Blue kapom (Calotes versicolor) (correction: Calotes mystaceus)

It took me three years to find one of the blue ones after I heard about them (and possibly ate them as well). This lizard is known in standard Thai as ginka and in Isan dialect as kapom. It has many names in English, including Oriental Garden Lizard, Eastern Garden Lizard, Changeable Lizard, Bloodsucker Lizard, Crested Tree Lizard, Garden Fence Lizard. They are Agamids, from the family Agamidae, commonly called dragons or dragon lizards. Here’s an informative passage from this page:

Changeable Lizards are related to iguanas (which are found only in the New World). Unlike other lizards, they do not drop their tails (autotomy), and their tails can be very long, stiff and pointy. Like other reptiles, they shed their skins. Like chameleons, Changeable Lizards can move each of their eyes in different directions.

I saw it on this tree at a restaurant my coworker and I were having lunch at, and it must have been mating season because there was another blue one, a half-red one, and one changing from tan to tan with spots before our very eyes! It was quite a sight, and I’ll definitely go to see them again sometime.
Note to self: I’m not sure of the restaurant’s name, but it’s in Maha Sarakham, out on the bypass between the crossroad to Borabu and the one to Wapi Pathum, 200 hundred meters before the road to Rui Sap (where my cop student got drunk on pineapple brandy and waved a glock around at everybody) on the left.

Update March 2023: Although the name of these lizards are the same in Thai and Isan languages (กะปอม/กิ้งก่า gabpawm/ginggaa), the red ones and the blue ones are actually different species. The red ones are Calotes versicolor, commonly known as Oriental Garden Lizard, etc. The blue ones are Calotes mystaceus aka the Indo-Chinese forest lizard or blue crested lizard; some of the research online (which I refuse to link to because it’s on a pay-to-access pseudo-academic research site) seems to indicate that these blue ones weren’t officially recorded in a nearby province (Ubon Rachatani) until 2018! I originally posted this article in 2010.

I’ve written some further information on a new post: Blue vs Red Kapom/Gapom Species

2 thoughts on “Blue kapom (Calotes versicolor) (correction: Calotes mystaceus)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.