Common names: Crag Lizards, False Cordyles

Number of species: six (three subspecies)

Habitat: Rupicolous

Range: The Drakensburg and Cape Fold Mountains

Reproduction: viviparous (1- 6 offspring)

Diet: Insectivorous


P.  microlepidotus microlepidotus (Cuvier, 1829)

P. microlepidotus faciatus (Smith, 1838)

P. microlepidotus namaquensis (Hewitt, 1927)

P. melanotus (Smith, 1838)

P. subviridis (Smith, 1838)

P. langi Loveridge, 1944

P. spinosus FitzSimons, 1947

P. transvaalensis FitzSimons, 1943


The genus Pseudocordylus contains at least six species of robustly built, lightly armored lizards that occur from the northern Drakensberg to the Cape Fold Mountains. Three of the species overlap in the northeast edge of Lesotho, although it appears that the various ranges are divided attitudinally, with P.spinosus occurring at lower altitudes, P.subviridis in the middle areas and P.langi restricted to the highest peaks (above 3000m). Like the flat lizards, Pseudocordylus display extreme sexual dichromatism, with males being more brightly colored than females, although ritualized courtship and aggregation behavior of Platysaurus has not been recorded. The reduced dermal armor, sexual dichromatism and specialization for crevice dwelling lead to the proposal that crag lizards and flat lizards are closely related. However, molecular analysis shows that these characters are simply broadly convergent. 

Preliminary studies suggest that there may be a good degree of gene flow across Pseudocordylus populations in the Cape Fold and Drakensburg mountains, and much more work is needed to untangle the complex but fascinating relationships of this group.