Evolution and systematics

Chameleon Care Guide

Chameleon Care Guide

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Agamids are derived descendents of ancestors of New World Iguanidae. They are Old World ecological counterparts of iguanids, with numerous highly convergent ecological equivalents, such as Phrynosoma and Moloch, Hydrosaurus and Basiliscus, Ctenosaura and Uromastyx, Pogona and Agama, and Corytophanes and Acanthosaura. A unique shared derived feature that ties Agamidae to Chamaeleonidae (chameleons are derived from within agamids) is acrodont dentition, in which teeth are fused to the top of the jawbones and are not replaced after they are formed. As a lizard grows, new teeth are added posteriorly. Agamids also have caniform (sometimes fanglike) pleurodont teeth set in sockets anteriorly, which are replaced continuously. Two subfamilies are recognized:


These are small to large terrestrial and arboreal lizards distributed in Africa, Asia, and Australia. There are 50 genera with more than 400 species.


These are medium to large terrestrial lizards found in northern Africa east to Southeast Asia. There are two genera with 21 species.

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