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Calotes mystaceus DUMÉRIL & BIBRON, 1837

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Higher TaxaAgamidae (Draconinae), Sauria, Iguania, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Indo-Chinese Forest Lizard, Blue crested lizard
G: Blaue Schönechse
Chinese: 白唇树蜥 
SynonymCalotes mystaceus DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1837: 408
Calotes mystaceus — BOULENGER 1885: 325
Calotes mystaceus — SMITH 1935: 197
Calotes mystaceus — TAYLOR 1963: 894
Calotes mystaceus — COX et al. 1998: 98
Calotes mystaceus — MANTHEY & SCHUSTER 1999: 33
Calotes mystaceus — NGUYEN et al. 2009
Calotes mystaceus — WAGNER et al. 2021 
DistributionChina (Yunnan)
Burma (= Myanmar) (Tenasserim to Mandalay = Mandale and Kachin State [26°00N, 97°30E]), Thailand (north of the Istmus of Kra), Cambodia, S Vietnam (incl. Ho Chi Minh City, Son La), Laos
India (Mizoram, Nagaland)

Type locality: Birmans (= Budema fide SMITH 1935) [Myanmar]

Introduced to Florida (USA)  
TypesHolotype: MNHN-RA 2557 (by monotypy) 
DiagnosisOriginal Diagnosis. “Deux petites épines places l’une après l’autres de chaque côte de la nuque. Un pli oblique en longueur devant l’épaule. Écailles des côtes du tronc grandes; celles du ventre moitié plus petites. Dessus de la base de la queue subanguleux, garni d’écailles seulement un peu plus grandes que celles qui les avoisinent. Fauve en dessus; sous l’oeil une bande jaune qui se prolonge jusque sur l’épaule.” (Duméril & Bibron, 1837: 408, after Wagner et al. 2021).

Revised Diagnosis. A small sized Calotes with a max- imum known SVL of 101 mm in males and 99 mm in fe- males. Distinguished from all other species of the group by the combination of the following characters: 1) Head and body slender, with long tail and extremities; 2) body scales relatively large in respect to the body size, homo- geneous, strongly keeled and arranged in regular rows; 3) upper dorsolateral scales pointing back- and upwards; 4) 44–56 scale rows around midbody; 5) no spines above the tympanum; 6) Vertebral crest, composed of erected spiny scales, directed posteriorly, continuous from above the tympanum to about the insertion of the hindlimbs, but spines becoming abruptly shorter above the insertion of the front limbs; 7) Vertebral scales, including crest spines 38–49 in males and 38–48 in females; 8) oblique skin fold in front of the fore limbs; 10) Head, chest, front limbs, and anterior dorsal crest turquoise; 11) whitish lat- eral stripe from the snout along the upper lip and the tym- panum to behind the insertion of the fore limbs, behind tympanum becoming brownish beige and fusing with beige dorsolateral blotches above front limb insertion; 12) four faint beige dorsolateral blotches. (Wagner et al. 2021)

Coloration (males). According to the original descrip- tion ventral and dorsal parts of the body, tail and limbs brownish. Upper parts of the head olive, chest and throat brownish to yellow. Orange-yellowish stripe from the upper lip crossing the tympanum to the shoulders. More recently collected males (Figure 8C) show the head and the anterior of body to the shoulders blue, with a yellow- ish stripe from the mental towards the upper lips and the tympanum to above and in front of the insertion of the front limbs, followed by indistinct orange blotches. (Wagner et al. 2021)

Description: “Length of head one and a half times its breadth; snout distinctly longer than the orbit; forehead feebly concave: cheeks swollen in the adult male; upper head-scales unequal, smooth or keeled; canthus rostralis and supraciliary edge sharp; no postorbital spine; two short, separated spines or groups of 2 or 3 spines on each side of the back of the head, the lower and posterior one being separated from the tympanum by 4 or 5 scales; a row of 3 or 4 enlarged scales between the eye and the tympanum, the diameter of which is half that of the orbit: 9 to 11 upper and as many lower labials. Body compressed; dorsal scales more or less strongly keeled, pointing backwards and upwards, nearly or quite twice as large as the ventrals, which are strongly keeled; 48 to 58 scales round the middle of the body. Gular pouch small, larger in the male during the breeding season; gular scales feebly or strongly keeled, sometimes mucronate, larger than the ventrals. An oblique fold in front of the shoulder, covered with small granular scales. Nuchal and dorsal crests continuons, well developed in the male, composed of long falciform scales directed backwards, the longest equalling the length of the orbit, gradually decreasing in height and reduced to a low crest over the sacrum and base of the tail. Limbs moderate; third and fourth fingers equal or nearly so; fourth toe distinctly longer than third toe; the hind limb reaches to the neck ot the posterior border of the orbit. Tail feebly compressed, covered with subequal, keeled scales” (Smith 1935: 198).

