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Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless credited to others.
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Earless Agamid

Fig 1

Fig 2

Fig 3

Fig 4

Fig 5

Fig 6






Species : Aphaniotis fusca
Size (snout to vent) : 7.3 cm
Size (total length) : up to 23 cm (?)

Aphaniotis fusca (Earless Agamid) inhabits shaded areas of lowland primary forest, mature secondary forest, hill forest and swamp forest.

It is diurnal and arboreal in habits, and is typically seen on low vegetation or clinging to tree trunks. If disturbed, this lizard may leap a few feet from one tree to another. At night they typically rest on narrow branches or vines.

This species has been observed feeding on a variety of invertebrates including ants, termites, caterpillars, beetles, millipedes and forest cockroaches.

Its appearance can best be described as 'spindly', with a narrow body, long slender legs and a long tail. Iris colour is variable, but a blue iris appears to only occur in males, which also have blue oral mucosa (lining of the mouth). The vertebral crest, above the neck area, is not spiny and is low in profile. The external ear drum, or tympanum, is hidden beneath small scales (hence the 'earless' name).

Some populations are plain greenish-brownish in colour, but in others there may be pale markings around the shoulders, or pale markings along the vertebral line.

When seen in silhouette, this lizard may at first glance be mistaken for a gliding lizard (Draco sp.). There may be competition in some habitats between Aphaniotis fusca and Draco melanopogon (Black-bearded Gliding Lizard), especially for ants and other climbing insects; this may explain why Aphaniotis fusca occurs low to the forest floor, away from gliding lizards.

Aphaniotis fusca occurs in undisturbed forests in southern Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, Sumatra, Borneo and adjacent island groups.

Fig 1 : Adult example in lowland, mature, secondary forest near freshwater swamp forest; this is interpreted as a male based on colour of the iris. Seen in Singapore.

Figs 2 and 3 : Adult example with mottled brown and orange markings around the shoulders and golden iris; this is interpreted as a male based on the blue colour of the oral mucosa (Fig 3).  Seen at Gunung Kledang, Perak, Peninsular Malaysia.

Fig 4 : Adult male with blue iris in lowland primary forest at Taman Negara, Pahang, Peninsular Malaysia.

Figs 5 and 6 : Adult with brown iris in mature secondary  forest in Singapore.

References : H11