Calotes versicolor Daudin, 1802, Pondicherry, India. OTHER COMMON NAMES
English: Beauty lizard, bloodsucker, Indian garden lizard.
The brown garden lizard is a medium-size, brownish lizard with a laterally flattened body and a crest of scales on the neck and partway down the back.
The species occurs from eastern Iran to southern China and south to the Maldives and Sumatra.
They live in open habitats, such as light, sun-drenched forests.
Brown garden lizards are agile climbers and are adept at hiding behind branches. They follow humans and thrive in open parks and gardens and on date palms.
FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET
These sit-and-wait ambush predators feed largely on insects, but they also eat other, smaller lizards.
I Calotes versicolor I Phrynocephalus mystaceus
I Ceratophora tennentii I Hydrosaurus amboinensis I Leiolepis belliana
Brown garden lizards sometimes are called "bloodsuckers," because males have bright red heads during the breeding season, just before the rainy season. They staunchly defend their territories against other males. They nod their heads and extend the gular pouch in a threat posture toward other males. Two males first watch each other from a distance and then suddenly walk straight toward each other. Fighting males stand erect on their hind legs and tails, grasping each other with their front legs and trying to bite their opponents. If one male does not back away, a serious biting fight ensues. Males court females using pushups and head-bobbing displays. Females lay from one to 25 eggs in the middle of the rainy season. Hatchlings mature at nine to 12 months.
SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS
These lizards have lived in close association with humans for centuries and are kept in captivity in terraria. ♦
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