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African redhead agama
Agama agama africana (Hallowell 1844)

Overview

Origin
African redhead agama, Agama agama africana, is an invasive lizard in eastern North America. There are at least 10 subspecies in this species. Populations are confirmed breeding and self-sustaining for 10 or more consecutive years. Populations are growing in number and expanding in range. It is native to most of sub-Saharan Africa.

Life Cycle
The agama lizard is characterized by a light colored underside and tan to light brown hind limbs. The long tail has a lighter stripe down the center with 6-7 dark patches to the side of this stripe. There is some sexual dimorphism. The subordinate males, females, and immatures have a large olive green head. The dominant male has a blue body and yellow tail and head. Male lizards can grow up to 10 in (25 cm) long and females up to about 8 in (20 cm) long. Females reach sexual maturity at age 14-18 months, males at two years. The female lays her eggs about 2 in (5 cm) deep, in sandy, wet, damp soil in full sunlight and covered by herbage or grasses. Females usually lay from 5-7 ellipsoidal eggs. Thermoregulation determines sex of the embryos. The eggs hatch in 8-10 weeks. Hatchlings will be about 1.5 in (3.8 cm) snoutvent length plus a 3 in (7.5 cm) tail. They will almost immediately start eating. They usually live in small groups with a dominant male, one or more females and several juveniles.

Distribution
Agama agama africana can occupy urban, suburban and wild areas that supply enough vegetation for reproduction and insects for food. They are sit-and-wait insect predators and feed on ants, spiders, beetles, grasshoppers, crickets and katydids. They are semi-arboreal terrestrial lizards and prefer dense humid forests to lowland forest savannahs. The population is growing and the territory is expanding.

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