You are here » home advanced search search results Phrynocephalus versicolor

Phrynocephalus versicolor STRAUCH, 1876

IUCN Red List - Phrynocephalus versicolor - Least Concern, LC

Can you confirm these amateur observations of Phrynocephalus versicolor?

Add your own observation of
Phrynocephalus versicolor »

Find more photos by Google images search: Google images

Higher TaxaAgamidae (Agaminae), Sauria, Iguania, Squamata (lizards)
SubspeciesPhrynocephalus versicolor doriai BEDRIAGA 1909
Phrynocephalus versicolor siebenrocki BEDRIAGA 1909
Phrynocephalus versicolor versicolor STRAUCH 1876 
Common NamesE: Tuvan Toad-headed Agama
Russian: Пестрая круглоголовка
Chinese: 变色沙蜥 
SynonymPhrynocephalus versicolor STRAUCH 1876: 18
Phrynocephalus versicolor — BOULENGER 1885: 374
Phrynocephalus guentheri BEDRIAGA 1906: 168
Phrynocephalus blanfordi BEDRIAGA 1907
Phrynocephalus ciliaris BEDRIAGA 1907
Phrynocephalus versicolor var. Doriai BEDRIAGA 1909: 332
Phrynocephalus versicolor var. Bogdanowi BEDRIAGA 1909: 334
Phrynocephalus helioscopus var. levis KASHTCHENKO 1909: 122
Phrynocephalus Potanini BEDRIAGA 1909: 389
Phrynocephalus pewzowi
Phrynocephalus versicolor versicolor — NIKOLSKY 1915: 188
Phrynocephalus versicolor doriai — NIKOLSKY 1915: 190
Phrynocephalus versicolor bogdanowi — NIKOLSKY 1915: 191
Phrynocephalus rostralis ZAREVSKY 1930
Phrynocephalus parvulus ZAREVSKY 1927 (fide POPE 1935)
Phrynocephalus stejnegeri BANNIKOV 1958: 78 (nomen nudum)
Phrynocephalus versicolor — WERMUTH 1967: 89
Phrynocephalus immaculatus ZHAO 1995: 47
Phrynocephalus versicolor — WANG et al. 2003
Phrynocephalus (Phrynocephalus) versicolor versicolor — BARABANOV & ANANJEVA 2007
Phrynocephalus immaculatus — ANANJEVA 2011
Phrynocephalus versicolor — DUNAYEV et al. 2021

Phrynocephalus versicolor siebenrocki BEDRIAGA 1909
Phrynocephalus versicolor var. siebenrocki BEDRIAGA 1909: 232
Phrynocephalus versicolor var. Siebenrocki — BEDRIAGA 1909: 333
Phrynocephalus versicolor siebenrocki — NIKOLSKY 1915: 191
Phrynocephalus versicolor siebenrocki — MILTO & BARABANOV 2012: 165 
DistributionW China (Xinjiang, Gansu, Ningxia, Nei Mongol = Inner Mongolia), (Siberia), SE Russia (Tuva), Mongolia

doriai: Chian (Zinjiang); Terra typica restricta: "See Ebi-nor" [= Ebinur Lake, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China].

Type locality: Alashan Desert, N China  
TypesLectotype: ZISP 3929.1 (designated by Peters, 1984: 36)
Lectotype: ZISP 5117.1 (designated by Peters, 1984). “See Ebinor” [= Ebinur lake, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China]. Leg: N. M. Przewalsky, 1878; however, Barabanov & Ananjeva 2007: 20 state that there is no type [doriai]
Holotype: ZISP 5156, “zwischen Metschin-Ola und der Stadt Barkul” [between Mieh-Ch’eng-O-La Shan (about 30 km northeast of Barkol) and Barkol, approx. 43°55’ N 93°00 E, Barkol county, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China]. Leg: G. N. Potanin, 1878 [siebenrocki] 
DiagnosisPholidosis. 18 – 30 scales across cap; 2 – 3 internasals (individually — 4); 9 – 13 supraciliars; 8 – 14 scales between parietal and supranasals; 10 – 17 supraand infralabials on each side of the head; 3 – 4 (rarely 5) rows of infraorbitals; 42 – 49 rows of granulars on throat; 21 – 27 scales on outside of fourth finger of hindlimb (Dunayev et al. 2021).

