English Name : Fan throated lizard
Scientific Name :Sitana ponticeriana
Family : Agamidae
Tamil Name : Thaadi onan
Description: A small lizard easily identified by the presence of four as against five toes than in other agamid lizards. There are two forms recognized. A larger form distributed around Bombay and a smaller form in the other areas of its distribution. It has a fan like throat appendage which is an additional distinguishing factor. It is brown above with a series of darker, black edged, vertebral spots along the mid back flanked by a light line on each side. It is whitish below.
Distribution and status: A common species. WideIy distributed in India.
Habitat.: The preferred habitat is arid or sandy country. Inhabits all biotopes except the heavy rainfall areas and the deserts.
Habits : The throat fan is brilliantly colored in the male during the breeding season with shades of blue, black or reddish coloration. Throat fan is displayed for establishing territories to another male. A graceful runner, occasionally adopting a bipedal gait when hard pressed. Rests in the shade of bushes and other cover and may climb these for basking.
Life cycle: The Season commences in April- May when the throat fan of the male attains a brilliant coloration. The courting male displays to the female hidden nearby by raising itself on its forelegs and rapidly opening and shutting its multi colored fan. The egg laying commences in July and individuals may lay upto October. Eggs are laid in a hole dug by the female and close to 11-14 eggs are laid in a clutch. The eggs are chalky white in color. Juvenile males can be recognized at an early period by the presence of a throat fan.
Food: Ants and other small insects are taken as food.
Role in the environment: It is an indicator of Scrubland ecosystem. It is endemic to India .
Photo source: Dr.J. Subramanean