. In our taxonomic review, we designate a neotype for T. mutabilis, allowing a review of the northern African species, the description of two new taxa, and the compilation of a comprehensive identification key. We present a multivariate analysis of morphology within T. mutabilis and, in addition, we present a molecular phylogenetic analysis incorporating a ~500-bp region of the mitochondrial 16S ribosomal RNA gene, and a relaxed molecular clock analysis to estimate the ages of clades within Trapelus. Our results demonstrate that these lineages have a deep and complex biogeographical history.

Werner, F. (1929): Beiträge zur Kenntnis der Fauna von Syrien und Persien. -- Zool. Anzeiger 81(7/10): 238 - 245--

Werner, Y.L. (1971): LIZARDS AND SNAKES FROM TRANSJORDAN, RECENTLY ACQUIRED BY THE BRITISH MUSEUM (NATURAL HISTORY) -- Bull. Brit. Mus. (nat. hist.) Zool. 21(6): 213 - 256 + 6 plates--

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A report on 45 lizards and snakes, representing 23 species and subspecies, collected in northern and southwestern Transjordan, mostly during 1963-1965. Taxonomic characters are presented, and compared with data from adjacent areas, mainly Cisjordan. Relevant Transjordanian specimens in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem are also considered, and some identifications are revised. Field observations are cited. Agama pallida haasi ssp. nov. is described (type: BM 1965.800; 18 paratypes in BM, HUJ, FMNH). The only additions, on the species level, to the TransJordanian fauna, are Coluber rhodorhachis Jan and Malpolon moilensis Reuss. The ecological and phytogeographical subdivision of Transjordan into Mediterranean, Irano-Turanian, and Saharo-Sindian territories is reviewed. The distribution of reptiles appears to accord with this subdivision. The difference between the herpetofaunas of Trans- and Cisjordan, on the specific and subspecific levels, is greater in the south than in the north. Notably 7 Irano-Turanian and Saharo-Sindian forms of Transjordan do not occur in Cisjordan. It is suggested that the Wadi 'Arava together with the steep mountains bordering it on the east, may constitute a barrier to the distribution of reptiles.

Werner, Y.L. (1988): Herpetofaunal survey of Israel (1950-85), with comments on Sinai and Jordan and on zoogeographical heterogeneity -- In: Zoogeography of Israel, Ed. Y. Yom-Tov and E. Tchernov, Monographiae Biologicae, 62. W. Junk, Dordrecht. pp. 355-388.--

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Methodical collecting, with mapping, has amassed over 30,000 specimens of amphibians and reptiles from Israel (with the Golan plateau and part of Mt. Hermon) at Tel Aviv University and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Included are at least 102 species and subspecies: seven amphibians, six marine turtles and 89 land and freshwater reptiles. Taxa described or discovered in Israel since 1950 (review by Haas) comprise 14 desert forms, six Mt. Hermon forms (including the endemic Cyrtodactytus amictopholis Hoofien, 1967), one mesic snake and two marine turtles. A few reptiles once reported from Israel have disappeared, including the Nile crocodile; probably also Discoglossus nigriventer Mendelssohn and Steinitz, 1943. A few others are seriously endangered. Sinai harbours seven additional species. Some comments are also made on the fauna of Jordan. Zoogeographically the Israeli herpetofauna is heterogeneous, showing at least 12 distribution patterns, but most forms are Mediterranean (sensu stricto) or Saharo-Arabian.

Wettstein, O. (1928): Amphibien und Reptilien aus Palästina und Syrien -- Sitzber. Akad. Wiss. Wien. Math. Nat. Klasse I. 137: 773 - 785--