Added 27 June 2022.

A look at the Family Agamidae


Rock-Lizards, Sand Agamas, Rock Agamas


A small genus of lizards rarely seen in captivity, although reported as exceedingly common in some areas by Murthy (1990).

Murthy gives the characteristics of the genus as follows: dorsoventrally depressed body; gular fold; long, slender tail present; body covered with uniform keeled scales; no dorsal crest.

Care details for P. blanfordianus can be found in Manthey and Schuster.

Species Name

Common Name





P. blanfordanus 

Blanford's Rock Agama, Peninsular Dwarf Rock Agama, Dwarf Rock Lizard


SVL 10 cm, max TL 30cm (Murthy: adults TL 31 cm, females smaller)

Found on rocks primarily but is reported as "entering human dwellings occasionally". Murthy states that it is not as common as P. dorsalis. Scalation details: dorsal scales slightly larger, always distinctly keeled and imbricate, arranged in 80-100 rows round the midbody; flank with a few scattered and a little larger series of scales; nuchal crest a little more developed; frequently a small spine behind the superciliary edge. Tail: strongly compressed; crest as developed as, but not continuous with, dorsal crest; lower caudal scales enlarged and strongly keeled. Other: hind limb stretched forwards extends at least the posterior border of the orbit Coloration: Young and females olive-brown marbled or with flecks of brown; a series of large, lozenge-shaped dark brown spots on the back and tail. No traces of the lozenge-shaped markings on the body of male which is otherwise coloured as dorsalis. Reproduction: the male assumes a brilliant breeding colouration generally during April-May when its head and shoulder turn scarlet red in colour while the hind parts are almost black. The male courts the female which remains concealed in a nearby bush by displaying its breeding dress and by nodding its head repeatedly. [SOURCE: Boulenger, Murthy]

P. dorsalis

South Indian Rock Lizard


SVL 135 mm, TL 335 mm (Murthy: adults usually 440 mm TL) Females are

smaller than males.

Murthy notes that in Western Ghats, this species is found not only on bare rocks in hilly areas but also inside the ruined structures situated at considerable elevations. Although a stout creature, it is very agile and escapes into a crack or crevice of the rock on which it rests at the slightest alarm or on approach. Murthy found them emerging out of their hiding places generally at about 11:00 hrs in the morning and stationing themselves on every available rock for sunning themselves till evening. Occasionally they were found feeding on some insects and other insects. He calls the species “exceedingly shy”. Scalation details: head covered with small irregular smooth or feebly keeled scales which are a little enlarged in the suborbital region; 2 very small spines usually present above the tympanum; body feebly depressed and covered with small, feebly keeled scales ranging in count from 115 to 150; strongly marked transverse gular fold; gular scales very small, subimbricate, smooth, very feebly keeled in the young; dorso-nuchal crest scarcely indicated by a slight ridge; limbs covered with small scales slightly larger than those on the body. Tail: round, feebly compressed, and in adult males very swollen at the base; covered with small, more or less distinctly keeled scales which are a little enlarged inferiorly and on the upper median series. Other: head rather large, elongate, and depressed; cheeks of adult male swollen; digits moderately elongate; adpressed hind limb reaches between the tympanum and posterior border of the orbit in adults, further beyond in the young. Coloration: young and females olive-brown dorsally, spotted or marbled with dark ,brown and with a series of white elongate spots along each side of the back. Adult males pale brownish above and yellowish below. A yellowish-brown stripe commencing near lips extending to and beyond the ear. A second stripe dark brownish or blackish in colour commencing from behind the eye and broadens as it covers the lower half of the flank. Reproduction details: males during breeding season become vermillion-red on the forebody and pinkish on the lips [SOURCE: Boulenger, Murthy]



See also the index of agamid-related articles.