12 October 2014

Sinai Agama - Wadi Juwwah, Jizan

This photo was taken in Wadi Juwwah in May where the animal was seen sitting on a roadside boulder. Although drab and inconspicuous throughout much of the year, during the breeding season the male Sinai agama becomes instantly recognizable for its vivid sky-blue colouration. This colouration can extend over the entire head and body or just the head and throat, while the tail and body remain brown. The females and juveniles retain the brown colouration throughout the year, but usually have a red crescent-shaped spot on the flanks, behind the forelimb. Other distinctive features of this species include a large ear opening behind the eye, long limbs and a thin, cylindrical tail that is over one and half times the length of the body. A fast and agile climber, the Sinai Agama is well adapted to its arid, rocky habitat where it is normally found amongst foothills and mountains. As hunting takes place during the day, this species relies on its long legs to raise its body off the hot substrate while waiting for insect prey to emerge. Ants and other small insects are commonly taken, often with large quantities of sand. The Sinai agama has a relatively large range extending from south-east Libya, east through Egypt, Sinai, Israel, Jordan and Syria, as far as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Oman, and south as far as east Sudan, Ethiopia and Eritrea.