Saturday, May 4, 2013

Agama Lizard

Recently after returning from a birding expedition on the mine with Grant, he stopped at our gate for me to photograph an Agama Lizard sunning itself on the fence post. When I downloaded the photos, I was rather pleased with the bokeh effect I'd achieved on the image.

All images above: male Agama Lizard

An agama is any one of the various small, long-tailed, insect-eating lizards of the genus Agama. The agamid genus is composed of at least 37 species across Africa where they are the most common lizard. They can be found in many sizes, from 12.5 to 30 cm (5 in. to 1 ft.) in length and a wide variety of colours. One of the best known species is the Agama agama widespread in sub-Saharan Africa

Agamas originally lived in forest and bush across Africa, but have since adapted to live in villages and compounds where their habitat has been cleared. They live inside the thatch of huts and other small spaces, emerging only to feed. If caught out in the open, agamas are able to run quickly on their hind legs to reach shelter. The desert agama can still be found in the dry areas of North Africa. Despite their name, they avoid bare sand.

Agamas are active during the day and are often found scampering around to snatch up their favorite foods. They can tolerate greater temperatures than most reptiles, but in the afternoon when temperatures reach around 38°C (100°F) they will settle into the shade and wait for it to cool. Frequent fighting breaks out between males; such fighting involves a lot of bobbing and weaving in an attempt to scare the opponent. If it comes to blows, they lash out with their tails and threaten each other with open jaws. Many older males have broken tails as a result of such fights. Females may sometimes chase and fight one another, while hatch-lings mimic the adults in preparation for their future.

Agamas are mainly insectivores. Their incisor-like front teeth are designed for quick cutting and chewing of their prey. They may also eat grass, berries, seeds and even the eggs of smaller lizards.

 Three male Agamas and two females sunning themselves on a rock on the mine. I took this photo a few hours before the ones of the individual male. Even though it is breeding season now (March to May) there didn't seem to be any animosity between these males

Most agamas are polygamous. Males may hold six or more females in their territory for breeding. During courtship, the male bobs his head to impress the female. Occasionally, females initiate courtship by offering their hindquarters to the male and then running until he is able to catch up. The breeding season is typically March-May with eggs being laid in June-September during the season after the rains. Eggs are laid in clutches of up to twelve.

I trust you're all having a wonderful weekend.


  1. It is an unusual pink colour for a lizard. I like the way the female eggs him on and then runs.

  2. The bokeh is nice too, caused by shallow depth of field, a wide aperture, fast speed and zoom.

  3. Cute lizard! At first I thought it was only one and then I saw the group. Very cool! Have a great day, Jo!

  4. Wonderful colors. Looks like that one female is getting rather amorous.

  5. Beautiful little guys. They must be kept busy having so many girlfriends

  6. This is such an interesting lizard--pink upper body and blue or gray on the lower body. The males have quite the harems!


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