Added 1 September 2002. Last updated 11 October 2023: added details for T. khasiensis and T. luyeanus and updated T. haughtonianus, T. madaensis, T. sexlineatus ocellatus, T. toyamai and Bibliography.

A look at the Family Lacertidae


Asian Grass Lizards


This is the only real Asian genus of the Lacertidae, members being found from E Russia through China, India and SE Asia as far south as Indonesia. All are fairly elongated, narrow-bodied lizards whose tail length may double (if not more) that of the body.

Boulenger gives the characteristics of the genus as follows: head-shields normal [ie a frontonasal, a pair of prefrontals, a frontal, a pair of frontoparietals, a pair of parietals, an interparietal, and an occipital]. Nostril pierced between two nasals and the first labial. Lower eyelid scaly. Collar more or less distinct. Back covered with large, rhomboidal, keeled shields forming longitudinal series ; flanks granular ; ventral shields rhomboidal, imbricate, all or part keeled. Digits subcylindrical, with smooth, tubercular subdigital lamellae, the distal of which is much enlarged. Inguinal pores; no femoral pores. Tail extremely long, cylindrical.

Details on the various species are scarce, so please do not expect this section to be completed for some time.

Scientific Name

Common Name





T. albomaculosus

China (Guangdong)

Described in 2017: see Reptile Database entry.

T. amurensis


E Russia, NE China, Korea, Japan (Tshushima Islands)


An olive-brown lacertid with a varying pattern: Shannon mentions that one found in 1952 was in rocky terrain with scattered pine trees. Scalation details [from Shannon]: 2 granules between supraoculars and supraciliaries; small shield separates large anterior supraocular from loreal; temporal scales smooth. 7-11 (usually 8) enlarged dorsal scales, moderately keeled, longer than wide, of which 1-2 central rows maybe somewhat reduced; 8 rows of large ventrals, of which outer rows feebly keeled, the others smooth; gular scales all smooth; 4 rows of feebly keeled scales between ventrals and lateral granules; 3 inguinal pores on each side. Other: head and digits shorter than in T. sexlineatus and T. tachydromoides. Coloration: overall olive-brown [Shannon], dorsally olive-grey [Boulenger]. There is black dorsolateral stripe just below keeled rows: this is bordered by a thin white band running from snout to groin. This white border may by broken by black blotches, be reduced or be absent altogether. Occasional individuals lack almost any pattern. Ventrally whitish [SOURCE: Boulenger, Shannon]

T. dorsalis


Japan (Ishigaki Island in the Ryuku islands)


Very limited distribution: see EMBL database entry for details.

T. formosanus





T. hani

SE Asia Green Grass Lizard

Vietnam (Ha Tinh)



T. haughtonianus


India (Assam)


Scalation details: four pairs of chin-shields, the last as large as the three anterior pairs. Upper labials irregular, 8 + 9 ; eight very narrow lower labials. Six longitudinal series of strongly keeled dorsal scales; ten longitudinal rows of strongly keeled abdominal scales; twenty-seven transverse rows from the axil to the inguinal pores. A line of enlarged granules along the lateral margins of the dorsal and ventral scales. Axilla and some distance behind it granular. One pair of inguinal pores at the base of the thigh. A large central anal shield, with two smaller pairs external to it. Upper surface and front of the limbs with large, almost shield-like scales, hinder and under aspect granular. Tail covered with large strongly keeled scales. Coloration: upper surface of shady brownish black, disappearing on the middle of the tail. A greenish-yellow band from above and before the eye, along the external series of dorsal scales, disappearing on the base of the tail. A black band from the nostril, through the eye and one-half of the ear, along the granular area of the side, paling to olive-brown posteriorly, and disappearing on the base of the tail. From the lower margin of the ear to the nostril in a straight line, involving the upper labials, and all the under surface of the body is yellow. Limbs yellowish, their upper surface finely and densely punctulated with brown. Tail yellowish. [SOURCE: Anderson. Interestingly, although Jerdon is attributed as the author of the species, Gray adds the following pithy comment to his description: “I cannot allow Dr. Jerdon's statement that he had my permission to describe and name this Lizard to pass without comment. I placed the Museum collection of Reptiles at Dr. Jerdon's disposal for comparison ; but I certainly never contemplated that he would make use of the confidence I reposed in him to describe this Lizard without my sanction.”

