These Australian bearded lizards have become very popular as pets. Here, a beardie shares a threat display with his reflection in a mirror. Like a cat, he goes off to the side to look behind the mirror. I never saw a lizard do that before.
Mr. Nature says the beardie is a member of the Agamid family of lizards, which live in the Old World. Here in the New World, our big lizard family is the Iguanids. Although Agamids and Iguanids aren’t closely related, you might swear they were. Familiar Iguanid lizards have close counterparts among Agamids: the horned lizard (aka “horned toad”) and the Australian thorny moloch look like chips off the same old block. Even funnier, Iguanids and Agamids share a lot of the same behaviors–like head-bobbing as a threat display. Most Iguanids, from the little dime-store “chameleons” (green anoles, actually: not really chameleons at all) to the biggest iguanas, the males all head-bob at each other, usually serving as an alternative to actual fighting, which saves a lot of wear and tear on the lizards. (When the females fight, it’s for keeps.) And so do a lot of the Agamids.
I wonder why God set it up that way.