Ground agama (Agama aculeata) in Tanzania
Agamidae is a family of over 300 species of iguanian lizards indigenous to Africa, Asia, Australia, and a few in Southern Europe. Many species are commonly called dragons or dragon lizards.
Systematics and distribution :
Very few studies of the Agamidae have been conducted. The first comprehensive assessment was by Moody (1980) followed by a more inclusive assessment by Frost and Etheridge (1989). Subsequent studies were based on mitochondrial DNA loci by Macey et al. (2000) and Honda et al. (2000) and also by sampling across the Agamidae by Joger (1991). Few other studies focused on clades within the family, and the Agamidae have not been as well investigated as the Iguanidae.
The agamids show a curious distribution. They are found over much of the Old World, including continental Africa, Australia, southern Asia, and sparsely in warmer regions of Europe. They are, however, absent from Madagascar and the New World. The distribution is the opposite of that of the iguanids, which are found in just these areas but absent in areas where agamids are found. A similar faunal divide is found in between the boas and pythons.
Male Mwanza flat-headed rock agama(Agama mwanzae), in the Serengeti, Tanzania
Phylogenetically, they may be sister to the Iguanidae, and have a similar appearance. Agamids usually have well-developed, strong legs. Their tails cannot be shed and regenerated like those of geckos, though a certain amount of regeneration is observed in some. Many agamid species are capable of limited change of their colours to regulate their body temperature. In some species, males are more brightly coloured than females, and colours play a part in signaling and reproductive behaviours. Although agamids generally inhabit warm environments, ranging from hot deserts to tropical rainforests, at least one species, the mountain dragon, is found in cooler regions.
This group of lizards includes some more popularly known, such as the domesticated bearded dragon, Chinese water dragon and Uromastyx species.
One of the key distinguishing features of the agamids is their teeth, which are borne on the outer rim of their mouths (acrodonts), rather than on the inner side of their jaws (pleurodonts). This feature is shared with the chameleons, but is otherwise unusual among lizards. Agamid lizards are generally diurnal, with good vision, and include a number of arboreal species, in addition to ground- and rock-dwellers. They generally feed on insects and other arthropods (such as spiders), although some larger species may include small reptiles or mammals, nestling birds, flowers or other vegetable matter in their diets. The great majority of agamid species are oviparous.
Among the Agamidae, six subfamilies are generally recognized:[verification needed]
Agaminae (Africa, South Asia and Australia)
Amphibolurinae (Australia and New Guinea, 1 species in Southeast Asia)
Draconinae (South and Southeast Asia)
Hydrosaurinae (Hydrosaurus, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, and Indonesia)
Leiolepidinae (Leiolepis, Southeast Asia)
Uromasticinae (Saara and Uromastyx, Africa and south Asia)
The chameleons of the sister family Chamaeleonidae are sometimes discussed as subfamily Chamaeleoninae and subfamily Agaminae (referring to Agamidae, not the Agaminae mentioned above).
Fan-throated lizard Sitana ponticeriana from the Agaminae
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The Agamidae Family of Lizards :
courtesy to : www.reptileknowledge.com/squamata/agamidae.php
The Agamidae family of lizards, or agamids, includes over 300 species of lizards spread mostly through Asia, Africa and Australia (with a few species in Europe).
Image: Red-headed rock agama in the wild. This amazing photo was taken by a Wikipedia contributor.
Characteristics of Agamid Lizards
The members of the Agamidae family of lizards are geographically widespread and varied in appearance. Shared characteristics include well-developed limbs and strong tails. Aside from that, the appearance of agamids is highly diverse, ranging from the brightly colored species shown above to more "bland" species.
These differences in coloration are due in part to the variety of environments in which the agamid species live. Several species of agamids have the ability to change their color, similar to a chameleon in that regard.
As with their color diversity, the agamid lizards have evolved a variety of survival skills. Some, like the uromastyx, are excellent diggers and will scurry into their holes for safety. Other agamid species, like the aptly named hydrosaurus, have unique foot scales that allow them to run bipedally (on two legs) across water to escape predators.
Members of the Agamidae Family :
* Arranged alphabetically by common name.
Common Gliding Lizard
Five-banded Gliding Lizard
Green Crested Lizard
Red-headed Rock Agama
Southern Rock Agama
Spotted Gliding Lizard
Agamid Lizard Species Guides
Bearded DragonPhoto © Animal-World: Courtesy Dakota
Bearded Dragons are one of the impressive Agamid lizards, and there's about 300 more fascinating species!
Agama lizards are Old World lizards. The Agamidae family consists of more than 300 species across six subfamilies. Agamid lizards include not only a large variety of Agamas, but also the very popular Bearded Dragons, Water Dragons and the Uromastyx, or Spiny-tailed lizards. There are also tree lizards, sailfin lizards, butterfly lizards and more.
There are many similarities between the Agamidae and the Iguanidae family. Agamas are considered the "Old World" equivalent of the Iguanidae family. The Iguanids are referred to as New World lizards because they are found on the American continents, while the Agamids are found on the "old world" continents of Africa, Asia, and Australia.
Another similarity to the iguanids is that they both come in terrestrial (land dwelling) types, arboreal (living in trees) types, and semi-aquatic (able to live both on land and in water) types. See the classifications and the families of the Agama types of lizards here, Lizard Classification: Lizard Families - Agamids
The lizards in the Agamidae family have well developed limbs, long tails, and often have bizarre forms such as crests, dewlaps and expandable appendages. The male agamids are often brightly colored. Many Agamids will breed easily in captivity, laying soft-shelled eggs in ground burrows.
The structure of the Order Squamata, and so too the Iguania Suborder and the Agamidae family, is being scrutinized and adjusted. Lizard taxonomy is a long, arduous process and the subject of much debate. Part of this re-classification is due to the discovery that more lizards are venomous than were previously thought.
It had long been thought that only the Gila Monsters and the Beaded lizards, in the Family Helodermatidae, were venomous lizards. But more recently it has been discovered that a couple other groups of lizards also contain venomous lizards including some in the Family Agamidae, like the Bearded Dragon. For pet owners there is no reason for undue concern, however, as the toxin secreting glands of these lizards are smaller than those of snakes. The venom they produce may aid to subduing small prey, but on a human it would have no effect, or very little. It is said that a bitten hand might throb at most.
06 Agamidae + Hydrosaurus pustulatus + Corucia zebrata + Chelodina longicollis Hagenbeck Hamburg 2
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