Peter’s rock agama

Likely you’ve seen this large & striking redhead around town in areas of asphalt & concrete. The last one that I saw (last week) was scaling the vertical concrete wall of the ABC liquor store in the Miracle Mile Shopping Plaza. The redheads are males, and the females are drab in coloration.

The University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service just published a fact sheet on this lizard, Peter’s rock agama (Agama picticauda), which notes that “Florida had experienced more introductions of nonnative reptile species than any other region on Earth, and there are approximately three times as many species of established, nonnative lizards than native species of lizards.” Another terrible distinction for our State.

Accidental and intentional (sigh!) releases are thought to be the source of this lizard that now litters our landscapes. It also has been seen “hitchhiking” on the undercarriage of cars and on freight trains. Its populations (for now) are primarily coastal and range as far north of Brevard County. Click here to learn more about this nonnative lizard and its establishment.

Also sometimes called rainbow lizards, Peter’s rock agamas are urban denizens, so you are not likely to see them in the wooded natural areas at the Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area. The South Vero Square shopping plaza parking lot, on the hand, would be prime habitat.

Thank you to Mary Ester & George Bollis for the photos which were taken along US Highway 1 in northern St. Lucie County.

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