Current Population Status of Diurnal Lizards of Karachi, Pakistan

M. Zaheer Khan, Nazia Mahmood


Five districts of Karachi (East, West, South, Central and Malir) contain resident populations of lizards. During the present studies the current status of diurnal lizards of Karachi was investigated. The faunistic studies were based on seven species from three districts East, South and Malir of Karachi. 182 lizards were captured belonging to seven species, six genera and four families; Agamidae, Scincidae, Lacertidae and Varanidae. Among the 182 captured lizards were 56 Indian Garden Lizards, Calotes versicolor; 20 Indian Spiny-tailed Lizards, Uromastyx hardwickii; 72 Bronze Grass Skinks, Mabuya macularia; 8 Striped Grass Skinks, Mabuya dissimilis; 15 Indian Fringe-toad Sand Lizards, Acanthodactylus cantoris; 10 Long-tailed Desert Lacertas, Mesalina watsonana, and 1 Indian Monitor Varanus bengalensis. The results of the present study indicate that the current status of diurnal lizards, i.e., Indian Garden Lizard (Calotes versicolor), Bronze Grass Skink (Mabuya macularia), Striped Grass Skink (Mabuya dissimilis), Indian Fringe-toad sand Lizard (Acanthodactylus cantoris), and Long-tailed Desert Lacerta (Mesalina watsonana) are common in three selected districts of Karachi, while the Indian Spiny-tailed Lizard (Uromastyx hardwickii) and Indian Monitor lizard (Varanus bengalensis) have been recorded as threatened species. Uromastyx hardwickii is an endangered species and is already included in the IUCN Red List and CITES Appendix. Internationally, 25% of reptiles are listed as threatened (IUCN, 2002). In Pakistan some lizard species are threatened. Present studies also recorded Uromastyx hardwickii and Varanus bengalensis as threatened species in the three districts of Karachi. The Brilliant Agama (Trapelus agilis isolepis) was not found in the three districts of Karachi. Either it is threatened or has gone extinct or has been shifted to other habitats due to destruction of habitat and increase of human population.


current status; diurnal lizards; Karachi; Pakistan; Calotes versicolor; Uromastyx hardwickii; Mabuya macularia; Mabuya dissimilis; Acanthodactylus cantoris cantoris; Mesalina watsonana; Varanus bengalensis

Full Text:



Auffenberg W. and Rehman H. (1991), «Studies on Pakistan reptiles Pt. 1. The genus Echis (Viperidae)», Bull. Florida Mus. Nat. Hist. Biol. Ser., 35, 263 – 314.

Blaustein A. R., Wake D. B., and Sousa W. P. (1994b), «Amphibian declines: judging stability, persistence, and susceptibility of populations to local and global extinctions», Conserv. Biol., 8, 60 – 71.

Branch B. (1998), Field Guide of Snakes and Other Reptiles, Struik.

Fatima F. (2002), Bioecology of Calotes versicolor with Special Reference to Induced Effect of Pyrethroid and Organophosphate. M. Phil. Thesis, Dept. of Zoology, Univ. of Karachi.

Ghalib S. A., Rahman H., Iffat F., and Hasnain S. (1976), «A checklist of the reptiles of Pakistan», Rec. Zool. Surv. Pakistan, VIII(1 – 2), 37 – 59.

IUCN (2002), 2002 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, IUCN, Gland, Switzerland.

Khan M. R. and Khan M. S. (2000), «Checklist and key to the scincid lizards of Punjab, Pakistan», Pakistan J. Zool., 32(2), 103 – 109.

Khan M. S. (1972), «Checklist and key to lizard of Jhang District, West Pakistan», Herpetologica, 28, 94 – 98.

Khan M. S. (1980), «Affinities and zoogeography of herpetiles of Pakistan», Biologia (Lahore), 26, 113 – 171.

Khan M. S. (1987), «Checklist, distribution and zoogeographical afftinities of amphibian and reptiles of Balochistan», Proc. Pakistan Congr. Zool., 7, 105 – 112.

Khan M. S. (1991), «Amphibians, lizards, turtles and snakes», in: Wildlife of Pakistan, Urdu Science Board, pp. 61 – 124 [in Urdu].

Khan M. (1997), Diurnal Lizards of Karachi University Campus and Malir Karachi. M. Sc. Thesis, Dept. of Zoology, Univ. of Karachi.

Khan M. S. (1999), «Herpetology of habitat types of Pakistan», Pakistan J. Zool., 31(3), 275 – 289.

Khan M. S. and Mirza M. R. (1976), «An annotated checklist and key to the Reptiles of Pakistan. Part I. Chelonia and Loricata», Biologica, 22(2), 211 – 219.

Khan M. S. and Mirza M. R. (1977), An annotated checklist and key to the reptiles of Pakistan. Part II. Sauria (Lacertilia)», Biologica, 23, 41 – 64.

Khan M. Z. (2002), «Comparison of induced effect of pyrethroid (permethrin) with phytopesticide (Biosal) on cholinesterase activity against lizard Calotes versicolor (Agamidae)», J. Nat. Hist. Wildlife, 1, 15 – 20.

Khan M. Z. and Fatima F. (2002), «Comparison of induced effect of pyrethroid (Cypermethrin) with organophosphate (Malathion) on GOT and GPT in liver, kidney and brain of Calotes versicolor Daudin (Agamidae, Reptilia)», Online J. Biol. Sci., 2(6), 408 – 410.

Khan M. Z., Naqvi S. N. H., Khan M. F., Tabassum R., Ahmad I. and Fatima F. (2002), «Induced effect of Biosal on GOT and GPT in wildlife species of Agama Lizard Calotes versicolor», Pakistan J. Biol. Sci., 4(6), 611 – 612.

Khan M. Z., Naqvi S. N. H., Khan M. F., Tabassum R. Ahmad I., Fatima F., and Tariq R. M. (2003), «Determination of induced effect of phytopesticide biosal (neem based formulation) on cholinesterase activity and protein contents in kidney and liver of Calotes versicolor Daudin», J. Exp. Zool. India, 6(1), 175 – 179.

Mertens R. (1969), «Die Amphibien and Reptilen West Pakistan», Stuttg. Beitr. Naturk., 216, 1 – 5.

Pechmann J. H. K., Scott D. E., Semlitsch R. D., Caldwell J. P., Vitt L. J., and Gibbons J. W. (1991), «Declining amphibian populations, the problem of separating human impact from natural fluctuations», Science, 253, 892 – 895.

Rahman H. and Iffat F. (1997), «A revised checklist of reptiles of Pakistan», Rec. Zool. Surv. Pakistan, XIII, 1 – 17.

Rahman H., Ahmed S. I., and Fakhri S. (2002), Home range and growth rate of Fringe-toed sand lizard (Acanthodactylus cantoris cantoris) at Hawksbay area Karachi», Rec. Zool. Surv. Pakistan, XIV, 49 – 54.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

You can subscribe to the print or electronic version of the journal on the site of EastView Company. If you have any questions, please write to the email