Thai National Parks

Species of Thailand

Forest crested lizard

Calotes emma

John Edward Gray, 1845

In Thai: กิ้งก่าแก้วใต้

Calotes emma, commonly known as the forest garden lizard or Emma Gray's forest lizard, is a species of lizard in the family Agamidae. The species is native to China, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. There are two recognized subspecies.


The specific name, emma, is in honor of English conchologist Maria Emma Gray, the wife of John Edward Gray, the describer of this species.


C. emma has the following morphology.

Physical Structure: There are three small groups of spines, completely separate from each other, on each side of the head, one behind the superciliary margin and two above each tympanum. The dorsal crest is well developed on the neck and on the anterior part of the trunk, gradually disappearing behind. There is a transverse fold in front of each shoulder, and the gular sac is but little developed. The tail is laterally compressed. There are about 51 series of scales round the middle of the trunk.

Color pattern: The dorsum is brownish olive, with brown bands across the back, which are lighter in the middle and interrupted by a white band running along each side of the back. The eyelids have short, radiating brown streaks. There is a brown band from behind the eye to above the tympanum. The fold before the shoulder is black, with an irregular white margin. The legs and tail have indistinct dark crossbands.

The maximum total length (including tail) is 40 cm. The usual total length is 28 cm, and the usual snout-to-vent length (SVL) a 7.5 cm.

Geographic range

C. emma is found in Bangladesh (Satchari National Park, Bandarban Hill District), Cambodia, China (Guangdong, Yunnan), India (Assam), Laos, Malaysia (Peninsular), Myanmar, Thailand (including Phuket) & Vietnam (including Pulo Condore Islands) and Possibly in Bhutan.

"An inhabitant of Mergui, whence we have received it from Professor Oldham, ranging northwards perhaps to the Khasya Hills; extremely doubtful as an inhabitant of Afghanistan. Mr. Blyth mentions it amongst a collection made by Captain Bedmore at Schwe Gyen on the Sitang River in Pegu".

Vernacular names

Vernacular names for C. emma in various languages include the following.

  • Bengali: কেশর গিরিগিটি, ঝুঁটি গিরিগিটি, ঝুঁটি রক্তচোষা, যুথিয়াল গিরিগিটি (Juthial girigiti)
  • Burmese: Poat-Tin-Nyo
  • Chinese: 棕背树蜥
  • English: crested forest lizard, Emma Gray's crested forest lizard, Emma Gray's forest lizard, spiny-headed forest lizard.

Behavior and habitat

C. emma is terrestrial, arboreal, and diurnal. It inhabits various forest habitats including dry deciduous, coastal, and moist evergreen.


C. emma is insectivorous, preying upon termites, grasshoppers, ants, cockroaches, beetles, diverse species of moths and low flying butterflies, and soil-living insects and their larvae.


C. emma is oviparous. The adult female lays 10-12 eggs in May–June. The incubation period is about 60–70 days.

Human uses

C. emma is used in the pet trade. It plays a role in the ecosystem by eating various types of insects and otherwise.

Threat to humans

C. emma is non-venomous and completely harmless to humans.

IUCN threat status

C. emma has been evaluated as "Least Concern" (LC) by the IUCN.


Two subspecies of C. emma are recognized as being valid, including the nominotypical subspecies.

  • Calotes emma alticristatus
  • Calotes emma emma

This article uses material from Wikipedia released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike Licence 3.0. Eventual photos shown in this page may or may not be from Wikipedia, please see the license details for photos in photo by-lines.

Site notes

This species is easily mixed with Oriental garden lizard (Calotes versicolor). Key characterictics for this species is spines above the eyes and black stripes in front of the shoulders.

