Leafhorned agama

Ceratophora tennentii

SUBFAMILY

Agaminae

TAXONOMY

Ceratophora tennentii Gunther, 1861, Sri Lanka.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

None known.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

These small, tropical, arboreal agamids have evolved unusual appendages on their snouts. (Ceratophora means "horn carrying.") Horns are larger in males than in females (in some other species, horns are entirely missing among females). The rostral appendage of the leaf-horned agama is covered with scales and shaped like a leaf, flattened from side to side and coming to a point.

DISTRIBUTION

This lizard inhabits the Knuckles Mountains, Sri Lanka. HABITAT

The leaf-horned agama occurs in cloud forests between 2,950 ft (900 m) and 3,940 ft (1,200 m) in elevation.

BEHAVIOR

These arboreal lizards live in forests, where they frequent the lower branches of trees. These slow-moving chameleon-like lizards rely on camouflage to evade enemies.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

These lizards are sit-and-wait ambush predators, eating insects that move past their perches. Occasionally, they jump down to the ground to catch an insect.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Males expand an erectile sail-like crest on the back of the neck and back when displaying. The snout appendage probably also is used in sexual displays.

CONSERVATION STATUS

The leaf-horned agama has lost much of its habitat to human encroachment and logging. They have a very small geographic range and now are officially listed as Endangered by the IUCN.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

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