This book is the first English-language review on the compact genus of lizards (about twenty species) distributed in rugged arid and high-altitude landscapes of south Eurasia and northeast Africa. These reptiles started recently to attract the attention of herpetologists because of their conspicuousness associated with a rather large size and strictly diurnal lifestyle, as well as high population density in many species.
However, until now the interests of scientists have been confined mainly to systematics and nomenclature of rock agamas, while serious studies dealing with lifestyle, ecology and behavior of rock agamas are virtually absent. In this book, along with review of the most important information on rock agamas from herpetological literature, a comprehensive description of life history of the model species, the Caucasian Rock Agama, is presented. The pivotal place in the research belongs to ethology. During ten years of field studies the authors attempted to trace biographies of many particular individuals and to understand the essence of the communicative process.
They concentrated on the analysis of social behaviour as a factor integrating local population into a certain systemic entity. Their primary interest was to examine the social structure of deme in its continual transformations over successive years. Or, in other words, they attempted to understand the course of events as a process of changes in behavior and social roles of older individuals, as well as of annually arriving offspring recruited in the local population.
Other important topics discussed in this book are the diversity of signal means (visual, chemical, etc.) in several different species and the relationships between closely related species coexisting in the same region and habitat.
A DVD-ROM with .m4a files is included with the book. It contains numerous records of behavior in 12 lizard species in the wild.