Cape flat lizard

Platysaurus capensis

SUBFAMILY

Cordylinae

TAXONOMY

Platysaurus capensis A. Smith, 1844, Great Namaqualand, Namibia.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

None known.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

The cape flat lizard is a very flattened lizard. Females and juveniles have a dark brown back with three broad, cream stripes, a straw-colored tail, and a white belly with a central black patch. Sexually mature males are beautifully colored. The head and most of the body are Prussian blue, sometimes with numerous pale spots and the juvenile stripes may faintly persist. The rear of the body, hind limbs, and tail are red-brown. Beneath the throat is light blue, the chest dark blue, and the belly black-centered.

DISTRIBUTION

Namaqualand as far south as Garies, Northern Cape, South Africa, and extending into southern Namibia along the Fish River canyon.

HABITAT

Large granite outcrops in rocky desert. BEHAVIOR

These beautiful lizards are common on granite, but rarely form dense colonies. The males are shy and difficult to approach.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

It is an ambush predator that sits motionless in the shade of a rock crack and makes a quick dash to collect small insects. Flowers and berries are also eaten in season.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

A small clutch of only two large, oval eggs are laid in moist soil beneath a sunny rock crack in November to December; a second clutch may be laid later in the summer.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened. Some small colonies may be threatened by mining activities, but much of this lizard's rocky desert home is uninhabited.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

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