T. hsuehshanensis


C Taiwan



T. intermedius


SW China

Scalation details: nasals in contact behind rostral; anterior supraocular very small, usually indicated by a minute granule; 4 pairs of chin-shields; enlarged dorsal scales in 8 longitudinal rows, the 2 vertebral rows being smaller; ventrals smooth or feebly keeled, in 6 rows. Other: head 175-200% as long as wide; tail 2½-3 times as long as snout-vent length [SOURCE: Stejneger].

T. khasiensis

Glossy Green Lizard

India (Assam), Burma

SVL 5.2 cm; TL 17.2 cm

Formerly considered a subspecies of T. sexlineatus. The dorsum is greenish-brown with a metallic gloss; a light dorsolateral stripe emerges from the eye and extends up to the base of the tail, it is bordered above and below with black spots which in many individuals form a continuous line; a black streak along the side of the head through the ear, and along the flank to the hind-limb; under parts are greenish-white. Scalation details: as for T. sexlineatus, except in the following: frontonasal generally broader than long; fourth or fifth labial subocular: scale on the flanks larger, pointed, keeled, bordered above and below by larger strongly keeled scales, 3-5 small scales in a vertical series between the larger ones; 2-3 femoral pores on each side. Standard length 52 mm.; tail length 120 mm.[SOURCE: Tikader & Sharma]?.

T. kuehnei


China, Taiwan, Vietnam


Vogt's "Tachydromus chinensis" was later considered to be a synonym of this species (he had himself recognised the similarity but distinguished the putative new species on the basis of the lower number of supralabials, postmentals and inguinal pores). Scalation details: rostral may or may not be separated from internasal; nostril located in middle of nasal; 2 loreals, of which posterior is largest; 2 prefrontals; frontal supported above and below on 3 corners; 2 large supraoculars separated from superciliaries by a row of small granular scales; 6 supralabials, of which 5th is largest and located beneath eye; parietals behind interparietal are separated by small occipital; 3 small temporals and 3-4 pairs of postmentals on each side. Dorsal scalation: dorsals large and sharply keeled, in 3 regular rows on each side and separated by a vertebral row of smaller scales. Ventral scalation: 6 ventral rows, bluntly keeled; small lateral granular scales bordering ventrals, not enlarged. Other: 3-5 inguinal pores on each side. Head elongated. Coloration: [van Denburgh] dorsally olive or olive brown, dark olive brown lateral streak, lower surfaces white.[Vogt, in alcohol] dorsally brownish green, dark on the sides; light line runs from nostril above lower eyelid to the groin; ventrally greenish-white, yellowish red beneath tail [SOURCE: van Denburgh 1909, T Vogt 1914].

T. k. kuehnei


China, Taiwan, Vietnam


T. k. vietnamensis


N Vietnam



T. luyeanus

C Taiwan

Described in 2008: see Reptile Database entry.

T. madaensis

S Vietnam

Described in 2013: see Reptile Database entry. This species is so far apparently only known from its type location.

T. sauteri




Scalation details: 4 pairs of postmentals; dorsals large, in regular rows. Other: 1 inguinal pore on each side. Head and tail very elongated. Coloration: dorsally green, upper lip and lower surfaces white. [SOURCE: van Denburgh 1909].

T. septentrionalis


S China, Taiwan


Less slender than T. sexlineatus. Scalation details (from IndiaHerps): 7 upper and 6 lower labials. Dorsal scales: strongly keeled, 4 longitudinal rows. Ventral scales: keeled, 8 longitudinal and 28 transverse rows.

T. sexlineatus


India (Sikkim, Assam), China, Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia (Sumatra, Java, Borneo)

Approx 14"/35 cm TL: SVL approx 6 cm

(ocellatus) SVL, 55 mm; TL, 263 mm;

This is the Takydromus species most commonly seen in the pet trade, probably because of its very wide distribution. Scalation details: Supraoculars in contact with the supraciliaries ; the large anterior supraocular in contact with the loreal; temporal scales strongly keeled. Six or eight longitudinal series of strongly keeled shields on the nape, four on the back, median pair largest; ten or twelve longitudinal series of strongly keeled ventral shields (lateral series included). One or two (to six, according to Stoliczka) inguinal pores on each side. Greenish or brownish above, with metallic gloss ; a more or less distinct whitish, black-edged streak from the supraciliary edge along each side of the back to the base of the tail; the black band bordering the light streak inferiorly begins on the loreal region and passes through the eye and above the tympanum sometimes two narrow black lateral lines instead of the black band ; sides frequently with small round light spots; lower surfaces yellowish or greenish. [SOURCE: Boulenger]

T. s. sexlineatus

Scalation details (from IndiaHerps): 3 pairs of chin-shields. Dorsal scales: strongly keeled, 4 longitudinal rows. Ventral scales: keeled, 10 longitudinal and 22-23 transverse rows.

