That's a little bit beside the point, really, so to make up for it, here's a member of the family of reptiles most widely referred to as dragons:
|Photographed in Chongwe, Lusaka, Zambia in December 2013, using Olympus E-420 DSLR with Zuiko 70-300mm Telephoto lens.|
I was about six, so I've forgiven myself. They're actually, for the English-Speaking world, Agamas (alright, that's not originally English, but it's been subsumed internationally, so it counts) - perhaps best known by Australian representatives such as Pogona vitticeps, (Warlpiri - Japantarra / Mantalyarrpa; English - Central Bearded Dragon).
Back to the story, these once common lizards have not fared all that well in the Lusaka area. While this species remains common in parts of the outskirts, it quickly disappears in areas where ants are being poisoned (much like the more synanthropic gecko Lygodactylus (cf) capensis featured around St. George's last year) and neither this nor the (unfeatured) blueskop survives any real density of the domestic cats.
It doesn't help that two longish teeth at the front of their jaws look a little bit like tiny fangs, and have created an urban myth that their bite is highly venomous. In the unlikely event that they are, the delivery of the venom is unimpressive - for aggressive though they are when handled, they've yet to cause any deaths. That doesn't stop them being beaten to death on sight in many areas of Lusaka, however.
If you are lucky enough to have these in your garden, please, please, please, don't beat them to death. Keep any cats indoors or under control - an invisible fence and electric collar combination might seem cruel, but in addition to protecting your wildlife in the excluded areas of your garden, it will also stop your cat ending up as roadkill. So it's win-win, really.
To break up that rather lengthy monologue, here's another picture:
|Same lizard, same place, same day. Same camera, too, but with a low flash to give a little more light - hence weird shadows.|
And, as touched upon in the earlier block of endless text, is harmless and really quite valuable ant control.
And, with all that dispensed with, let's have a peek at the taxonomy:
See also Lygodactylus capensis, Thelotornis capensis, Zootoca vivipara, Trachylepis varia and Trachylepis wahlbergi.
See also Caprimulgus pectoralis, Tockus alboterminatus, Larus argentatus, Sterna hirundo, Burhinus vermiculatus, Troglodytes troglodytes, Megaceryle maxima, Ardea goliath, Chalcophaps indica and Stigmatopelia senegalensis.
See also Synchiropus splendidus.- Teleostomi
See also Burtoa nilotica, Alopecosa barbipes, Ligia oceanica, Dysdera crocata, Phrynarachne rugosa, Hyllus argyrotoxus, Enoplognatha ovata, Argiope bruennichi, Pardosa amentata, Dicranopalpus ramosus, Eremoides bicristatus, Hagenomyia tristis, Dichtha inflata, Oedemera nobilis, Otiorhynchus atroapterus,Malachius bipustulatus , Phyllobius pomaceus, Cheilomenes lunata, Melolontha melolontha, Neojulodis vittipennis, Demetrias atricapillus, Anthia fornasinii, Lophyra cf. differens, Synagris proserpina, Vespula germanica, Astata tropicalis, Anthophora furcata, Andrena nigroaenea, Zebronia phenice, Crambus pascuella, Nemophora degeerella, Sphinx ligustri, Laelia robusta, Acada biseriata, Metisella willemi, Anthocharis cardamines, Papilio demodocus, Panorpa germanica, Chloromyia formosa, Senaspis haemorrhoa, Helophilus pendulus, Episyrphus balteatus, Metadon inermis, Diasemopsis meigenii, Dolichotachina caudata, Megistocera filipes, Pephricus, Grypocoris stysi, Ranatra, Anoplocnemis curvipes, Idolomantis dentifrons, Sibylla pretiosa, Tettigonia viridissima, Stictogryllacris punctata, Enyaliopsis, Humbe tenuicornis, Lobosceliana loboscelis, Cyathosternum prehensile, Heteropternis thoracica, Pseudothericles jallae, Enallagma cyathigerum, Pseudagrion hageni, Lestinogomphus angustus, Rhyothemis semihyalina and Orthetrum brachiale.
And that, I believe, is all, folks!
* A. armata was formerly considered a subspecies of the Spiny Agama, A. aculeata. Branch (Snakes and Reptiles of Southern Africa) gives length of tail as a distinguishing character; elsewhere the striped throat of A. aculeata is treated as more useful; this specimen has a faintly speckled or very lightly reticulated throat, in keeping with A. armata, but a tail somewhat longer than head and body combined, which would support A. aculeata. As references to A. aculeata being resident to Zambia do not seem to take into account the splitting of the species, and in some cases refer specifically to the A.aculeata armata subspecies, and this was photographed so close to the capital, it is taken on the balance that this is the species named in the text, and not A. aculeata. But be aware that I could be very wrong.