Color in life. Dorsum of body grey (usually the color of substrate on which the lizard lives), but can be smoky (fumosus), mouse-gray (murinus), bluish-gray (cyaneogriseus), ash-gray (atro-cinereus), dark sandy (atro-arenicolor), leathery-brown (alutaceus) or pale reddish-brown (rubro-argillaceus) in gravelly desert to beige-sandy (arenicolor), Isabel (isabellinus), terracotta (testaceus), marble-rose (marmoreo-roseum), dark incarnate (intense incarnatus), or corpulent-pink (incarnate-roseus) in sandy deserts. Dorsal patterns of these substrate races differ by the number of dark transversal bands (Fig. 2). Gravel form has either two black (niger, ater) or blackish (nigricans, atratus) pairs of bands (above scapulas and in front of thighs) or no bands. Sandy race has three pairs of brown (cinnamomeus), dark sandy (atro-arenicolor), salmon (salmoneus), pale brown (argillaceus), brownish (fuscatus, fumanus), brownish-yellowish (fulvidus), leather-brown (alutaceus), reddish (rufescens, fulvus), terracotta (testaceus), or Isabel (isabellinus) of bands; central pair is usually smaller and is occasionally substituted by small spots. Bands in the sandy race are black, often with intermittent edging of different thickness, which thickens and often turns into dark (black, blackish) transversal spots (oblique strips) on the dorsum of pelvic region, tail and limbs. Up to 7 – 9 bands on dorsum of the tail. Bands are largest in proximal part and usually have a narrowing or white stripe in center. Anterior (suprascapular) and posterior (in front of hips) bands often merge together along sides of body in both races. Edges in the sandy form fringed with whitish (albidus) or whitish-gray (canescens) elongated spots, occasionally with gray, often intermittent, edging. Individual black scales and white, elongated and often curved spots are scattered on the back (especially in individuals of sandy race). In the axillary region, there is a pink-violet (roseolo-violaceus), reddish-brown (fuscato-rubidus), rusty (ferrugineus), or orange-red (aurantius) spot with framing ranging from cornflower blue (cyaneus), dark azure (atro-cyaneus), or pale blue (pallido-caeruleus) to intensely blue (caeruleus) along the inner edge. A smaller spot of blue shade occurs above the groin area (especially in gravelly substrate race). When preserved, spots become pinkish-yellow, and frame is completely discolored. Between the fore and hind limbs, an unclear light band or a series of whitish spots with a dark thin edging occurs. The contrasting border between lateral and abdominal surfaces is wavy because of the white spots. Throat, belly and ventral surface of limbs monochromatic white, but occasionally throat and chest are slightly darker. Ventral surface of tail of young specimens white, with an average of five coalblack transverse bands (widest bands usually located distally; broken-up and obliquely oriented bands occur proximally). White gaps occur between bands. Cloacal region of immature individuals pale lemon yellow (pallido-citrinus), distal end of tail black. Yellowness in the cloacal region disappears with age; contrast and number of dark transverse bands on ventral surface of tail decreases to 3 – 4 (posterior-most band remains most pronounced, but occasionally almost invisible). Juvenile’s type of coloring of ventral surface of tail persists longer in females (Fig. 4A) (Dunayev et al. 2021).

Golubev (1993) gives a description of P. v. hispida and P. v. doriai. 
CommentSubspecies: Wang & Fu (2004) suggested to apply the name P. versicolor only to the populations in the northwestern part of its distribution area. Populations from Tengger Desert, Ordos highland, and further east include P. frontalis, P. przewalskii, and P. versicolor and should be called P. przewalskii. Some populations may contain a new species that remains to be described. Guo & Wang (2007) recognized populations in Kuytun, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region as P. guttatus instead of P. versicolor. Dunayev et al. 2021 elevated hispidus and kulagini to full species status and thus removed them from versicolor, but they did not comment on either doriai or siebenrocki. Ganbold et al. 2022 considered kulagini and hispidus as subspecies of versicolor, but showed in their phylogenetic analysis that they are paraphyletic with versicolor, hence we keep them as valid species (note, however, that their phylogeny is only based on a 522 bp fragment of ND2).

