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Agama cristata MOCQUARD, 1905

IUCN Red List - Agama cristata - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaAgamidae (Agaminae), Sauria, Iguania, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Insular Agama 
SynonymAgama cristata MOCQUARD 1905: 288
Agama cristata — GUIBÉ 1954
Agama cristata — TRAPE 2011
Agama cristata — MEDIANNIKOV, TRAPE & TRAPE 2012: 130 
DistributionGuinea (Conakry), Mali

Type locality: Bomanesco (Sankaran) in Guinea  
TypesHolotype: MNHN-RA 1901.0394 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. A large species of Agama (total length of adult male up to 340 mm), which is characterized by its bluish-black colouration on the throat and the large nuchal and tail crests of adult males. The species differs from nearly all other Agama species in having a large tail crest, usually reaching the last third of the tail. Only three other species, A. boulengeri, A. kirkii and A. knobeli, have such a prominent tail crest.

Agama cristata differs in detail from: (1) A. boulengeri in (a) higher numbers of scales rows around midbody (97 to 123 in A. boulengeri and 111 to 147 [latter value fide LAURENT1947] in A. cristata); in (b) having smaller relative head height, head width and head length; and (c) males of A. boulengeri have a lower number of tail-crest-scales and a lower length of the tail-crest. (d) male coloration (larger ocelli, lower parts of the throat and gular fold deep bluish-black).
(2) A. kirkiiin (a) having smaller body scales; (b) dorsal scales are smaller than ventral scales; and (c) in having no narrow blue and white banded tail (d) a geographic distribution confined to northern parts of southern Africa (Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Botswana).
(3) A. knobeliis herein recognized as a valid species, because we recognized striking dissimilarities in morphology between A.knobeliand the former nominate form A. atra: Agama atrais lacking the prominent large tail crestand has more spinose scales as A.knobeli, but further research on the relationships of these two species is in need. However, A. knobeli differs from A. cristata in (a) having larger body scales, (b) dorsal scales in same size as ventral scales and (c) in having a pale vertebral stripe in nuptial coloured adult males, and (d) a geographic distribution restricted to Namibia. 
CommentSynonymy: Wermuth (1967) lists this species with a question mark indicating uncertain status. Agama insularis CHABANAUD 1918: 161 has been revalidated from the synonymy of A. cristata by TRAPE 2011.

Nomenclature: Agama cristata is a junior primary homonym of Agama cristata MERREM 1820 (= Corytophanes cristatus (Iguanidae) according to BARABANOV (2008). However, WAGNER & BÖHME (2009) did not accept this suggestion because in accordance to article 23.9.5 of the ICZN (1999) the author failed to refer the case to the Commission of Zoological Nomenclature which would be necessary because both taxa are not congeneric since 1827, where BOIE (in SCHLEGEL1827) connects Merrem’s cristata as type species with his newly described genus Corythophanes.

Distribution: MEDIANNIKOV et al. 2012 give only Mali as distribution. Not in Benin fide ULLENBRUCH et al. 2010. 
  • Barts, M. & Wilms, T. 2003. Die Agamen der Welt. Draco 4 (14): 4-23 - get paper here
  • Böhme, W. 1985. Zoogeographical patterns of the lizard fauna of the African subsaharan savanna belt, with preliminary description of a new chameleon. In: Schuchmann, Karl-L. (Hrsg.): Proceedings of the International Symposium on African Vertebrates. Systematics, Phylogeny and Evolutionary Ecology. - Museum A. Koenig (Bonn), Vol. 4: 471-478.
  • Böhme, Wolfgang, Mark-Oliver Rödel, Christian Brede & Philipp Wagner 2011. The reptiles (Testudines, Squamata, Crocodylia) of the forested southeast of the Republic Guinea (Guinée forestière), with a country-wide checklist. Bonn zoological Bulletin 60 (1): 35-61 - get paper here
  • Chabanaud,P. 1918. Etude d’une collection de reptiles de l’Afrique occidentale francais. Bull. Mus. nation. Mist. nat. Paris 24: 160-166
  • Mediannikov, Oleg; Sébastien Trape, Jean-François Trape 2012. A Molecular Study of the Genus Agama (Squamata: Agamidae) in West Africa, with Description of Two New Species and a Review of the Taxonomy, Geographic Distribution, and Ecology of Currently Recognized Species. Russ. J. Herpetol. 19 (2): 115-142 - get paper here
  • Mocquard, M.F. 1905. Description de deux nouvelles especes de Reptiles. Bull. Mus. Hist. Nat., Paris 11: 288-290 - get paper here
  • Trape, J.F.; Trape, S. & Chirio, L. 2012. Lézards, crocodiles et tortues d'Afrique occidentale et du Sahara. IRD Orstom, 503 pp. - get paper here
  • Trape, Jean-François 2011. Agama cristata Mocquard, 1905 and Agama insularis Chabanaud, 1918 (Squamata, Agamidae): Two Valid West African Species. Journal of Herpetology 45 (3): 352-354. - get paper here
  • Wagner, P.; Ineich, I.; Leaché, A.D.; Wilms, T.M.; Trape, S.; Böhme, W. & Schmitz, A. 2009. Studies on African Agama VI. Taxonomic status of the West African Agama (Sauria: Agamidae) with prominent tail crests: Agama boulengeri Lataste 1886, Agama insularis Chabanaud, 1918 and Agama cristata Mocquard, 1905. Bonner zoologische Beiträge 56 (4): 239–253 - get paper here
  • Wagner, Philipp and Wolfgang Böhme 2009. On the Nomenclatural Status of Agama cristata Mocquard, 1905: A Reply to A. Barabanov (2008). Russ. J. Herpetol. 16 (2): 161-162 - get paper here
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