Iberian Peninsula, North Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, the Middle East (including Cyprus) and north to NW India. 


Acanthodactylus WIEGMANN, 1834

Species (46):

Acanthodactylus aegyptius  BAHA El DIN, 2007

Acanthodactylus arabicus  BOULENGER, 1918

Acanthodactylus aureus  GÜNTHER, 1903

Acanthodactylus bedriagai  LATASTE, 1881

Acanthodactylus beershebensis  MORAVEC et al., 1999

Acanthodactylus blanci  DOUMERGUE, 1901

Acanthodactylus blanfordii  BOULENGER, 1918

Acanthodactylus boskianus  (DAUDIN, 1802)

Acanthodactylus boueti  CHABANAUD, 1917

Acanthodactylus busacki  SALVADOR, 1982

Acanthodactylus cantoris  GÜNTHER, 1864

Acanthodactylus dumerili  (MILNE-EDWARDS, 1829)

Acanthodactylus erythrurus  (SCHINZ, 1833)

Acanthodactylus felicis  ARNOLD, 1980

Acanthodactylus gongrorhynchatus  LEVITON & ANDERSON, 1967

Acanthodactylus grandis  BOULENGER, 1909

Acanthodactylus guineensis  (BOULENGER, 1887)

Acanthodactylus haasi  LEVITON & ANDERSON, 1967

Acanthodactylus hardyi  HAAS, 1957

Acanthodactylus harranensis  BARAN et al., 2005

Acanthodactylus ilgazi  KURNAZ & SAHIN, 2021

Acanthodactylus khamirensis  HEIDARI et al., 2013

Acanthodactylus lacrymae  MIRALLES et al., 2020

Acanthodactylus lineomaculatus  DUMÉRIL & BIBRON, 1839

Acanthodactylus longipes  BOULENGER, 1918

Acanthodactylus maculatus  (GRAY, 1838)

Acanthodactylus margaritae  TAMAR et al., 2017

Acanthodactylus masirae  ARNOLD, 1980

Acanthodactylus micropholis  BLANFORD, 1874

Acanthodactylus montanus  MIRALLES et al., 2020

Acanthodactylus nilsoni  RASTEGAR-POUYANI, 1998

Acanthodactylus opheodurus  ARNOLD, 1980

Acanthodactylus orientalis  ANGEL, 1936

Acanthodactylus pardalis  (LICHTENSTEIN, 1823)

Acanthodactylus robustus  WERNER, 1929

Acanthodactylus savignyi  (AUDOUIN, 1809)

Acanthodactylus schmidti  HAAS, 1957

Acanthodactylus schreiberi  BOULENGER, 1878

Acanthodactylus scutellatus  (AUDOUIN, 1809)

Acanthodactylus senegalensis  CHABANAUD, 1918

Acanthodactylus spinicauda  DOUMERGUE, 1901

Acanthodactylus taghitensis  GENIEZ & FOUCART, 1995

Acanthodactylus tilburyi  ARNOLD, 1986

Acanthodactylus tristrami  (GÜNTHER, 1864)

Acanthodactylus yemenicus  SALVADOR, 1982

Acanthodactylus zagrosicus  MOZAFFARI et al., 2021

Extinct (1):

Acanthodactylus ahmaddisii  WERNER, 2004

Species Typica:

Acanthodactylus boskianus  (DAUDIN, 1802)

Taxonomic notes:

Acanthodactylus is a taxonomically very difficult genus! SALVADOR tried to structure the genus in his revision (1982), and divided them into a total of 9 `groups`. In the case of the`pardalis-group` and `erythrurus-group` genetic studies are yet available (FONSECA et al. 2008, 2009). In both cases has been found that the genetic data do not match with the known species. Within the `pardalis-group` only samples from pardalis s. str., maculatus, mechriguensis and busacki were available. Nothing the less, the authors write `therefore we recommend referring to a ‘A. pardalis species complex’ until units can be defined more precisely`.

Within the `erythrurus-group` the following picture arised: There is a `erythrurus sensu stricto group`, which is clearly monophyletic and consists of the subspecies A. erythrurus (erythrurus, atlanticus and belli), A. lineomaculatus and A. blanci. Within this group the genetic data is again unconsistant to the taxa (everything is paraphyletic except A. blanci - but in the this case there were only two samples from a single location). A. savignyi has a very precarious position outside this clade, A. guineensis does not belong here at all, and A. boueti was not available. A. savignyi and A. guineensis are certainly good species, however, the relationships within the `erythrurus sensu stricto group` are unclear. Therefore, according to the authors `to resolve the taxonomy of these three species we suggest two alternative hypotheses: (i) all species are reduced to one with very high genetic variability and a wider distribution; or (ii) these species are merged and termed the `A. erythrurus species complex` pending further investigation. No solution is entirely satisfactory, but we suggest the latter`.

For the `scutellatus-group` in northwestern Africa there is a modern morphological revision, but the taxa from the eastern part of the area are missing.

We have decided to enlist the taxa which current status is still unclear, but to omit those (mechriguensis and ahmadisii) described without scientific basis.

Werner Mayer

Relevant taxonomic literature:

  • Wiegmann, A.F.A. (1834) -  Familia 1: Lacertidae -  Herpetologia mexicana, seu Descriptio amphibiorum Novae Hispaniae quae itineribus comitis De Sack, Ferdinandi Deppe et Chr. Guil. Schiede in Museum zoologicum Berolinense pervenerunt. Pars prima saurorum species amplectens, adjecto systematis saurorum prodromo, additisque multis in hunc amphibiorum ordinem observationibus. C. G. Luderitz, Berolini: 9-10.  

  • Salvador, A. (1982) -  A revision of the lizards of the genus Acanthodactylus (Sauria: Lacertidae). -  Bonner zoologische Monographien, Bonn, 16: 1-167.    

  • Arnold, E.N. (1983) -  Osteology, genitalia and the relationships of Acanthodactylus (Reptilia: Lacerrtidae). -  Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History), Zoology, 44 (5): 291-339.  

  • Harris, D.J. & Arnold, E.N. (2000) -  Elucidation of the relationships of spiny-footed lizards, Acanthodactylus spp. (Reptilia: Lacertidae) using mitochondrial DNA sequence, with comments on their biogeography and evolution. -  Journal of Zoology, London, 252 (3): 351-362.    

  • Tamar, K. & Carranza, S. & Sindaco, R. & Moravec, J. & Trape, J.-F. & Meiri, S. (2016) -  Out of Africa: Phylogeny and biogeography of the widespread genus Acanthodactylus (Reptilia: Lacertidae).  -  Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 103: 6-18.