The Southern Rock agama (Agama atra) / Bloukop Koggelmander
South Africa’s Southern Rock agama is a family member of the Australian Bearded dragon. Although these two lizard species are about 10 000 km / 6 400 miles apart, there are a few interesting similarities between them.
Southern Rock agamas (Agama atra) are described as rather sociable, diurnal, insectivorous lizards, growing up to about 25cm / 10″ in length. Hence the Afrikaans name ‘Bloukop koggelmander‘, the heads of the males become bright blue during the breeding season. The females are shy compared to their male counterparts and is mainly greyish-brown in colour.
Just like Bearded dragons, Agamas are also from the Family Agamidae which includes all the Old world lizards. Agamidae consist of a very diverse family of so called ‘dragons’ found in Asia, Africa, Europe, Middle East and Australia. All of them have large mouths and distinctive shaped heads with spikes or thorn-like structures. Compared to the Inland Bearded dragon, Agamas are significantly smaller, less robust, quite agile and definitely not as docile.
Interestingly, Southern Rock agamas have the ability to change their colouration. This is not quite the same as with chameleons, but for example the males can lose their intense breeding colours in favour of more cryptic colouration.