Spring Break 2018: Agama Maximus

Agama picticauda, the African redhead agama;
Miami-Dade county, Florida (17 March 2018).
Series: Spring Break 2018.

Every time I hit south Florida, the glory of the Miami area beckons me for some good old fashioned Anolis Lizard Time™. To be honest, however, my beloved anoles, native and non-native alike, have another genus chasing and bobbing after my heart: the Agamas. More specifically, the African redhead agama, sometimes referred to as Agama picticauda (see this post for an overview of classification woes regarding non-native agamas in Florida).

The agamas in Florida seem to be steadily expanding northward. Though they haven’t quite reached my corner of Volusia county just yet, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them show up within a decade. Fast, alert, and visually sharp, these little afterburners know how to defensively use Florida’s various habitats. Though they prefer rocky, hard surfaces such as walls and sidewalks, they’ll also take to trees and give the anoles a run for their money. Because they’re so fast and defensive, they can also be somewhat difficult to get close to and/or catch. On this particular trip, we didn’t really go for any hand’s-on contact with the agamas. I settled instead for a few cursory shots with my old, dying zoom lens. That’s good enough for me, I suppose, but I must admit that while typing this I now really want to get my hands on another agama.

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