Synonymy partly after BARABANOV & ANANJEVA (2007) who consider doriai and hispidus as synonyms of versicolor (and thus recognize only 2 subspecies: versicolor and kulagini), but see subspecies above. 
  • ANANJEVA, Natalia B.; Xianguang GUO and Yuezhao WANG 2011. Taxonomic Diversity of Agamid Lizards (Reptilia, Sauria, Acrodonta, Agamidae) from China: A Comparative Analysis. Asian Herpetological Research 2 (3): 117-128 - get paper here
  • Ananjeva, Natalia B.;Tuniyev, Boris S. 1992. Historical biogeography of the Phrynocephalus species of the USSR. Asiatic Herpetological Research 4: 76-98 - get paper here
  • BARABANOV, A.V. & N.B. ANANJEVA 2007. Catalogue of the available scientific species-group names for lizards of the genus Phrynocephalus Kaup, 1825 (Reptilia, Sauria, Agamidae). Zootaxa 1399: 1-56 - get paper here
  • Bedriaga, J. von 1907. Wissenschaftliche Resultate der von N. M. Przewalski nach Central-Asien unternommenen Reisen.Zoologischer Theil, Amphibien und Reptilien, Band 3, Abt. 1, Lieferung 2: Lacertilia (Gekkonidae, Agamidae). Kaiserl. Akad. Wissensch., St. Petersburg, pages 71-278
  • Bedriaga, J.V. 1909. Amphibien und Reptilien. In: Wissenschaftliche Resultate der Reisen N.M. Przewalskijs durch Zentralasien. Zoologische Teil. Band 3. Part 1. Lacertilia. (in Russian). Sankt-Petersburg, Vol 3 (1) 3: 73-102, 367 - get paper here
  • 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
  • Buehler, Matthew D.; Purevdorj Zoljargal, Erdenetushig Purvee, Khorloo Munkhbayar, Munkhbayar Munkhbaatar, Nyamsuren Batsaikhan, Natalia B. Ananjeva, Nikolai L. Orlov, Theordore J. Papenfuss, Diego Roldán-Pińa, - Douchindorj, Larry Lee Grismer, Jamie 2021. The Results of Four Recent Joint Expeditions to the Gobi Desert: Lacertids and Agamids. Russian Journal of Herpetology 28 (1): 15-32 - get paper here
  • Dujsebayeva, T. N. (ed.) 2010. Short review of last changes in the checklist of amphibians and reptiles of Kazakhstan. [in Russian]. In: Dujsebayeva, T. N. (ed.) Herpetological Researches in Kazakhstan and adjacent countries, p. 37-52
  • Dunaev E.A., Orlova V.F. 2017. Amphibians and reptiles of Russia. Atlas and determination. 2nd. ed. Moscow: Phyton XXI, 328 p
  • Dunayev, E. A. 1996. On the possible use of the Ethological features in the taxonomy and phylogeny of toad agamas, Phrynocephalus (Reptilia, Agamidae). Russ. J. Herpetol. 3 (1): 32-38 - get paper here
  • Dunayev, Evgeny A.; Evgeniya N. Solovyeva, Nikolay A. Poyarkov 2021. Systematics, Phylogeny, and Evolution of Phrynocephalus (Superspecies przewalskii) (Reptilia: Agamidae). Russian Journal of Herpetology 28 (1): 43-59 - get paper here
  • Eifler, Douglas A; Maria A Eifler 2019. Movement and habitat use by adult and juvenile Toad-headed Agama lizards (Phrynocephalus versicolor Strauch, 1876) in the eastern Gobi Desert, Mongolia. Herpetology Notes 12: 717-719 - get paper here
  • Ganbold, Onolragchaa; Erdenetushig Purevee, Munkhbayar Khorloo, Ariunbold Jargalsaikhan, Terbish Khayankhyarvaa, Altangoo Ochirbat, Zoljargal Purevdorj & Munkhbaatar Munkhbayar 2022. Strong Population Genetic Structure of Phrynocephalus versicolor in Mongolia Herpetologica 78(1): 21–29. - get paper here
  • Golubev, M.L. 1993. The variegated toad agama in Djungar Gate (Eastern Kazakstan) with notes on certain systematic problems of Phrynocephalus versicolor Str. (Reptilia, Agamidae). Asiatic Herpetological Research 5: 51-58 - get paper here
  • Guo, X. & Wang, Y. 2007. Partitioned Bayesian analyses, dispersal–vicariance analysis, and the biogeography of Chinese toad-headed lizards (Agamidae: Phrynocephalus): A re-evaluation. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 45 (2): 643-662 - get paper here
  • Kashtchenko, Nikolai F. [as KASCENKO] 1909. The reptiles and amphibians collected by the expeditions of 1902-6 and 1908 by Prof. V. V. Saposnikov in Central Asia. [in Russian]. Annu. Mus. Zool. Acad. Imper. Sci., St. Petersburg, 14(1-2): 119-130 - get paper here
  • Lambert, M.R.K. 2002. Preliminary observations on herpetofaunal diversity in the Almaty region, Southern Kazakhstan (September 1998). Herpetological Bulletin (79): 7-13 - get paper here
  • Manilo, Valantina V.;Golubev, Michael L. 1993. Karyotype information on some toad agamas of the Phrynocephalus guttatus species group (Sauria, Agamidae) of the former USSR. Asiatic Herpetological Research 5: 105-108 - get paper here
