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The mastigures are a group of large lizards, several species of which exceed 2 feet in length, that range from West Central Africa to India. All are characterized by a blunt head and a long tail covered with rings of thorn-like scales. The prettiest is the small Princely Mastigure of Somalia, which is only 6 inches long and beautifully colored in green, orange, and black.
All mastigures are desert dwellers and feed primarily on buds, leaves, and twigs, which they trim off with the sharp teeth edging their jaws. They can produce moisture from plant material and consequently survive for months and even years without drinking.