Lyriocephalus scutatus


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Lyriocephalus scutatus
Species Authority: (Linnaeus, 1758)
Common Name(s):
English Hump Snout Lizard, Lyre Head Lizard
Iguana clamosa Laurenti, 1768
Lacerta scutata Linnaeus, 1758
Lyriocephalus macgregorii Gray, 1835
Lyriocephalus margaritaceus Merrem, 1820

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2009-06-30
Assessor(s): Somaweera, R. & de Silva, A.
Reviewer(s): Böhm, M., Collen, B. & Ram, M. (Sampled Red List Index Coordinating Team)
Contributor(s): De Silva, R., Milligan, H.T., Wearn, O.R., Wren, S., Zamin, T., Sears, J., Wilson, P., Lewis, S., Lintott, P. & Powney, G.
Lyriocephalus scutatus has been assessed as Near Threatened.  This species is endemic to Sri Lanka and has an extent of occurrence of less than 17,400 km2. It has experienced severe and ongoing deforestation and subsequent habitat loss due to human activities. Collection for the pet trade is also reducing population numbers.  However its distribution is not severely fragmented, it occurs in more than 10 locations, and is not considered to be rare within its range; therefore it does not qualify for a higher threatened category.  Monitoring of its population, and distribution is recommended to ensure any significant declines in either of these are highlighted and acted on appropriately.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is endemic to Sri Lanka and occurs in the southwest wetzone of the country (Bartelt et al. 2005), although it has also been recorded from locations in the intermediate zone. The area in which this species is distributed is approximately 17,373 km². This species has an elevation range between 30 and 1,500 m above sea level.
Sri Lanka
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: This species is "uncommon" in Sri Lanka, according to Bahir and Surasinghe (2005).  However, A. De Silva (pers. comm. 2010) comments that during the last three decades nearly 500 specimens have been collected from many localities.  In Kosgama lowland forest the population is almost zero due to intensive logging activities (A. de Silva pers. comm. 2010).
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Goonawardena and de Silva (2005) state that this species is most commonly found in closed canopy sub-montane rainforest. It is also known to occur in abandoned tea plantations, and occasionally in forest gardens. Bambaradeniya et al. (1997) report that it regularly occurs in heavily planted home gardens, and A de. Silva (pers. comm. 2010) notes it has adjusted to live in home gardens but is facing predation from the common coucal (Centropus sinensisi) and Toque monkey (Macaca sinica) as a result.
Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is likely to be collected from the wild for the pet trade.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Sri Lanka has suffered severe deforestation due to human activities including the clearing of land for agricultural purposes, conversion to plantation land, mining, logging and pressures associated with expanding human settlements. In 2005 it was estimated that only 5% of the island's original wet zone rainforest, where this species occurs, remained (Bahir and Surasinghe 2005). While there have been some reforesting attempts, these have mainly consisted of monoculture, exotic species and do not support high numbers of native vertebrates (Manamendra-Arachchi and Liyanage 1994). The expansion of human settlements is a critical and ongoing threat (R. Somaweera pers. comm. 2008). This species was considered Endangered by Manamendra-Arachchi and Liyanage (1994) due to its restricted and fragmented range and the ongoing threat of deforestation.

This species is also of interest to the international pet industry (Shiau et al. 2006) and therefore harvesting from the wild is likely to be a threat.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no known species-specific conservation measures in place for this species. However, this species occurs in protected areas, including the Sinharaja Natural Heritage Wilderness Area. This reserve contains 6,500-7,000 ha (65-70 km²) of unlogged forest, however, illegal logging, mining and human encroachment remain a threat even to such protected area (UNEP-WCMC 2006). Further population monitoring is needed for this species.

This species is listed as Near Threatened in 'The 2007 Red List of Threatened Fauna and Flora of Sri Lanka.'

Bibliography [top]

Bahir, M.M. and Surasinghe, T.D. 2005. A conservation assessment of the Sri Lankan Agamidae (Reptilia: Sauria). The Raffles Bulletin of Zoology Supp. No. 12: 407-412.

Bambaradeniya, C.N.B., Samarawickrema, P.K and Ranawana, K.B. 1997. Some observations on the natural history of Lyriocephalus scutatus (Linnaeus, 1776) (Reptilia: Agamidae). Lyriocephalus 3(1): 25-28.

Bartelt, U., de Bitter, H. and de Bitter, M. 2005. Lyriocephalus scutatus The lyrehead lizard. Reptilia 42(1): 29-36.

de Silva, A. 2007. pers. comm. Red List Assessment.

IUCN. 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2010.4). Available at: (Accessed: 27 October 2010).

IUCN Conservation Breeding Specialist Group (CBSG), Sri Lanka. 1998. Conservation Assessment and Management Plan for Amphibians and Reptiles of Sri Lanka. Zoo Outreach Organisation / CBSG, India, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka.

Manamendra-Arachchi, K. and Liyanage, S. 1994. Conservation and distribution of the agamid lizards of Sri Lanka with illustrations of the extant species. J. South Asian nat. Hist. 1(1): 77-96.

Shiau, T.-S., Hou, P.-C., Wu, S.-H. and Tu, M.-C. 2006. A Survey on alien pet reptiles in Taiwan. Taiwania 51(2): 71-80.

Somaweera, R. 2007. pers. comm. Red List Assessment.

UNEP-WCMC. 2006. World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA). Available at:

Citation: Somaweera, R. & de Silva, A. 2010. Lyriocephalus scutatus. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 05 September 2015.
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