Shield-tailed agama

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Shield-tailed agama
Xenagama taylori1.jpg
Xenagama taylori
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Sauria
Infraorder: Iguania
Family: Agamidae
Subfamily: Agaminae
Genus: Xenagama
Species: X. taylori
Binomial name
Xenogama taylori
(Parker, 1935)

The shield-tailed agama or turnip-tailed agama, Xenagama taylori, is a species of lizard in the family Agamidae. The species is endemic to the Horn of Africa.

Geographic range[edit]

X. taylori is found in Somalia and Ethiopia.

Habitat[edit]

X. taylori lives on arid, flat land, sometimes on hilly landscapes, sandy but also hard grounds, where it digs deep galleries. It survives at 45 to 50 °C (113 to 122 °F) maximum temperature, but average ranges between 25 and 35 °C (77 and 95 °F) in very dry environments, with the exception of strong spring storms and high humidity.

Description[edit]

Adults of X. taylori are less than 10 cm (4 inches) in total length (including tail), and hatchlings are just over a centimeter (3/8 inch) and weigh only 3 grams (0.11 ounce).

Defensive behavior[edit]

As its size makes it vulnerable to even small predators, X. taylori uses its spiny tail to block its burrows at night.

Diet[edit]

Being a small lizard, X. taylori is essentially insectivorous, but has been seen to eat grasses, fruits, and berries.

Sexual dimorphism[edit]

X. taylori is sexually dimorphic. Males are thinner and smaller, and their chins turn blue when excited. Males have larger anal pores enclosed by a waxy yellow substance.


Further reading[edit]

  • Flannery, Tim; Schouten, Peter (2004). Astonishing Animals: Extraordinary Creatures and the Fantastic Worlds They Inhabit. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press. (Xenagama taylori, p. 130).