Calotes – Garden lizards

Their coloration can vary greatly, helping them remain inconspicuous amidst the foliage

These lizards are a common sight across the Asian continent, with their range extending from the lush Indian subcontinent through the dense rainforests of Southeast Asia to the scattered islands of Indonesia. Their ability to thrive in varied locales—from the canopies of primal jungles to the green retreats of urban settings—speaks to their remarkable versatility and resilience.

Physical adaptations of these lizards are as varied as the environments they inhabit, but many species share common traits that underscore their evolutionary success. They typically possess elongated bodies supported by slender, agile limbs, which allow them to navigate the complex vertical spaces of forested areas as well as intricate human-made environments. This body structure is not just for navigational prowess; it also facilitates efficient heat absorption from the sun—a critical aspect of their cold-blooded thermoregulation.

Perhaps the most visually arresting feature of these lizards is the crest that runs from their head down the back, which in some species extends to the tail. The crest is not merely decorative; it serves several vital functions. It can be used for display during social interactions, including mating rituals and territorial confrontations. The crests may also play a role in thermoregulation, as their surface area can be used to absorb or release heat.