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a genus of lizards of the family Agamidae.
The trunk in Phrynocephalus is flattened and sometimes very broad. The body length, including the tail, ranges from 7 to 23 cm. In many species, the scales along the edges of the digits form denticles. The lizards are hard to find when camouflaged against a background of sand or clayey soil. They feed on insects and their larvae and on spiders. Most species are egg-laying, although some are ovoviviparous. There are about 45 species of Phrynocephalus, distributed in southeastern Europe and in Asia (from the Caspian Sea to China). In the USSR there are six (or seven) species, including P. mystaceus, the largest of the genus, found in Ciscaucasia, the lower reaches of the Volga and the Urals, and in Middle Asia; and P. interscapularis, the smallest of the genus, found from the Caspian to the Aral Sea. P. mystaceus is distinguished by the presence of large fringed skin folds at the corners of the mouth. When in danger, the lizard adopts a characteristic threatening pose.