Scientific classification

Calotes emma

Common names

  • Chinese: 棕背树蜥
  • German:
    • Emmas Schönechse
    • Hinterindische schönechse
  • English:
    • Emma Gray's forest lizard
    • Crested forest lizard
    • Forest garden lizard
  • Thai:
    • กิ้งก่าแก้วใต้
    • กิ้งก่าแก้วเหนือ (C. e. alticristatus)


  • Calotes emma alticristatus, Karl Patterson Schmidt, 1925

    Range: North Thailand, South China (Yunnan)

  • Calotes emma emma, John Edward Gray, 1845

    Range: Peninsular Thailand South to Perak in Malaysia


  • Calotes emma, Larry Lee Grismer (2011)
  • Calotes emma alticristatus, Nguyen Van Sang et al. (2009)
  • Calotes emma emma, Nguyen Van Sang et al. (2009)
  • Calotes emma emma, Tanya Chan-Ard et al. (1999)
  • Calotes emma emma, Ulrich Manthey & Norbert Schuster (1999)
  • Calotes emma alticristatus, Merel J. Cox et al. (1998)
  • Calotes emma emma, Merel J. Cox et al. (1998)
  • Calotes emma, Ulrich Manthey & Wolfgang Grossmann (1997)
  • Colotes emma, J. Robert Macey et al. (1997)
  • Calotes emma alticristata, Edward Harrison Taylor (1963)

Conservation status

Least Concern (IUCN 3.1)

Least Concern (IUCN 3.1)


Please help us review our species pages if wrong photos are used or any other details in the page is wrong. We can be reached via our contact us page.

Calotes emma
Calotes emma
Calotes emma
Calotes emma (eating caterpillar)
Calotes emma
Calotes emma
Calotes emma alticristatus
Calotes emma alticristatus
Emma Gray's forest lizard
Calotes emma alticristatus (male, breeding colors)
Calotes emma

Range Map

Distribution map of Forest crested lizard, Calotes emma in Thailand
  • Ban Bueng District, Chonburi
  • Bang Lang National Park
  • Bang Saphan District, Prachuap Khiri Khan
  • Chiang Dao Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Chiang Khan District, Loei
  • Doi Inthanon National Park
  • Doi Lang
  • Doi Pha Hom Pok National Park
  • Doi Phu Kha National Park
  • Doi Suthep - Pui National Park
  • Hala-Bala Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Hua Hin District, Prachuap Khiri Khan
  • Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Huai Nam Dang National Park
  • Kaeng Krachan National Park
  • Kapo Waterfall Forest Park
  • Khao Banthat Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Khao Khitchakut District, Chanthaburi
  • Khao Khitchakut National Park
  • Khao Lak - Lam Ru National Park
  • Khao Luang National Park
  • Khao Phanom Bencha National Park
  • Khao Phra - Bang Khram Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Khao Phra Thaeo Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Khao Soi Dao Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Khao Sok National Park
  • Khao Yai Da
  • Khao Yai National Park
  • Khlong Bang Yai Forest Park
  • Khlong Nakha Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Khlong Thom District, Krabi
  • Khun Nan National Park
  • Khura Buri District, Phang Nga
  • Ko Chang District, Trat
  • Ko Lanta National Park
  • Ko Samui District, Surat Thani
  • Ko Yao District, Phang Nga
  • Kui Buri National Park
  • Lam Nam Kra Buri National Park
  • Lum Nam Pai Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Mae Chaem District, Chiang Mai
  • Mae Chan District, Chiang Rai
  • Mae Wong National Park
  • Mueang Krabi District, Krabi
  • Mueang Lampang District, Lampang
  • Mueang Phang Nga District, Phang Nga
  • Mueang Ranong District, Ranong
  • Na Yong District, Trang
  • Namtok Sam Lan National Park
  • Phu Chi Fa Forest Park
  • Phu Khiao Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Phu Suan Sai National Park
  • Raman Waterfall Forest Park
  • Salak Pra Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Sri Nakarin Dam National Park
  • Sri Phang-nga National Park
  • Taksin Maharat National Park
  • Takua Pa District, Phang Nga
  • Tarutao National Marine Park
  • Tat Mok National Park
  • Tha Yang District, Phetchaburi
  • Thalang District, Phuket
  • Thale Ban National Park
  • Thong Pha Phum District, Kanchanaburi
  • Thong Pha Phum National Park
  • Thung Song District, Nakhon Si Thammarat
  • Thung Yai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Ton Nga-Chang Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Umphang District, Tak
Range map of Calotes emma in Thailand