Arabian Blue Uromastyx (U. philbyi )


Arabian Blue Uromastyx  are the most recent species of Uromastyx to make it into North American Herpetology. A small number arrived for the first time in 2007 but very few made it into breeding situations and to date only one person has successfully hatched and successfully reared a clutch (Tom Greb).  Since then two more moderately sized groups have made it into the the U.S.,  the latest one being early winter 2012.  CITES has been considering listing these along with the Ornate Uromastyx as CITES I and thus this may be one of the last if not the last importation we will see of this very attractive species. With that in mind it is VERY important that we attempt to get this species established while we have the opportunity.

They are taxonomically considered closely related to or even a sympatric species with the Ornate Uromastyx (U. ornata), but in reality they look more like a relic progenitor species linking the Rainbow Uromastyx (U, yemenensis) and the Somali Uromastyx (U. mcfadyeni) and possibly even the Royal Uromastyx (U. princeps).  The overall body design is typical Ornata group being almost identical to the Sudanese and Somali. The coloration and back ocellations however are typical of the Benti group while in some individuals the tail is distinctly wider with noticeably longer spines, looking suspiciously like a cross between the Somali and the Royal Uromastyx.  As hatchlings Arabian Blues are nearly identical to hatchling Rainbows with the exception of  lacking the flat-topped tail. They differ from Somali's primarily in the layout and shape of the back spots.  With the exception of those two species, Arabian Blues are easy to distinguish from all other Uromastyx at any age.  Like the Somali and Sudanese Ocellated, they are a dwarf Uromastyx species, topping out at around 10" total length.  Unlike the other dwarfs though, it does not appear that the females average larger in size or are more aggressive than the males. This opinion may change as we (or should I say "if "we) see more individuals over time.  Oddly their sexual dimorphism pattern follows the path of the Rainbow and Ornate rather than the Sudanese or Somali, with most female's colors being much more subdued relative to the males.  Mature males have blue to teal colored heads, sides and tails with a moderate sized patch of medium orange covering the back. Overlaid on this are large round to oblong dull cream spots often outlined in thin charcoal.  Most females and juveniles lack the blue pigments except for traces along the edges of the tail and sides.  The orange is also often completely lacking or only subtly present.  Like the Rainbow and Sudanese (and unlike the Ornate and Somali) they seem to lack any trace of yellow pigmentation. Of all the Uromastyx species we have worked with, this one is by far the closest to a "platypus" species,  exhibiting traits bridging the most number of other Uromastyx species.  Their temperament is generally calm, much more so than the Sudanese, being more along the lines of the Somali. Their care seems identical to the other dwarf species with no specific quirks having shown themselves so far. They seem to have fewer mate incompatibility issues relative to the Sudanese but seem to have the same tendency towards egg retention and egg binding issues as with the Somali.

We set up a few pair in 2010 when they first arrived in the U.S and managed to get at least infertile eggs in 2011. We have since added several more pairs to our group so with a little luck hope to have our first clutches soon.  I've posted photos below of  a few individuals we've worked with.  We will have a few adolescent to young individuals for sale in 2012 with preference given to those who wish to try to breed them.  While they seem to be a reasonably hardy species, some experience working with Uromastyx is a good idea before attempting to work with these guys.  Numbers are VERY limited so please e-mail or call us if you're looking for some.  We keep a "Wanted" list and fill it as specimens become available. 


 Arabian males Arabian female 
Arabian  males Arabian female


Gravid female in 2010  Ornate vs Arabian hathclings 
A 2010 Gravid female Ornate (bottom)  vs Arabian hatchlings

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