Algerian Leopard Uromastyx (U. acanthinurus acanthinurus)

Algerian Leopard Uromastyx Male Algerian Leopard Uromastyx Female

 

The Algerian Leopard Uromastyx arrived in North America for the first time in late 2005. They were marketed to us as "Blue  Moroccans", and while technically the same species as Moroccans, (acanthinurus),  they are a distinctly different subspecies found primarily in Algeria. The difference was easily spotted, so we purchased all the healthy individuals that came in during this first importation (approx. 30 specimens) just encase these proved to be a one-shot importation. As of 2010, only one other importation has occurred and very few of these ended up in  breeding situations.

Little is recorded concerning this subspecies as they never really seem to have made it into herpetoculture before. Algeria is not the most accessible/ safe area for reptile collecting/exporting so that no doubt has inhibited their collection. Adult size is comparable to the Mali and Moroccan Uromastyx (around 15" average for males, 12" total length for females but the data is limited at this point). Adult  coloration of  adult males is predominantly an interesting shade of black (it occasionally has a tindal-factor in that it refracts light to give the false impression of a  teal-blue pigment to some of the scales).  Scattered through this black background are either yellow or white polka dots, yielding somewhat of a reverse-leopard look. The females are somewhat similar to Mali females in coloration  except that the center of the back develops a more tangerine-orange tint overlaying a pale yellow-tan background. Scattered over this are black spots in either a freckle pattern or broken ocellations, again giving a faint impression of a leopard in the brighter specimens. 

Algerian Leopard Male - (yellow spotted) Algerian Leopard Adolescent Male - (white spotted)

 

Algerian Leopard Juvenile Algerian Leopard Yearling Male

1st  N American captive born Algerian Leopard hatchling (7-2008) Hatchling Algerian (Lt)  vs  Moroccan (Rt)

 

Adolescent males are an interesting pastel gray with charcoal ocellations while immature females seem to be duller versions of the adult females. Overall, the patterns seem slightly more uniform than those in Mali's, but again the sample size is too small to make any broad conclusions. One interesting note about this first group is that a large percentage of the individuals have a broken stripe running down the center of the back (see photo of the "Yearling Male" above). This may just be a trait of the specimens from this one local but does add an interesting change to the overall pattern. An easy characteristic to use to separate out immature specimens from similar looking  Mali or Moroccan juveniles is to count tail whorls.  Algerians have an average of 18 distinct tail whorls while both Mali's and Moroccans have 19+ (usually at least 20). We have noticed that to date, all our captive born Algerians have at least a partial stripe down the back of the neck while over 80% have a broken stripe down the entire center of the back.    

The temperament of the few individuals that came in is somewhat unique, being generally calmer than the average freshly imported Mali and with none exhibiting the more typical aggressive tendencies shown by many wild collected Moroccans. Adult pairs have seemed reasonably compatible however the hatchlings have proven quite aggressive to each other, making them problematic to rear. Algerians also uniformly have a great fondness for softened Mazuri tortoise pellets. So far they and Banded and Egyptian Uros share this trait. Most other Uromastyx seem to be more indifferent toward Mazuri pellets, including their close relative the Moroccans. 

While we successfully bred this species in 2008 and 2009, several unfortunate events caused us to loose most of our specimens in late 2009. At present we no longer have any Algerian Uromastyx. We hope to work with them again but availability is pretty grim at this point. 

 

 

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Copyright 1992-2012 by  Douglas Dix. All rights reserved for all photos and text