First evidence of scavenging behaviour in the herbivorous lizard Uromastyx aegyptia microlepis

A. M. Castilla, R. Richer, A. Herrel, A. A.T. Conkey, J. Tribuna, M. Al-Thani

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8 Citations (Scopus)


In this study, we provide the first evidence of scavenging behaviour in the spiny-tailed agamid lizard (Uromastyx aegyptia microlepis), a species which heretofore has been considered a strict desert herbivore. We examined 294 faecal samples collected in the desert of Qatar and found that 84% of the faeces (n = 247) contained exclusively plant material. Grains of barley (Hordeum vulgare) were present, suggesting that Uromastyx can benefit from the food provided to livestock when wild plants are scarce. We also found remains of invertebrates, vertebrates and stones in the lizard faeces. The type of vertebrate remains found suggests scavenging behaviour and some flexibility in feeding behaviour where food resources are scarce. Overgrazing by camels and goats in the area may affect food availability for Uromastyx populations, suggesting the need for conservation measurements in the Qatar desert.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)671-673
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Arid Environments
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2011



  • Conservation
  • Desert
  • Dhub
  • Overgrazing
  • Qatar

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Earth-Surface Processes

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