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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(Agamidae), a family of lizards. The head is covered with small plates, the extremities are well developed, and the tail is usually long and is nonautotomic. The teeth are attached to the upper edge of the jaws (acrodonts). Agamas have the ability to change color under the influence of excitement or warmth. There are approximately 35 genera (Draco, Calotes, Phrynocephalus, Amphibolurus barbatus, Chlamydosaurus kingi, Uromastyx, Moloch horridas, and many others), which include approximately 300 species. They are found in Africa (with the exception of Madagascar); southeastern Europe; middle, central, and southern Asia; Australia; and New Guinea. In the USSR there are two genera (Agama and Phrynocephalus) represented by 13 species. The agamas are active during the day. Most of them feed predominantly on insects, and a few are herbivorous.

The genus Agama includes approximately 60 species (in Africa, southwest Asia, and southern Europe), seven of which are found in the USSR. The overall body length of adult agamas can be as much as 27 to 35 cm. One of the most characteristic lizards of the deserts and semideserts of middle Asia and the eastern Ciscaucasian area is the steppe agama (Agama sanguinolenta), whose body length can be as much as 30 cm. Typical for the mountains are the Caucasian agama (Agama caucasica), the Turkestan agama (Agama lehmanii), the Pavlovskii agama (Agama pawlowskii), and others.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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