28 September 2021

Arabian Toad-headed Agama - Sakaka

Whilst birdwatching the Sakaka area in northwest Saudi Arabia, I found a Toad-headed Agama. I have identified it due to its colouration, size and shape and the fact it was in sandy habitat rather than sabkha, but I am not an expert. This is a small lizard with a total length smaller than 20 cm. It has a head that looks as though it has armour. The tip of the tail changes to black colour and can coil resembling a scorpion, particularly when they are alarmed. They use this strategy to frighten predators by pretending to be like a dangerous scorpion. This is a diurnal species that can be found in dunes and open sandy areas with vegetation and rocks. They eat insects and other small invertebrates. They use the so-called "sit and wait" hunting strategy and they actively use visual orientation to search for food. Females lay eggs. The species ranges from south-eastern Jordan into the Arabian Peninsula, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Oman and Iran