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Agama agama (LINNAEUS, 1758)

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Higher TaxaAgamidae (Agaminae), Sauria, Iguania, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Common Agama, Rainbow Lizard, Red-headed (rock) agama
G: Siedleragame
F: Margouillat 
SynonymLacerta agama LINNAEUS 1758: 207
Lacerta amphibia LINNAEUS (fide ANDERSSON 1900: 11)
Agama colonorum DAUDIN 1802: 358 (nomen substitutum pro Lacerta agama)
Agama occipitalis GRAY 1827
Agama colonorum — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1837: 489
Agama colonorum – BOULENGER 1885: 356
Agama colonorum – BARBOZA DU BOCAGE 1895
Agama smithii BOULENGER 1896: 213 (fide LARGEN & SPAWLS 2006)
Agama colonorum var. congica PETERS 1877: 612
Agama agama — ANDERSSON 1900: 11
Agama colonorum — GOUGH 1909
Agama colonorum — SCHMIDT 1919: 469
Agama colonorum — WERNER 1919: 484
Agama colonorum — LOVERIDGE 1920: 140
Agama colonorum — SCORTECCI 1929: 314
Agama agama agama — LOVERIDGE 1936
Agama colonorum — MONARD 1940: 154
Agama agama agama – MERTENS 1941: 278
Agama agama — MANTHEY & SCHUSTER 1999: 21
Agama agama — WAGNER 2009
Agama agama — TRAPE et al. 2012
Agama wagneri TRAPE et al. in MEDIANNIKOV et al. 2012: 137
Agama cf. congica — CERICAO et al. 2014
Agama congica — MARQUES et al. 2018
Agama congica — BRANCH et al. 2019
Agama smithii — SPAWLS et al. 2023 
DistributionKamerun, Nigeria, Chad, Central African Republic, Republic of South Sudan (RSS), Sudan (Jumhūriyyat)

Type locality: „Amerika"; corrected to “Kamerun” (MERTENS 1938: 37). Neotype from Mokolo, Margui-Wandala
Province, northern Cameroon.

Subspecies (or synonyms) no longer recognized:

congica: Angola; Type locality: “Chinchoxo, Cabinda, Angola, 05°06’S, 12°06’E (probably a valid species fide Wagner, pers. comm., 2 Feb 2015)

smithi: Ethiopia; Type locality: “between [Webi] Shebeli and Juba Rivers” [03°58′ N, 41°40′ E, fide Largen & Spawls, 2006], Ethiopia.

sylvanus: Ghana, Benin, Cameroon; Type locality: Ghana.

wagneri: Cameroon; Type locality: Mokolo (10°44’ N 13°47’ E), Cameroon  
Reproductionoviparous; this species was the first lizard in which Temperature‐dependent sex determination (TSD) was discovered, over 50 years ago. Females are produced at relatively cool temperatures and males at warmer temperatures (30°C) (Steele et al. 2018). 
TypesLectotype: UUZM (= ZMUU) 32 (Lacerta agama Linnaeus, 1758); Neotype: ZFMK 15222 (erroneously designated by Wagner despite the fact that Linné’s holotype is still existing), later designated as holotype of A. wagneri (see below).
Syntypes: ZMB 9169, 54524, 67193 [congica]
Paratypes: ZMB 30760, "Mtalio, Mikalama, T. t.", leg. Loveridge; MCZ 18565-571, 18574-75, UMMZ 61435 [dodomae]
Holotype: BMNH [1946.8.27.79], collected by Dr. A. Donaldson Smith on February 27th 1895 [smithi]
Holotype: BMNH 1979.389 [sylvanus]
Holotype: ZFMK 15222 (GenBank: GUI133323), an adult male collected on 14 February 1974, by W. Böhme and W. Hartwig [wagneri] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: A large species of the genus. The nuptial male of Agama agama is characterized by a yellow head, a red throat and a tri-coloured (yellow, red and black) tail. The subordinate males, females, and adolescents possess an olive-green head and an olive-green to brown body with yellow dots, ocelli and stripes. 
CommentSynonymy: PARKER 1932 synonymized Agama smithii with Agama spinosa. Oreodeira gracilipes was erroneou sly described from Australia with the type locality “New South Wales”. MOODY (1988) found it to be synoymous with A. a. africana. Its Holotype is ANSP 6307. The status of A. smithi does not appear to be clear even though it seems to be different from other populations. Wagner et al. 2013 considered it as “incertae sedis”. A. wagneri was synonymized with A. agama by LEACHÉ et al. 2014. Agama congica appears to be a valid species (P. Wagner, pers. comm. cited in Ceriaco et al. 2014).