T. s. meridionalis

Scalation details (from IndiaHerps): 3 pairs of chin-shields. Dorsal scales: strongly keeled, 4 longitudinal rows. Ventral scales: keeled, 10 longitudinal and 22-23 transverse rows.

T. s. ocellatus

S China, Hainan, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, N Burma, N Malaysia

Scalation details: 6 enlarged scale rows on neck and front half of body followed by 4, all strongly keeled, keels forming continuous lines; in at least one specimen examined these did not pass beyond a line drawn between arms; in others they reached approximately halfway between the arms and legs, where they reduce to 4 rows; nasals meeting on median line; frontal with a ridge or keel; 10-14 ventral rows of enlarged keeled scales, keels forming continuous straight lines; a single preanal pore on each side. Anal scale single, large flanked by 2 small scales on each side. Colour: head dark-olive; body greenish olive growing lighter on sides; a narrow dark line begins on second loreal, passes eye and continues above tympanum to some distance on neck and shoulder; on side of neck and temporal region ultramarine; sides bordered by a dim greenish white line that is bordered below by an indefinite light-olive line; venter bluish- to greenish-white, continued on subcaudal region; no indication of small ocellate spots on flanks. Reproduction: 2-4 eggs laid [SOURCE: taken from Taylor, Lizards of Thailand]

T. smaragdinus


Japan (Ryuku Islands)



T. stejnegeri





T. sylvaticus





T. tachydromoides


Japan (Honshu, Kyushu, Tsushima), S Korea

Approx 27.5 cm TL, 6.5 cm SVL

Scalation details: A series of granules between the supraoculars and the supraciharies; a small shield separates the large anterior supraocular from the loreal; temporal scales obtusely keeled. Dorsal shields very variable in number and in size, very strongly keeled; they usually form six to eight series, of which the median are as a rule the smallest; sometimes only five series on the posterior half of the body ; eight or ten series of large ventrals, which are either all strongly keeled or only the outer rows; two to four longitudinal rows of smaller keeled shields on each side of the ventrals. One or two inguinal pores on each side. Other: head shorter than in T. sexlineatus. Coloration: greenish or brownish above, with or without a light black-edged dorso-lateral band as in T. sexlineatus; a more or less distinct light streak from below the eye to the shoulder, sometimes extending along the side of the body; lower surfaces yellowish or greenish. [SOURCE: Boulenger]

T. t. oldi

T. t. tachydromoides

T. toyamai


Japan (Ryukus)


Only described in 1996: see Reptile Database entry for details.

T. wolteri


E Russia, Korea, E China


Scalation details [from Shannon]: single femoral pore on each side. Coloration: dark dorsal stripe, about 3 scales wide. Distinct white ventrolateral band 1 scale wide runs from tip of snout to groin.


Echsen [Lizards] 2, Manfred Rogner, Ulmer, Stuttgart 1994. Only lists Takydromus sexlineatus and Takydromus species but gives useful details on those selected, including husbandry of captives.

"The Reptiles and Amphibians of Korea", Frederick A Shannon, Herpetologica Vol 12 pp.22-48, 1956. Useful summary of the herpetofauna of the Korean peninsula. The author was at the time on military duty in Korea and also had recourse to relevant literature.

"Herpetological Novelties from China", Leonhard Stejneger, Occasional Papers of the Boston Society of Natural History, Vol 5, July 21 1924.

"New and Previously Unrecorded Species of Reptiles and Amphibians from the Island of Formosa," John van Denburgh, Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences, Fourth Series, Vol III pp 49-56, December 20 1909.

"Südchinesische Reptilien und Amphibien", Theodor Vogt, Sitz. Gesell. Nat. Fr. Berlin, 1914.

“On some Indian Reptiles”, John Anderson, Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London, 1871.

Not read, but probably useful to German speakers interested in this genus:

Die Langschwanzeidechsen der Gattung Takydromus, Uwe Schluter, KUS-Verlag, 2003.


A useful site for some details on Takydromus was the online E-book Reptiles of British India by Albert Günther. This was originally published in 1864 so the reader should be aware that a lot of the species have been reclassified since.

There is not much information freely available on Takydromus, although several Chinese sites do offer information in Cantonese or Mandarin.

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