Acanthocercus atricollis
Status: Least Concern
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Iguania
Family: Agamidae
Genus: Acanthocercus
Threat: harmless
Venom/Toxin: none
Description: A very large agama with a broad arrow shaped head. Breeding males have a dull blue to bluish back, with bright blue anteriors to straw-yellow posterior spines and a bright cobalt-blue head.

General Information

The southern tree agama is most often called the Blue necked tree agama.
Length: up to 45 cm
Lifespan: up to 30 yrs

Ecology and Behaviour

The southern tree agama are very dominant and aggresive. Males usually fight with other males. With agamas, their dominance in the group is determined through fights. A dominant male is brightly colored and this male enjoys the privileges of mating with females and also gets the best place to rest. Agamas are diurnal and mostly active during the day.

Diet

Agama lizards are mostly insectivorous. Their diet consists of ants, millipedes, caterpillars, grasshoppers and beetles. Prey diversity and volumes fluctuate seasonally.

Reproduction

The southern tree agama reproduces seasonally. Testicular volume of males reaches a maximum during August to September (austral spring), and follicles of females become enlarged during August to December. Females lay a single clutch per year, 5 - 14 oval soft-shelled eggs on average in a hole dug in moist soil. Larger females produce larger clutches than smaller females. These hatch after 90 days.

Conservation

It is categorized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as a, " Least Concern ". They are wide-spread in southern Africa and their population remains stable.
Trend: stable

Distribution and Habitat

The southern tree agama is very rare in Zambia but is largely present in other southern african countries. It is found in Eritrea, Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan, Uganda, D.R.C., Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Angola, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Eswatini.

Interaction with humans

Agama lizards are persecuted in some areas due to a belief that they are harmful when infact they are not even though they do bite when confronted. It is believed that they are used by traditional doctors to make covert love potions.

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