Acanthocercus atricollis


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Acanthocercus atricollis
Species Authority: (Smith, 1849)
Common Name(s):
English Black-necked Agama, Blue-throated Agama, Blue-headed Tree Agama, Southern Tree Agama
Agama atricollis Smith, 1849
Laudakia atricollis (Smith, 1849)
Stellio atricollis (Smith, 1849)
Taxonomic Notes: There are possibly up to six subspecies, but all are poorly defined (Branch 1998, Spawls et al. 2002):

A. atricollis atricollis (Smith, 1849)
A. atricollis gregorii (Günther, 1894)
A. atricollis kiwuensis (Klausewitz, 1957)
A. atricollis loveridgei (Klausewitz, 1957)
A. atricollis minutus (Klausewitz, 1957)
A. atricollis ugandaensis (Klausewitz, 1957).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2009-06-30
Assessor(s): Spawls, S.
Reviewer(s): Böhm, M., Collen, B. & Ram, M. (Sampled Red List Index Coordinating Team)
Contributor(s): Rödel , M.-O., De Silva, R., Milligan, H.T., Wearn, O.R., Wren, S., Zamin, T., Sears, J., Wilson, P., Lewis, S., Lintott, P. & Powney, G.
Acanthocercus atricollis is listed as Least Concern in view of its large distribution across eastern and southern Africa, its tolerance of anthropogenic environments, and the absence of any major widespread threat.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is found from Eritrea, south through East Africa to coastal KwaZulu-Natal, eastern Botswana and northern Namibia (Branch 1998). The western limit of the distribution is the western Democratic Republic of the Congo (Spawls et al. 2002).

This species occurs from sea level to 2,400 m above sea level, although in East Africa it is most common from 1,300 to 2,000 m above sea level.
Angola (Angola); Botswana; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Kenya; Malawi; Mozambique; Namibia; Somalia; South Africa; South Sudan; Sudan; Tanzania, United Republic of; Uganda; Zambia; Zimbabwe
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Patterson (1987) reported that this species appears to be common in Kruger National Park. A resident pair was found on almost every tree, even in anthropogenically disturbed areas.
Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species inhabits open savanna. A study on A. atricollis atricollis found that this subspecies preferentially inhabits thorn trees, followed by common sugarbush and dead trees. It was also found to select trees with larger diameters, denser canopy cover and a higher parasitic load (Reaney and Whiting 2003). Within Semuliki National Park, this species was often found in the vicinity of human settlements (Necas et al. 1997).

This agamid is predominantly arboreal, and comes to the ground only to cross to another tree or to feed. This species is diurnal and oviparous, with clutch sizes of 4-15 (Spawls et al. 2002).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): It is unlikely that any major threat is impacting this species across its full range.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no known species-specific conservation measures in place for this species. In places its distribution coincides with protected areas, probably providing small safeguards. No further conservation measures are required.

Bibliography [top]

Branch, W.R. 1998. Field Guide to Snakes and other Reptiles of Southern Africa. Struik Publishers, Cape Town.

Branch, W.R., Rödel, M.-O. and Marais, J. 2005. Herpetological surveys of the Niassa Game Reserve, northern Mozambique - Part 1: reptiles. Salamandra 41(1): 195-214.

Griffin, M. 2003. Annotated Checklist and Provisional National Conservation Status of Namibian Reptiles. Namibia Wissenschlaftliche Gesellschaft (NWG), Windhoek.

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

Nečas, P., Modry, D. and Slapeta, J. 1997. Report of the short term herpetological survey in Sumuliky National Park in Uganda (for the IUCN Kibale and Semuliky Development Project).

Patterson, R. 1987. Reptiles of Southern Africa. Struik, Cape Town.

Reaney, L.T. and Whiting, M.J. 2003. Picking a tree: habitat use by the tree agama, Acanthocercus atricollis atricollis, in South Africa. African Zoology 38(2): 273-278.

Rödel, M.-O. 2007. pers. comm. Red List Assessment.

Spawls, S. 2007. pers. comm. Red List Assessment.

Spawls, S., Howell, K.M., Drewes, R.C. and Ashe, J. 2002. A Field Guide to the Reptiles of East Africa. Academic Press, Elsevier Science.

Citation: Spawls, S. 2010. Acanthocercus atricollis. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <>. Downloaded on 02 April 2015.
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