Spiny-tailed Lizards of North Africa and the Middle East
have spiny tails used for defence and flat bodies with loose
skin which enable them to hide in narrow rock crevices. This Spiny-tailed
has 3 subspecies in 3 non-contiguous geographic regions: the
nominal Uromastyx dispar dispar (above left), U. d. flavifasciata
(above centre) and U. d. maliensis (above right).
The nominal Sudan Spiny-tailed (above) is native to sandy
deserts of some of Sudan and some of neighbouring Chad.
The Flavifasciata Spiny-tailed Lizard is native to desert of
western Sahara and southwestern Algeria. Some treat it as a
separate species: Uromastyx flavifasciata.
The Latin name "flavifasciata" means
"yellow-banded", referring to the 4-5 light-coloured bands
on the lizard's back (not always clearly visible) .
The Mali Spiny-tailed, as expected, is native to deserts of
Mali and also to southern Algeria and possibly part of
The larger male, whose back becomes yellow and patterned in
the breeding season, can grow to a length of 15 inches.
Adult spiny-tails are mainly herbivorous and can regulate
body temperature by turning darker (cold) or lighter (hot).