Feeding, social behaviour and temperature preferences in Agama atra Daudin (Reptilia, Agamidae)

  • M.N. Bruton


Agama atra is mainly insectivorous, ants being the main food of juveniles, and larger insects that of adults. The lizards are territorial and hierarchical and perform elaborate aggressive and courtship displays on prominent rocks. In the field, routine activities commence at an air temperature of about 19°C and reach a peak at the hottest time of the day. Lizards acclimated at 26,5°C in a vivarium showed a modal preference for temperatures from 32° to 34,9°C; those at 39,4°C for temperatures from 35° to 43,9°C. Pre-chilled and pre-warmed lizards increased and reduced body temperatures respectively by behavioural means. Submissive and protective behaviour affected temperature preferenda. A. atra is a heliothermic ectotherm capable of selecting optimal temperature zones and modifying body temperature by basking and adopting different postures and orientations in relation to the heat source.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2224-073X
print ISSN: 1562-7020