The dentition of agamid lizards with special reference to tooth replacement



The dentition of the African lizard Agama agama was examined in a range of material from late embryos and hatchlings to individuals of advanced age. Most of the skulls were prepared as dry specimens, but observations were also made on the living lizards in captivity and some records of tooth replacement collected.

The gross anatomy of the dentition is described and its growth and elaboration from the hatchling to the adult. Attachment of the two types of tooth, both acrodont and pleurodont, is considered and the replacement process is found to be sufficiently different from that of other lizards to justify a separate descriptive category.

Evidence from both dead and living material as to the order of tooth replacement in Agama is analysed and found to conform to the hypothesis of Edmund (1960). Other agamid genera are briefly described.

The similarity between agamid and mammalian dentitions is pointed out and a connection suggested between polyphyodent reptilian dentitions and the diphyodont mammalian dentition which is more correctly regarded as being composed of two Zahnreihen.