Any of various small, long-tailed, insect-eating lizards of the genus Agama. The agamid genus is comprised of at least 31 species across Africa.
One of the best known species is the red-headed rock
agama (Agama agama), widespread in sub-Saharan
Africa. Its original habitat is the
savanna, but today it also lives within villages and
towns. These agamas form groups of ten to twenty. The
"leader" is an old male, while females and young males
constitute the other members of the group. The colour is
dark brown at night, but after dawn the colours of the
dominant male will change: the body becomes light blue, head
and tail bright orange. These colours may change again
depending on the dominant male's mood. For instance, if male
agamas fight, their heads will turn brown, and white spots
appear on their body. Fights take place when a foreign agama
male appears. It will try to dispute the leadership of the
dominant male. When fighting, agamas hiss and attempt to hit
each other's head with their tail. These strokes may be very
violent and often result in haematomas or fractured jaws.
The females in the group are entirely brown. Often there is a highest-ranking female that remains in proximity to the leading male and struggles to repel other females.
The following species are classified within the genus Agama:
- Agama aculeata
Agama agama (agama lizard)
- Agama caudospinosa
Manthey and Schuster. 1996. Agamid Lizards. T.F.H Publications Inc. U.S.A.