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Salea horsfieldii

Salea horsfieldii
Side view of the head
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Iguania
Family: Agamidae
Genus: Salea
S. horsfieldii
Binomial name
Salea horsfieldii
Gray, 1845

Salea horsfieldii, commonly known as Horsfield's spiny lizard or the Nilgiri salea, is a species of lizard in the family Agamidae. The species is endemic to the Nilgiri Hills of India.[1]

It is found mainly in the high altitude grassy hills.[citation needed] A related species, Salea anamallayana, is found in the grassy hills of the Anaimalai Hills.[citation needed]


The specific name, horsfieldii, is in honor of American naturalist Thomas Horsfield.[2]


The preferred natural habitat of S. horsfieldii is forest, at altitudes of 1,600–2,500 m (5,200–8,200 ft).[1]


Salea horsfieldii

S. horsfieldii is an olive brown to green lizard, with a white banded appearance. The snout is about 1.5 times as long as the eye diameter which is about twice the diameter of the ear opening. The scales on the head are large and rough. Some scales around the brow above the eye are curved. A row of three or four large scales is found between the eye and the ear opening. The scales on the throat are lanceolate, keeled and sharp tipped. The male has a crest on the back of the neck made up of a few lanceolate spines facing backwards. The dorsal crest continues after a break behind the nuchal crest. The scales on the upper surface are large, rhomboidal, strongly keeled, pointing straight backwards; these are nearly always of unequal size, larger ones being scattered on the sides. The ventral scales are very strongly imbricate, strongly keeled and ending in a spine, nearly as large as the dorsals. The limbs are somewhat long, and when the hind limb is held along the body, the toes reach between the shoulder and ear opening. The tail, which is compressed, has a small crest in the male, but is crestless in the female. The caudal scales are sub-equal and strongly keeled.[3]

The colour is pale olive above but varies from green to brown, with irregular dark-brown cross bands, often broken up by a band of light-brown colour running along the sides of the back. The larger scales on the sides are frequently white, and a blackish band edged below in white extends from the eye, through the tympanum, to the foreleg. The tail is banded with regular dark brown and creamy bands. The length from snout to vent (SVL) is about 3.75 inches (9.5 cm) and the tail measures 9.75 inches (24.8 cm).[3]


S. horsfieldii is oviparous.[4]


  1. ^ a b c Srinivasulu, C.; Srinivasulu, B.; Vijayakumar, S.P.; Ganesan, S.R.; Ramesh, M.; Ganesh, S.R.; Manthey, U. (2013). "Salea horsfieldii ". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2013: e.T174089A1412661. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2013-1.RLTS.T174089A1412661.en. Retrieved 20 November 2021.
  2. ^ Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michael; Grayson, Michael (2011). The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. xiii + 296 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. (Salea horsfieldii, p. 126).
  3. ^ a b Boulenger GA (1890). The Fauna of British India, Including Ceylon and Burma. Reptilia and Batrachia. London: Secretary of State for India in Council. (Taylor & Francis, printers). xviii + 541 pp. (Salea horsfieldii, pp. 131-132).
  4. ^ Species Salea horsfieldii at The Reptile Database

Further reading

  • Boulenger GA (1885). Catalogue of the Lizards in the British Museum (Natural History). Second Edition. Volume I. Geckonidæ, Eublepharidæ, Uroplatidæ, Pygopodidæ, Agamidæ. London: Trustees of the British Museum (Natural History). (Taylor and Francis, printers). xii + 436 pp. + Plates I-XXXII. (Salea horsfieldii, pp. 312–313).
  • Das I (2002). A Photographic Guide to Snakes and other Reptiles of India. Sanibel Island, Florida: Ralph Curtis Books. 144 pp. ISBN 0-88359-056-5. (Salea horsfieldii, p. 81).
  • Gray JE (1845). Catalogue of the Specimens of Lizards in the Collection of the British Museum. London: Trustees of the British Museum. (Edward Newman, printer). xxvii + 289 pp. (Salea horsfieldii, new species, p. 242).
  • Smith MA (1935). The Fauna of British India, Including Ceylon and Burma. Reptilia and Amphibia. Vol. II.—Sauria. London: Secretary of State for India in Council. (Taylor and Francis, printers). xiii + 440 pp. + Plate I + 2 maps. ("Salea horsfieldi [sic]", pp. 177–179, Figure 52).
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Salea horsfieldii
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