Wednesday 3 June 2015

Secret Toadhead Agama

Image: Antoshin Konstantin
Phrynocephalus mystaceus

You should've kept that a secret!

Image: Omid Mozaffari
The Secret Toadhead is a lizard belonging to the Agama family and found in arid areas between the Caspian Sea and parts of China. That includes northern Iran and Afghanistan, southern Russia and all those mysterious, Central Asian "-istan" countries like Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

They're called Toadheads because of their weirdly flattened head and piggy, snub nose. Secrets are far from the only ones. Their genus, Phrynocephalus, contains almost 50 toad-headed weirdos!

Video: chuffed88

The Secret Toadhead totals about 25 cm (10 in) long. A good part of that is a curly-wurly, black-tipped tail which they can curl up like a scorpion's. Toadheads clearly use this to communicate to each other, although not a great deal is known about their social life.

Sometimes, more drastic forms of communication are required...

Image: Omid Mozaffari
This is when they open their bizarre and horrifying mouth-flaps and hiss at assailants. It would definitely work on me for the sheer grotesquery of it.

Watch as I evert my face. What was once in, is now out. What was out, is now in.

No, thank you.

If that doesn't work they can just disappear under the sands with a shimmy and a shake! Burying themselves under the baking hot surface of the sand is a great way of keeping cool when there's no shade around. They can also hide from predators and pounce on any tasty insects who wander by.

It appears life is best when they're at their most secretive. Just bury yourself and keep those disgusting mouth-flaps to yourself.


Porakiya said...

ain't he just the cutest mix of sarcastic fringehead, chameleon, toad/frog, and frilled lizard ever <3

TexWisGirl said...

love his curled tail, but that flare-up is so odd!

Joseph JG said...

@Porakiya Draekojin: Haha! Quite the mash-up!

@TexWisGirl: Yeah, it's crazy how different their different ends are. Nasty and nice!

Crunchy said...

Hoi goise!!!

Only way he'd look worse is if there were spiders coming out.

Joseph JG said...

Haha! His smile is just too wide for his face to handle. That's all