Coloration: “Brownish-grey or olivaceous above, with indistinct darker spots and markings; dark lines radiating from the eye and one from the eye to the tympanum; three or five large rusty-red or chocolate-coloured spots on each flank usually present; upper lip white or yellow, the stripe broad and extending to the shoulder; fold in front of the shoulder usually not coloured; below dirty whitish” (Smith 1935: 198)

Variation: “All the examples that I have seen from west of the Mekong
River (Saigon, the Langbian Plateau, and Kontum in Annam)
are more uniformly coloured. They lack the red spots upon
the flanks and dark lines upon the head, but in other respects
agree withs specimens from Burma and Siam” (Smith 1935: 198).

Sexual dimorphism: “The male during the breeding season assumes strikingly
handsome colours. The female is similarly coloured, but much less strongly” (Smith 1935: 198). 
CommentHas been reported from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands by SMITH 1935 and others although no voucher specimens exist. The existence on these islands is therefore questionable (Das 1999).

Distribution: Has been erroneously reported from Sri Lanka, but not present there (SOMAWEERA & SOMAWEERA 2009). 
EtymologyNamed after Greek “mystax” = beard, moustache 
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  • Bhupathy, S., Ramesh Kumar, S., Paramanandham, J., Thirumalainathan, P. and Pranjit Kumar Sarma 2013. Conservation of reptiles in Nagaland, India. In: K. K. Singh et al. (editors), Bioresources and Traditional Knowledge of Northeast India, Mizo Post-Graduate Science Society, pp. 181-186
  • Bobrov V.V., Semenov D.V. 2008. Lizards of Vietnam [in Russian]. Moscow, 236 pp.
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1885. Catalogue of the lizards in the British Museum (Nat. Hist.) I. Geckonidae, Eublepharidae, Uroplatidae, Pygopodidae, Agamidae. London: 450 pp. - get paper here
  • Boulenger, George A. 1890. The Fauna of British India, Including Ceylon and Burma. Reptilia and Batrachia. Taylor & Francis, London, xviii, 541 pp. - get paper here
  • Chan-ard, T., Parr, J.W.K. & Nabhitabhata, J. 2015. A field guide to the reptiles of Thailand. Oxford University Press, NY, 352 pp. [see book reviews by Pauwels & Grismer 2015 and Hikida 2015 for corrections] - get paper here
  • Chan-ard,T.; Grossmann,W.; Gumprecht,A. & Schulz,K. D. 1999. Amphibians and reptiles of peninsular Malaysia and Thailand - an illustrated checklist [bilingual English and German]. Bushmaster Publications, Würselen, Gemany, 240 pp. [book review in Russ. J Herp. 7: 87] - get paper here
  • Cox, Merel J.; Van Dijk, Peter Paul; Jarujin Nabhitabhata & Thirakhupt,Kumthorn 1998. A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. Ralph Curtis Publishing, 144 pp.
  • CURRIN, Charles 2016. Recent reptiles records from Kaeng Krachan National Park, Thailand. SEAVR 2016: 117-120 - get paper here
  • Das, I. 1999. Biogeography of the amphibians and reptiles of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India. In: Ota,H. (ed) Tropical Island herpetofauna..., Elsevier, pp. 43-77
  • Das, Indraneil & Abhijit Das 2017. A Naturalist’s Guide to the Reptiles of India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. John Beaufoy Publishing Ltd., Oxford, 176 pp.
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  • Gibbons, Whit; Judy Greene, and Tony Mills 2009. LIZARDS AND CROCODILIANS OF THE SOUTHEAST. University of Georgia Press, 240 pp.
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  • Grismer, L.L., Neang, T., Chav, T. & Grismer, J.L. 2008. Checklist of the amphibians and reptiles of the Cardamom region of Southwestern Cambodia. Cambodian Journal of Natural History 2008(1): 12–28 - get paper here
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  • Hallermann, J. 2000. A new species of Calotes from the Moluccas (Indonesia) with notes on the biogeography of the genus (Sauria: Agamidae). Bonner Zoologische Beiträge 49 (1-2): 155-163 - get paper here
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  • Hawkeswood, Trevor J. & Aranya Sommung 2018. First record of the Blue Forest Lizard, Calotes mystaceus Duméril & Bibron, 1837 (Reptilia: Agamidae) from Ubon Ratchathani Province, Thailand, with a review of literature on the biology and distribution of the species in Thailand. Calodema, 607: 1-8 - get paper here
  • Lalremsanga, H.T., L. Khawlhring & Lalrotluanga 2010. Three additional lizard (Squamata: Sauria) records for Mizoram, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 2(2): 718-720 - get paper here
  • Macey, J. R., J. A. Schulte II, A. Larson, N. B. Ananjeva, Y. Wang, R. Pethiyagoda, N. Rastegar-Pouyani, T. J. Papenfuss 2000. Evaluating trans-Tethys migration: an example using acrodont lizard phylogenetics. Systematic Biology 49 (2): 233-256 - get paper here
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