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a genus of lizards of the family Agama. The head is short and slightly flattened. The upper part of the body is covered with identical tiny scales, among which some species have irregularly placed enlarged tubercles with small spines. The short, slightly flattened tail is covered on top with large spiny scales, which are gathered into regular transverse spiny rings. The total length may reach 80 cm. Adults are a monotone gray or brown, sometimes with tiny dark spots, and the young have light transverse stripes and spots.
The genus embraces 13 species, which are distributed in North and East Africa and in Southwest Asia as far east as western India. They inhabit arid rocky and desert areas. They dig deep burrows, which in the case of some species attain a length of 4 m. The animals have an increased resistance to high atmospheric temperatures, remaining active when soil temperatures are 53°–57°C. The young feed on tiny invertebrates, while adults are mainly herbivorous. The females deposit up to 20 eggs. The flesh and fat of the animals are eaten in some countries.