Acanthocercus branchi
Status: Least Concern
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Iguania
Family: Agamidae
Genus: Acanthocercus
Threat: harmless
Venom/Toxin: none
Description: It is a small agama lizard found only in Zambia. It is differentiated from other Agama lizards in that it has transverse rows of enlarged scales on the body, large black patch on the shoulders, and a different pholidosis (or scale pattern).

General Information

The Zambian Agama or Branchi's agama is a recently identified species of agama lizard endemic to Zambia. It is morphologically similar to A. a. gregorii and A. a. loveridgei, but seems to be more closely related to the former

Ecology and Behaviour

The Zambian Agama lizards are very dominant and aggressive. 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.

Diet

Conservation

It is categorized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as a, " Least Concern ".
Trend: uncomfirmed

Distribution and Habitat

The new species is known from localities within the Luangwa (Chipata, Chikowa, Sayiri Court) and Zambezi (Lusaka) valleys in Zambia. It is endemic to Zambia. This new species is a tree dweller as it is typical for agama lizrds although not for all subspecies. In Chipata, it was collected in the dense Miombo woodland with large trees and a structured canopy. In Lusaka, it was captured on a solitary tree. At both localities, other individuals were also observed, but it was not possible to identify them as males or females. Specimens from Pioneer Camp were observed while climbing on tree trunks.

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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