Varanus griseus 

For Information regarding Varanus caspius in the Middle East & Arabia, please see this page : Varanus griseus 

Desert monitor

TAXONOMY: This species was elevated from subspecies level (Varanus griseus griseus) on Morphological and genetic grounds, alongside chorological distribution patterns in parapatric speciation with Varanus nesterovi and Varanus caspius (Böhme et al 2023).

DISTRIBUTIONAlgeria, Egypt, Israel, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria,  Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen (see Auliya & Koch 2020)

RED LIST STATUS: Least Concern (LC) in 2016

CITES: Appendix I


THREATS: General. – Increase and intensification of agriculture and livestock farming,  trade for varying purposes (medicine, decor, food, pets, leather), urbanization.

Morocco: Roadkills have been reported on a regular basis. Water cisterns used by the locals for water storage act as large pitfall traps, resulting in the deaths of many desert monitors.

RESEARCH NEEDS: General. – Assess the impact of the varying threats on local populations; a socio-economic study resulting in awareness programs; reassess the taxonomic status of this species-complex.

Morocco: Field research on the population and conservation status of Morrocan populations are long overdue.



  • Böhme, Wolfgang & Ahmed, Soran & Al-Sheikhly, Omar & Ararat, Korsh & Auer, Markus & Khudur, Farhad & Langner, Christian. (2023). DESERT MONITOR LIZARDS (SQUAMATA: VARANIDAE: Varanus: Psammosaurus) FROM THE MIDDLE EAST: FURTHER RECORDS OF NESTEROV’S DESERT MONITOR, Varanus (P.) nesterovi BÖHME, EHRLICH, MILTO, ORLOV ET SCHOLZ, 2015, FROM IRAQ, AND ADJACENT LOCALITIES OF Varanus (P.) g. griseus (DAUDIN, 1803) AND Varanus (P.) g. caspius (EICHWALD, 1831), WITH COMMENTS ON BIOGEOGRAPHY AND TAXONOMY. Russian Journal of Herpetology. Vol. 30. 518 – 528. 10.30906/1026-2296-2023-30-6-518-528.

HERE: IMAGE of the SPECIES, with name of photographer]