Blanford's rock agama
|Blanford's rock agama|
|Hyderabad, A.P., India|
Blanford's rock agama (Psammophilus blanfordanus) is an agamid lizard found in Peninsular India and is named after William Thomas Blanford (1832–1905), member of the Geological Survey of India. It is one of two species in the genus and is found mainly to the east of the distribution of Psammophilus dorsalis. Unlike the other species, the male in breeding season has the red body color restricted to the head and lacks the broad dorsal stripe.
Although very similar to P. dorsalis, a specimen of P. blanfordus can be separated by several features such as a deeper fold on the front of the humerus, and the scales on body are a little larger, and range in numbers from 80 to 100 at the middle of the body, and the dorsal scales appear keeled and imbricated. When the hind leg is stretched forward and held along the body, it reaches the eye or extends beyond it. Often, a small spine is found behind the edge of the brow-ridge of the eye, and a few enlarged scales are scattered on the sides. Young lizards are olive-brown above, spotted or marbled with brown very similar to the female, but often have a series of large, lozenge-shaped, dark brown spots with pale centres on the back and tail. The adult male is much like P. dorsalis, but in the summer breeding season, the head and anterior part of the body of the males become scarlet or red while the posterior parts are nearly black.
They are found mainly on rocks. The male displays by head nodding.
From snout to vent, they are about 10 cm long and the tail is about 20 cm. Females are slightly smaller than the males.
This species is common on many of the hills from Chota Nagpur (as high as Parasnath Hill to 4,500 feet), Madhya Pradesh and extending south along the Godavari District, hills of the Eastern Ghats. The southernmost record appears to be Talayar in Travancore, where a specimen was collected by Harold S. Ferguson at 7,000 feet.
- Stoliczka,F. (1871). "Notes on new or little-known Indian lizards". Proc. asiat. Soc. Bengal: 192–195.
- Smith, M. A. (1941). Fauna of British India. Reptilia and Amphibia. Volume=2. Taylor and Francis, London. p. 210.
- Boulenger G.A. (1891). "Description of a new species of lizard obtained by Mr. H. S. Ferguson in Travancore South India". Journal of Bombay Natural History Society 6 (4): 449.
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