Ichnotropis capensis

Ichnotropis capensis

Ichnotropis capensis

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Ichnotropis capensis

Ichnotropis capensis is a species of African lizard, which is native to the southern Afrotropics. It is the type species for the genus Ichnotropis, and is commonly called the Cape rough-scaled lizard due to them being found in southern Africa's Cape region. They are also called ornate rough-scaled lizard or Smith's rough-scaled sand lizard. The small lizards are terrestrial and occur in grassland, desert and brush areas of southern Africa.


I. capensis are medium-sized lizards with slender bodies, long tails, and well developed legs. Most of the specimens found are less than 76 mm long in snout–to-vent length (SVL) and share the general characteristics of its genus, including the following:

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  • Keeled or overlapping dorsal scales are present, and the head shields are smooth to slightly rough
  • Subocular scales border the lip, and no collar is present
  • Smooth or tubular lamellae are present under the toes, but the toes lack a serrated or fringed edge
  • The cylindrical tail lacks a lateral fringe

I. capensis is notably distinct from the genus in that the hind legs do not reach the underarm of the forelimbs. Adults have uniform grey and yellowish brown backs with white lateral stripes that may be bordered with dark black spots. The juvenile has a pale grey and brown back with white lateral stripes.

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It occurs in semi-arid shrub savannas of Africa, where they seek shelter in soft soiled burrows, under rocks and brush. The species has been reported from South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Zambia.

Habits and Lifestyle

These lizards are insectivorous and feed on termites and other small insects. They are active hunters during the day and many specimens have been found around termite mounds.

Mating Habits

Along with other Ichnotropis, this lizard species is semelparous, with little overlap of adult and juveniles life stages. Life expectancy is 13 to 14 months, and mating occurs in the spring with hatchlings appearing in late summer from October to December. Females make an inclining burrow in soft soil 100 to 200 mm long and lay 3-9 eggs (6.5 mm x 9.5 mm). The females may have up to two clutches in their lifetime.


1. Ichnotropis capensis Wikipedia article - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ichnotropis_capensis

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