Distribution: Reports from Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cape Verde Islands, Chad, Ghana, Guinea (Conakry), Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Nigeria, Senegal, Togo, Ivory Coast have been assigned to other species (Wagner et al. 2009, Leaché et al. 2014). Older authors, such as WERMUTH 1967, have much larger, almost pan-African distributions. Some of the records (at least from Mali) may be A. paragama. Agama agama has been reported from Reunion Island (Glaw, pers. comm.), but this record is questionable. Subspecies reported from Kenya (elgonensis and lionotus) have been elevated to full species status. Not present in Ethiopia or Eritrea. In fact, reports from Ethiopia, Eritrea,and Uganda represent A. finchi and A. lionotus (Wagner 2011, Salamandra 47: 61 and Wagner 2011, BZB). Reports from Gabon represent actually A. lebretoni (Pauwels et al. 2016) or A. picticauda (Leaché et al. 2016, Pauwels et al. 2017). Reports of A. sylvanus (and A. agama) from Gabon represent actually A. lebretoni (Pauwels et al. 2016, P. Wagner, pers. comm. 4 April 2020). Introductions to Madagascar and Comoro Island, Madeira (WAGNER et al. 2012), and Cape Verde Islands (VASCONCELOS et al. 2009) are now considered as A. picticauda (P. Wagner, pers. comm. 4 April 2020).

Subspecies: All subspecies of A. agama have been elevated to full species. Agama agama lionotus has been elevated to species status containing the subspecies elgonis, dodomae, and ufipae by BÖHME et al. (2005). Agama agama from Kenya became a part of A. lionotus. Agama agama mucosoensis HELLMICH 1957: 44 has been elevated to full species by WAGNER et al. 2012.

Types: MONARD (1940) included a specimen of Agama weidholzi in the type series of Agama boensis MONARD 1940 which is otherwise composed of Agama sankaranica CHABANAUD 1918 (fide BÖHME 2005). The designation by Wagner et al. (2009a) of ZFMK 15222 as neotype of A. agama (Linnaeus, 1758) was invalid since syntypes of A. agama are still extant and correspond to what is currently known as A. agama. Note however, that Linnaeus did not designate any types but rather referred to a plate in Seba 1734, depicting three different specimens (one Plica plica and two being Laudakia). In fact, none of the specimens in the Linnaean collection resembles the specimens figured on the plate in Seba. Hence the original type seems to be lost (Wagner, pers. comm., 12 Nov 2019). However, Mediannikov et al. argue that one of the specimens is indeed a type, although without much evidence.

Type species: Agama colonorum DAUDIN 1802 is the type species of the genus Agama DAUDIN 1802.

Etymology (wagneri): This species is dedicated to Philipp Wagner in recognition to his contribution to the study of the genus Agama.

Behavior: see LAMBORN 1913, HARRIS 1964. 
EtymologyThe genus and species are named after the word agama in the Surinamese Sranan Tongo language for lizard (fide Karataş & Çiçek 2022). Maybe also derived from Latin agamus,-a,-um = unmarried; or Greek ágamos (ἄγαμος) = unmarried, single; from the prefix a- (ἀ-) = non, not, un- and Greek gámos (γάμος) = marriage, wedding, wedlock, bridelock, matrimony. 
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