Arabian Toad-headed Agama

Arabian Toad-headed Agama - (R. Ingram)
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Scientific Name Phrynocephalus arabicus Arabic Name N/A Tagged As Reptile, Lizard, Agama Endangered Status


About 45mm in length. It is well camouflaged with white, black, brown and orange speckles over the top of the body. White below. The head has bright yellow and orange markings. When threatened, it can hide in the sand by vibrating its body to sink into the sand. Standing with its body raised it darts across the ground to grab insects. Raised off the ground, the body is exposed the breeze, which helps regulate temperature. Body colour varies with temperature (darker when cool, lighter when warm) and surroundings (often matches the surface it lives on).

Range and Habitat

Widespread and common throughout the UAE, it occurs mainly on dune and soft sand and is active during the day (diurnal).


The tail, of which the last third is black in the male, is used for attracting the attention of females during the mating period and during territorial fights between males.

Track and Signs

When disturbed these agamas often run off and bury themselves in the sand. The tracks made by this agama are quite small and rarely show the drag mark of the tail as they move at speed from point to point with their tail raised.