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Dragons Dragons

Overview

There are 11 genera and about 70 species of dragons (Agamidae) in Australia.

Knowing the habitat and distribution of the various species may be helpful in the field.

For example the Eastern Bearded Dragon (Pogona barbata) is widespread in lower lying country and seem to prefer drier habitats, often well away from water. Whereas, the Australian Water Dragon (Intellagama lesueurii) of which there are two recognised subspecies, the Eastern Water Dragon (Intellagama lesueurii lesueurii), and the Gippsland Water Dragon (Intellagama lesueurii howittii) are never found far from watery habitat. The likewise aptly named Grassland Earless Dragon is confined to native grasslands. The Jacky Dragon, sometimes known as the Tree Dragon is widespread and as the name suggests, is often seen perching on trees or stumps. By contrast, the Mountain Dragon is rarely seen off the ground, seeming to prefer to hang out in the leaf litter and is less likely to climb onto rocks in open areas, rarely breaking from cover. Both the Mountain Dragon and the Nobbi Dragon are habitat specialists, with the former tending to be found at higher altitudes and the latter seeming to prefer rocky escarpment areas along major rivers.

Subtle differences in back markings, colour, size, spines along tail, mouth colour, habitat and behaviour help to distinguish Jacky, Nobbi and Mountain Dragons from each other. Different authors point to subtle differences in back markings to distinguish species, but this is a difficult diagnostic characteristic. Each species is grey in colour but the Mountain Dragon is a little more brownish. In the breeding season the male Mountain Dragon develops a distinctive reddish hue. The Mountain Dragon has distinctive spikes along the sides of the base of the tail; whereas the Jacky and Nobbi do not. The Jacky Dragon has a bright yellow tongue and mouth, which it appears to use to frighten off predators and to assert dominance; the Mountain Dragon has a yellow tongue and blue mouth and the Nobbi has a pink tongue and mouth.

Eastern Bearded Dragon juveniles look superficially like Jacky, Mountain and Nobbi Dragons but may be distinguished by the presence of lateral (side) spines, which are absent from the other three species. 

Dragons - 6 species

Dragon Amphibolurus muricatus (Jacky Dragon)

Amphibolurus muricatus
Amphibolurus muricatus
Amphibolurus muricatus
Amphibolurus muricatus
Amphibolurus muricatus
Amphibolurus muricatus

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Dragon Diporiphora nobbi (Nobbi Dragon)

Diporiphora nobbi
Diporiphora nobbi
Diporiphora nobbi
Diporiphora nobbi
Diporiphora nobbi
Diporiphora nobbi

Dragon Intellagama lesueurii howittii (Gippsland Water Dragon)

Intellagama lesueurii howittii Adult male (ACT specimen) photo by Rod & Deb
Intellagama lesueurii howittii Adult female - Brogo, NSW
Intellagama lesueurii howittii Mature ACT male photo by Rod & Deb
Intellagama lesueurii howittii
Intellagama lesueurii howittii
Intellagama lesueurii howittii

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Dragon Intellagama lesueurii lesueurii (Eastern Water Dragon)

Intellagama lesueurii lesueurii Note dark temporal stripe, pale unmarked throat and red chest-Sydney Basin specimen
Intellagama lesueurii lesueurii
Intellagama lesueurii lesueurii
Intellagama lesueurii lesueurii

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Dragon Pogona barbata (Eastern Bearded Dragon)

Pogona barbata
Pogona barbata
Pogona barbata
Pogona barbata
Pogona barbata
Pogona barbata

Dragon Rankinia diemensis (Mountain Dragon)

Rankinia diemensis
Rankinia diemensis
Rankinia diemensis
Rankinia diemensis
Rankinia diemensis
Rankinia diemensis

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