Added 12 January 2005. Last updated 25 January 2008: updated all species entries and Bibliography.

A look at the Family Agamidae

Phoxophrys

Eyebrow Lizards

Introduction

This smallish genus is restricted to Indonesia. It is characterised by lack of any gular pouches and frontal appendages, and small scales are intermixed with large conical tubercles. Dorsal and nape crests may be present or absent.

I have not seen any of these species offered in the UK, and the name does not seem to crop up in herpetological circles in Germany or the US either. Manthey and Schuster cover the genus and P. nigrilabris in their book and note that they are not particularly difficult captives, not least because they are small as agamids go - P. nigrilabris is no more than 9cm in total length. They would appear to be at least somewhat arboreal.

Hubrecht in 1881 summarised the differences between Phoxophrys and Japalura as follows (taken from Inger 1960):

Phoxophrys Japalura
Lacks dorsal crest Dorsal crest present
Few large tubercular scales laterally Enlarged scales are simply unicarinate
Supraciliaries juxtaposed or very slightly imbricate Each supraciliary overlaps its successor by at least one third
Head relatively short and deep Head relatively long and flat
Lacks hair-like sense organs on cephalic scales Hair-like sense organs present on cephalic scales
Rostral if distinguishable is at most twice as wide as high and only occupies centre of end of snout Rostral 3-4 times as wide as high and occupies entire end of snout
Tail of male is markedly swollen basally, flattened above and furnished with dorsolateral keels formed by enlarged angular scales Tail of male is compressed, oval in cross section and not flattened above; usually a low middorsal caudal crest is formed by median row of enlarged keeled scales (only J. flaviceps deviates from this rule)

  QUICK INDEX  
P. borneensis, Sabah Eyebrow Lizard P. cephalum, Mocquard's Eyebrow Lizard P. nigrilabris, Black-Lipped Eyebrow Lizard
P. spiniceps, Sarawak Eyebrow Lizard P. tuberculata, Hubrecht's Eyebrow Lizard  

Species Name Common Name Distribution Size Notes
Phoxophrys 
P. borneensis  Sabah Eyebrow Lizard  Indonesia (N Borneo)  TL 15-17cm Scalation details: nasal contacts supralabial; 1 continuous row of infraorbitals; supraciliary spine absent; gular scales sharply keeled, mucronate; nuchal crest with 4 conical scales; vertebral scale row posteriorly with widely separated, enlarged but not elevated scales; lateral caudal scales sharply keeled; 4 rows of keeled subcaudals near base. Reproduction: males are distinguished from females by having 11-12 strongly keeled dorsolateral scales on tail near base, and also by nuchal crest, whose conical scales are thick in males but compressed in females.
P. cephalum Mocquard's Eyebrow Lizard  Indonesia (Borneo, Sabah) SVL 6-8½cm Scalation details: nasal contacts supralabials; 2 continuous rows of infraorbitals; supraciliary spine absent; gular scales obtusely keeled or smooth; short nuchal crest with 7-8 thick conical scales; vertebral scale row posteriorly with a few feebly elevated, widely separated, enlarged scales; lateral caudal scales smooth; 2 rows of keeled subcaudals near base. Reproduction: males are distinguished from females by having 6-7 strongly keeled dorsolateral scales on tail near base.
P. nigrilabris Black-Lipped Eyebrow Lizard Indonesia (Borneo) SVL 5-5½cm Scalation details: nasal separated from supralabials; 2 continuous rows of infraorbitals; supraciliary spine absent; gular scales sharply keeled; nuchal crest with 6-12 compressed scales; vertebral scale row posteriorly with continuous row of enlarged, elevated scales; lateral caudal scales keeled; 4 rows of enlarged keeled subcaudals near base. Reproduction: males are distinguished from females by having 8-9 strongly keeled dorsolateral scales on tail near base.
P. spiniceps Sarawak Eyebrow Lizard Indonesia (Borneo, Sarawak)   Scalation details: nasal contacts 2nd supralabial; 1 continuous row of infraorbitals; supraciliary spine formed by scale about ¾ diameter of eye; gular scales keeled; nuchal crest with 3 spinose scales separated by 2-6 small, keeled scales; vertebral scale row posteriorly with widely separated, enlarged scales; lateral caudal scales keeled; 2 rows of keeled subcaudals near base. Reproduction: no details available.
P. tuberculata Hubrecht's Eyebrow Lizard  Indonesia (W Sumatra)   Scalation details: nasal contacts 1st and 2nd supralabials; 2 continuous rows of infraorbitals; supraciliary scales raised into crest; several strongly compressed supraoculars; gular scales sharply keeled, mucronate; nuchal crest absent; vertebral scale row posteriorly lacks continuous series of enlarged scales; lateral caudal scales keeled; 4 rows of keeled subcaudals near base. Reproduction: no details available.

Bibliography

Gives brief overview of Phoxophrys and details of P. nigrilabris.

Links

A Guide to the Lizards of Borneo, by Dr Indraneil Das and Ghazally Ismail, has some information on P. borneensis and P. nigrilabris and some images.