It feeds on small insects, particularly ants. Activity is entirely diurnal but tends to be more restricted to the early morning and late afternoon hours during summer and mid-day during winter.Can tolerate extreme desert conditions.
A moderately robust lizard. Adults have a SVL of up to 75 mm. Snout rather narrow, with 5 supralabials anterior to the eye, subocular isolated from lip. Dorsal scales small, granular or subimbricate, smooth or slightly keeled. Average number of dorsals and ventrals at mid-body is 69 (range 56-78) and 13.7 (range 12-15), respectively; average number of femoral pores 21.6 (18-24) (based on a sample of 30 Egyptian specimens). Dorsal side of tibia covered with granular scales. Toes with 4 rows of scales. All digits are fairly strongly fringed, with subdigital scales more or less unicarinate. Dorsal surfaces sandy, mottled with blackish spots or vermiculation in a uniform fashion. Venter white, but adult females usually acquire a bright salmon-red pigment on the ventral side of the tail during the breeding season. Tail blue in juveniles. Hemipenis with one lobe; clavula fiat, simple and 'U'-shaped in cross-section.
Almost throughout the whole country, except in mountainous parts of South Sinai and the Eastern Desert and cultivated lands of the Nile Valley. In the Western Desert distribution is somewhat patchy. The species has been recorded in all the major oases, and many of the smaller oases like Kurkur and Dungul. Capocaccia (1977) reported one example collected from the Gilf El Kebir Plateau, in 1969, and several specimens were collected by the author in Wadi Abd El Malek in 1997. A single specimen comes from Wadi Prince, Gebel Uweinat (locality in Libya close to Egyptian territory). In the Eastern Desert the species is known from a few wide wadis with sandy substrate (such as Wadi Araba), but in the central part it seems to be absent from large parts. It has been recorded in Wadi El Allaqi and Wadi El Gemal, on the maritime plain of the Gebel Elba region, and south into Sudan (Anderson 1898, Marx 1968, Baha El Din unpub. obs.). In Sinai it is confined to the northern part of the peninsula, but extends southward along the coastal plain of the Gulf of Suez.
Eastern North Africa from Mali and eastern Algeria to Egypt and Israel, south to Sudan.
Inhabits a variety of sandy biotope, such as sand plains, dunes, and sandy wadis, usually with modest vegetation cover, but sometimes in areas with very little vegetation. Often also found in areas of fairly hard gravelly substrates but usually in close proximity to more favored sandy habitat.