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Calotes versicolor (Daudin, 1802)

Indian Garden Lizard, Lizard, Calotes, Calotes versicolor

The oriental garden lizard (Calotes versicolor) is a species of agamidae family of lizards found widely distributed in indo-Malaya & has also been introduced in different parts of the world, locally known as Razgiti. The species is insectivores (feeds on insects). The male member of the species develops a bright black color over throat portion during the breeding season. The species attain maximum length of 16 inch from snout-to-vent where as in total length of body tail includes upto 14.5 inches. There are two spines present above each tympanum. Dorsal crest moderately elevated on the neck and anterior part of the trunk, extending on to the root of the tail in large individuals, and gradually disappearing on the middle of the trunk in younger ones. Body is covered with smile to large spines throughout snout to vent length, gular sac is not developed. 


Thirty-nine to forty-three series of scales are present around the middle of the trunk. The coloration in these species is much varied viz., grayish-olive, brownish, and yellowish. Dark black streaks starts from the eye and are continued over the throat sometimes, running backwards, belly greyish having longitudinal stripes, Juveniles and half-grown specimens are dark & black band can been seen dorsally. 

Generally a light brownish olive can be seen in all specimens, but can change it to black or bright red are mixture of both. The species seems to be very active but can be lethargic at low temperatures. Specimens show much of color variation depending on the region of their distribution. Active mostly during optimum temperature ranges (15-33 oC). The specimens can be found near residential areas, gardens forests, over trees etc. 

Scientific classification 
Kingdom :Animalia 
Phylum :Chordata 
Class :Reptilia 
Order :Squamata 
Family : Agamidae 
Genus : Calotes 
Species : versicolor 
Binomial name 
Calotes versicolor (Daudin, 1802) 

Males of this species become extremely territorial during breeding season when they daunt intruding males by doing patterns like "push-ups" & by brightening their red heads where each male during this phase tries to attract their counterparts by bloating his throat and drawing attention to his colored head & neck. 


The female of this species lays 5-16 soft oval eggs, of about 5/8 inch long, inside tree holes, in soil holes, afterward cover them up. The juvenile can be seen after 8 -9 weeks after egg laying. During day these can be sighted on a tree twigs or on a wall basking in the sun, with their mouth wide open. In the breeding time, the male's members head and shoulders becomes bright orange to crimson and throat black. They also turn red-headed after an effective battle with competitors. Unlike the other lizards of the reptilian group, they do not show autotomy in spite their tails grow long. Like most of the other reptiles, Calotes versicolor sheds their skin & like chameleons, Calotes is able to move their eyes in different directions. Calotes versicolor is widely distributed through South east Iran, China, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, United States, Singapore, India, Mauritius, Nepal, Vietnam, Cambodia, Celebes, Brunei, Oman, Seychelles, & Thailand. It is one of the most common species found in its range of habitats. These have adapted themselves well to residential areas and can be seen among the vegetation in open habitats including highly urban areas. 

Literature Cited: 

Asana, J. 1931. The natural history of Calotes versicolor, the common blood sucker. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 34: 1041-1047. 
Boulenger G.A.1890. The Fauna of British India including Ceylon and Burma, Reptilia and Batrachia. London: Taylor and Francis. 
Devasahayam, S., and Devasahayam, A. 1989. A peculiar food habit of the garden lizard Calotes versicolor (Daudin). J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 86:253. 
http://reptile-database.reptarium.cz/species?genus=Calotes&species=versicolor 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oriental_garden_lizard 
Manhas, A., Kotwal, A., Wanganeo, R.R. and Wanganeo, A., 2015. Diversity, Threats and conservation of Herpetofauna in and around Barkatullah University, Bhopal (MP), India. Int. J. Adv. Res. 3: 1546-1553. 
Manhas, A., Raina, R. and Wanganeo, A. 2018. Reptilian diversity of the Bhopal region of State Madhya Pradesh in Central India. IRCF Reptiles & Amphibians, 25 (2):104-114. 
Manhas, A., Raina, R., and Wanganeo, A. 2016. An addition to the reptilian diversity of Barkatullah university campus, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India. Int. J. Pure Appl. Zool., 4 (4): 306-309. 
Manhas, A., Raina, R., and Wanganeo, A., 2016. An assessment of reptilian diversity and their distribution in Jammu and Kashmir state from Jammu city in northern India: A case study. IJFBS 3: 20-23. 
Sahi, D.N. and Duda, P.L. (1985). A checklist and keys to the amphibians and reptiles of Jammu and Kashmir State, India. Bulletion of Chicago Herpetological Society, 20 (3-4): 86-97. 
Sahi, D.N. and Duda, P.L. (1986). Affinities and distribution of amphibians and reptiles of Jammu and Kashmir state (India). Bulletion of Chicago Herpetological Society, 21(3-4): 84-88. 
Smith, M.A. (1935). “Fauna of British India”, Reptilia and Amphibia. Vol. 2 (Sauria). Taylor and Francis, London.

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Herps Of Doda: Calotes versicolor (Daudin, 1802)
Calotes versicolor (Daudin, 1802)
Indian Garden Lizard, Lizard, Calotes, Calotes versicolor
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Herps Of Doda
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