Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Oriental Garden Lizard

An Oriental Garden Lizard (Calotes versicolor) photographed in Kandy, Sri Lanka
An Oriental Garden Lizard

The Oriental Garden Lizard is widely distributed throughout Asia and has also been introduced to many other parts of the world. It is an insectivore which is often incorrectly referred to as the bloodsucker due to it's red throat. More images and info after the jump.

An Oriental Garden Lizard (Calotes versicolor) photographed in Kandy, Sri Lanka
An Oriental Garden Lizard

The coloration of these lizards vary from an uniform brownish or greenish olive or yellowish. The ground colour of the lizard is generally a light brownish olive but the lizard can change it to bright red or black or even a mixture of the two. This change is sometimes confined to the head but can also be distributed throughout the body and tail. Black streaks radiate from the eye and some of them are continued over the throat, running obliquely backwards. These bright changeable colours are peculiar to the male during breeding season. 

It is very common in Sri Lanka and the specimens found on the island seem to be relatively large. A specimen measuring 16 inches has been recorded in Sri Lanka. 

An Oriental Garden Lizard (Calotes versicolor) photographed in Kandy, Sri Lanka
An Oriental Garden Lizard

Males are highly territorial during the mating season. They are known to discourage intruding males by brightening their red heads. The males try to attract females by inflating their throats and drawing attention to its coloured head. About 10 - 20 eggs are laid and buried in moist soil. The eggs are long, covered with leathery skin and are known to hatch in about 6 - 7 weeks. 

The lizard is known to feed on insects, and small vertebrates, including rodents and other lizards. The lizards teeth are designed to grip prey and not to tear it up. Prey is swallowed whole after it has been captured and stunned by shaking it vigorously. 

 An Oriental Garden Lizard (Calotes versicolor) photographed in Kandy, Sri Lanka
A male Oriental Garden Lizard

These images were shot in Kandy, with the Canon 7D and the 100 - 400mm lens.
Share on Facebook

6 comments:

Mary Howell Cromer said...

What fun images, really neat little lizards~

Gallicissa said...

Good, sharp shots.
Displaying males of these look good photo subjects.

Dev Wijewardane said...

thanks for the comments guys.

Chris said...

Well,
that's an unusual animal for me at least. I'd never seen it before and it is a very funny one. I love the 2 and last picture of it. The 2 for the composition and the last because it shows very well the colors of the male. Thanks for the nice presentation of the species too!

Me-shak said...

Wow, your work never fails to amaze me :D Love all of them!
Looking forward for more!
Cheer!

Dev Wijewardane said...

Thanks Me-Shak