Ebony Uromastyx (U. alfredschmidti)

Ebony Uromastyx Male Ebony Uromastyx Female

 

Pure Ebony Uromastyx are currently the rarest species in herpetoculture.  A few pairs were imported into the Unites States during the summer of 2004 within a small group of Banded Uromastyx.  Many of the individuals in the group appeared to be intergrades with the Banded Uromastyx and none of the group may prove out to be pure U. alfredschmidti, but at least 3 pair appear to have been high percentage if not pure U. alfredschmidti.  Several breeders pulled the most likely Ebony's from the group and set them up for breeding.  Deb Wolfram produced several clutches over the next couple years from what she believed were actually melanistic Bandeds rather than Ebony's, but to date no one else has hatched anything from that group.  Ours did well in all respects except breeding.  We eventually let our group go to a hopeful breeder in Japan in 2008 and will probably not work with that species again if only due to space limitations and other priorities.  

Little is known of the species since before now, none have been kept in captivity.  Adult size is comparable to the Mali Uromastyx.  Adult  coloration of  adult males is solid black including the belly.  Females start out similar to an extremely darkly pigmented  Mali female but also go predominately if not solidly black. The temperament of the few individuals that came in seem to be very similar to the Banded Uros.  Slightly skittish at first and slightly more aggressive than a Mali but less so than the average Moroccan - at least towards humans.  This distinguishes them from the very few near-solid black Mali's (at least they were assumed to be Mali's at the time) that have come into the U.S. during teh early 1990's. Those have without exception had extremely aggressive temperaments and all died within a few months of entering captivity despite being in good initial conditoin. The near-solid black Mali females that came in at the same time as the black males were also characterized by being excessively aggressive but proved to be somewhat longer-lived.  The current Ebony females look much closer to a Banded female in physical structure and temperament and clearly are not Mali's.  Differences in the number of tail whorls is one means of separating the two groups (dispar species - (Bandeds, Mali's), and Ebony's.  The whorl counts of these newly imported Ebony's was right on the dividing line - the extreme high end for dispar and the lower end for alfredschmidti (21 whorls).   Odds are these individuals are part of a remnant population from when the parent species from which alfredschmidti and dispar emerged was split into reproductively isolated populations. 

While calm towards humans, they are one of the more aggressive species towards each other -even as hatchlings. Deb's hatchlings were so aggressive as to all need almost immediate separation into individual tanks.  Our adults paired fairly well but never seemed to "click" like our other species do.  A few adult pairs are still floating around and some of Deb's stock is probably still in country.  However I feel the offspring of that importation are not destined to successfully establish  Ebony's in captivity - if indeed any were ever truly pure U. alfredschimdti.     

 

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