Ceratophora stoddartii — Rhino Horn Lizard
Also known as:
Rhino-horned Lizard, Stoddart’s Unicorn Lizard, Horned Agama, Smooth Horned Lizard
Sri Lanka is all about lizards with weird scales and funny protuberances on their faces. I have wanted to visit since I was a kid for this very reason. And it doesn't get weirder or funnier than Ceratophora stoddartii. The adult females have short pointy horns on their snouts, and the adult males have longer curving pointy horns on their snouts. Why? Nobody seems to know. They make the lizards look potentially fearsome, but the lizards don't seem to use them in any fear-inducing way. Perhaps they are a sexual selection feature, whereby the males impress the females by growing elaborate but essentially useless structures, a la peacock feathers? But if so, why do the females have horns also? So many questions.
We saw a couple dozen of these fantastical creatures in one night, and then a couple more the next day.
- Ceratophora stoddartii account on The Reptile Database
- Ceratophora stoddartii account on iNaturalist
- Somaweera, R., Somaweera, N. 2009. Lizards of Sri Lanka: A Colour Guide with Field Keys
- de Silva, A., Ukuwela, K. 2017. A Naturalist's Guide to the Reptiles of Sri Lanka