  • MCGRATH, CASEY. 2022. Highlight: Yellow is the New Black for Gobi Desert Lizards. Genome Biology and Evolution 14(7): evac095. - get paper here
  • Milto, Konstantin D.; Andrei V. Barabanov 2012. A Catalogue of the Agamid and Chamaeleonid Types in the Collection of the Zoological Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg. Russ. J. Herpetol. 19 (2): 155-170 - get paper here
  • Munkhbayar, Munkhbaatar; Terbish Khayankhyarvaa, Onolragchaa Ganbold, Zoljargal Purevdorj, Burnee Mundur, Gurragchaa Jargalsaikhan, Munkhbayar Khorloo 2020. A Herpetofaunal Survey of Northwestern Mongolia with the First Country Record of the Moorfrog, Rana arvalis Nilsson 1842. IRCF Reptiles & Amphibians 27 (2): 154-160
  • Nikolsky, A. M. 1905. Herpetologia rossica. Mem. Acad. Imp. Sci., Phys.-Math. Classe, St. Pétersbourg, XVII (1): 1-518
  • Orlova V.F., Dunayev E.A., Nazarov R.A., Terbish Kh., Erdentushig P. 2014. Materials on the South-Western Mongolia herpetofauna. Current Studies in Herpetology 14 (1/2): 32–43 - get paper here
  • Pang, Junfeng; Yuezhao Wang, Yang Zhong, A. Rus Hoelzel, Theodore J. Papenfuss, Xiaomao Zeng, Natalia B. Ananjeva and Ya-ping Zhang 2003. A phylogeny of Chinese species in the genus Phrynocephalus (Agamidae) inferred from mitochondrial DNA sequences. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 27: 398-409 - get paper here
  • Pope, CLIFFORD H. 1935. The Reptiles of China. Turtes, Crocodilians, Snakes, Lizards. Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist., New York, Nat. Hist. Central Asia, 10: lii, 1-604 - get paper here
  • Strauch in: PRZEWALSKI, N.M. 1876. Mongoliya i Strana Tangutov. Tryokhletneye puteshestviye v Vostochnoj Nagoruoj Asii (= Mongolia and the Tangut Country. A Three-Year Travel in Eastern High Asia). Volumes 1-2. Imper. Russ. Geogr. Soc., St. Petersburg (in Russian; English edition, London 1876, French edition, Paris 1880, German edition, Jena 1887; abridged Russian edition with added notes, Moscow 1946). - get paper here
  • Szczerbak, N.N. 2003. Guide to the Reptiles of the Eastern Palearctic. Krieger, Malabar, FL, 260 pp. - get paper here
  • TANG, Xiaolong; Feng YUE, Ming MA, Ningbo WANG, Jianzheng HE and Qiang CHEN 2012. Effects of Thermal and Hydric Conditions on Egg Incubation and Hatchling Phenotypes in Two Phrynocephalus Lizards. Asian Herpetological Research 3 (3): 184–191 - get paper here
  • Tong H, Li J, Wo Y;Gang Shao; Wei Zhao; Diana Aguilar‐Gómez & Yuanting Jin 2019. Effects of substrate color on intraspecific body color variation in the toad‐headed lizard, Phrynocephalus versicolor. Ecol Evol. 2019: 00:1–10 - get paper here
  • Tzarevsky [= Carevskij], S. 1927. Les lézards du genre Phrynocephalus, collectionnés par les expéditions de P. Koslov au Tibet en 1899-1901 et en Mongolie et Sze-Tschwan 1907-1909 [in Russian with French title]. Comptes Rendus de l’Académie des Sci- ences de l’URSS, 1927: 303–306
  • Wang, Kai; Jinlong Ren, Hongman Chen, Zhitong Lyu, Xianguang Guo Ke Jiang, Jinmin Chen, Jiatang Li, Peng Guo, Yingyong Wang, Jing Che 2020. The updated checklists of amphibians and reptiles of China. Biodiversity Science 28 (2): 189-218 - get paper here
  • Wang, Y. & Fu, J. 2004. Cladogenesis and vicariance patterns in the toad-headed lizard Phrynocephalus versicolor species complex. Copeia 2004 (2): 199-206 - get paper here
  • Wang, Yuezhao; Wang, Huizhao 1993. Geographic variation and diversity in three species of Phrynocephalus in the Tengger Desert, Western China. Asiatic Herpetological Research 5: 65-73 - get paper here
  • Yadamsuren, Oyunchuluun; James D. Murdoch, Suvdtsetseg Chuluunbat, Erdenetushig Purevee, Munkhbaatar Munkhbayar, Ariunbold Jargalsaikhan, Zoljargal Purevjargal, Munkhbayar Khorloo and Terbish Khayankhyarvaa 2018. Estimating Occupancy and Detectability of Toad Headed Agamas at the Periphery of Their Range in Mongolia. Journal of Herpetology 52 (3): 361-368. - get paper here
  • Zhao,E. & Adler,K. 1993. Herpetology of China. SSAR, Oxford/Ohio, 1-522
External links  
Is it interesting? Share with others:

As link to this species use URL address:

without field 'search_param'. Field 'search_param' is used for browsing search result.

Please submit feedback about this entry to the curator