Added 18 June 2005.

A look at the Family Agamidae


Sri Lankan Deaf Agama


Now a monotypic genus. It is distinguished by its lateral compression, irregularly arranged and variable scales on the body, and the lack of a visible tympanum, the latter feature giving it its popular name. Other features are the absence of femoral and preanal pores and the presence of a short nuchal crest, dorsal crest and small gular pouch. The tail is prehensile. This is the only ovoviviparous arboreal agamid.

Species Name Common Name Distribution Size Notes
C. ceylanica  Sri Lankan Deaf Agama  Sri Lanka (central highlands) TL 14½ cm, SVL 6 cm  These agamids are found at 600-2100m, preferring lower parts of trees but also utilising bushes and hedges in villages. Among insect fare they are also keen on bees and wasps which they always seize from the front. The head is narrowed and rather pointed. Scalation details: 3 postrostals and 3 adjoining scales form an indistinct boss; nostral in large scale, separated from rostral by 3 scales, touching 2nd and 3rd labials; scales in frontal region large, irregularly elevated, with a depression between the orbits; somewhat elevated median scale in depression; 5-6 enlarged supraoculars, all very irregular; pair of enlarged tubercular scales on parietal region, behind which are 2 distinctly elevated tubercular scales; 10 supralabials; 8-9 infralabials; mental smaller than rostral; a series of irregular keeled scales extends back from lower edge of eye in temporal region; chin scales smooth; small gular sac present. Dorsal scalation: nuchal crest of 4-5 spines, separated from dorsal crest: dorsal crest consists of about 15 soft spiny scales, separated by short intervals. Ventral scalation: ventrolateral and ventral scales strongly mucronate, smaller and keeled in about 16 rows. Tail: compressed and prehensile. Other: lateral scalation approximately eight rows of enlarged scales pointing backward and downward, strongly imbricating, smooth or slightly keeled; 3rd and 4th toes virtually same length. Coloration: variable in males depending on mood, but usually overall brown or olive green with some lighter and darker markings; throat and chin cream with scattered dark flecks or lines; very characteristic broad white (described as "light brown" by Taylor) lip and shoulder stripe; ventrally dirty grey-white; tail banded with darker and lighter grey. Manthey and Schuster describe the females and juveniles as light grey in appearance with brown banding: see also their photograph of an individual. Reproduction: 2-8 live young born.