3-Ctenophorus pictus - the painted dragon :
2- The central netted dragon - Ctenophorus nuchalis :
The central netted dragon or central netted ground dragon, Ctenophorus nuchalis, is a species of agamid lizard occurring in a wide range of arid to semiarid regions of Australia. It is widespread across the continent, commonly found in open, sandy, desert habitats. It is a popular pet and can often be found in zoos.
Central netted dragon
The central netted dragon is a medium-sized terrestrial lizard with a pale reddish-brown to bright orange-brown body. It gets its name from the dark-chocolate brown, reticulated (net-like) pattern which overlays its head and body. This pattern acts as camouflage, helping the lizard to blend in with its habitat to avoid predators. Its limbs are short and strong, with long toes and strong claws, which allow it to run at great speeds and dig burrows.
The head is short and blunt in comparison to other iguanids and agamids, thought to be related to its herbivorous and burrowing behaviour. The ears are exposed, and a row of enlarged scales curves under each eye.
Conservation status :
Least Concern (IUCN 3.1)
Scientific classification :
Binomial name :
(De vis, 1884)
Small spines surround the head. It has a low crest along the top of the neck, a narrow vertebral stripe along the length of the body, and the scales of the body are small and smooth to the touch.
Adult males measure around 25–28 cm from snout to tail, with about 10 cm being snout-to-vent length, and the tail making up the remainder of the length. They are sexually dimorphic, with males being slightly larger overall and having a larger head in relation to their bodies compared to females. This dragon is relatively short- lived in the wild, perhaps living 2-4 yr.
Central netted dragon
Charles Walter De Vis first identified Ctenophorus nuchalis in 1884. The Ctenophorus (comb-bearing dragons) genus contains the most diverse group of dragons in Australia. Many of these have been grouped by a similar morphology. The term nuchalis is Latin for "neck" in reference to the thick scalation around the lizard's neck.
Several synonyms exist for this species:
Amphibolurus inermis (De Vis, 1888)
Amphibolurus nuchalis (De Vis, 1884)
Amphibolurus reticulatus (Sternfeld, 1919)
Grammatophora inermis (De Vis, 1888)
Macrops nuchalis (De Vis, 1884)
Central netted dragons are found throughout the desert plains of Western Australia, the Northern Territory, Western Queensland and New South Wales. They are abundant in open, sandy areas with sparse vegetation, and surveys have found this species increases in abundance in grazed areas and likewise may increase in cleared or burnt areas.
Distribution of the central netted dragon
Ecology and habitat :
Central netted dragons are burrowing, diurnal (day-active), and terrestrial (ground-dwelling), spending their days basking on logs, stones and termite mounds. Like the majority of reptiles, they are ectotherms, relying on their environment to regulate their body temperature (that averages 36.1 °C). A dragon’s day will start with basking in the sun to raise its body temperature to gain energy. Without adequate body heat, these lizards cannot digest their food. When the desert temperature peaks in the middle of the day, they will either retreat to their burrows to cool down, or climb plants to escape the extreme heat.
They are known to have several burrows, typically six to eight, often constructed at the base of stumps or Spinifex grasses, or within hillocks such as those formed by dead Triodia hummocks.These tend to be relatively shallow, dead-end burrows in different parts of their home range, and are used primarily as nocturnal retreats and for predator escape. They will often back-fill the entrance to this burrow to prevent entry by predators, and to keep the heat out. They prefer perches with high vantage points, such as termite mounds (which also serve as a source of food for this insectivore), dirt hills, logs, and fence posts.
Vegetation cover is an important part of the ecology of the central netted dragon. The species predominates in areas of low vegetation, for example, following a period of drought when Spinifex has died back and ground cover is sparse (<10%).
As with many of the dragon species, central netted dragons will communicate with other members of their species by bobbing their heads and waving their legs. Males can be quite territorial, and will use these display signs to intimidate rival males, in an attempt to ward off any potential takeover bids.
Example of habitat of the central netted dragon
Central netted dragons are oviparous, meaning they lay eggs rather than give birth to live offspring. Females are known to lay two or three clutches of two to six eggs, typically during spring and summer depending on the location and conditions. During the breeding season, male dragons actively defend territories and often fight with other males for dominance.
They have annual lifecycles, with adults predominating during the breeding season and juveniles predominating in other seasons. Juveniles typically attain sexual maturity after winter at 5-6 mo of age. The timing of reproduction is dictated primarily by rainfall, with breeding occurring predictably after winter rains in the southern part of its range, and in late summer following cyclonic rains in the Pilbara region further north. It may also breed in spring in the latter region, but only if winter rain has been substantial. Rainfall appears to be tied to enhanced survival, growth, and possibly clutch size and hatching success.
Central netted dragons have varied diets, consuming mostly insects, but also flowers and other vegetation. They actively hunt, but more often wait for an insect to pass by before striking. In the wild, this dragon's diet consists of 75% insect prey and 25% vegetation, including hogweed (Zaleya galericulata) and small flowers, such as aster, daisy and dandelion. It is one of the most herbivorous of Australian desert lizards. Its diet overlaps broadly with that of many other lizards, and it frequently occurs in sympatry with up to 20-30 other reptilian species. Much of its preferred insect prey are primarily found in microhabitats and on bare sand, a large reason why the success of this species relies on low vegetative ground cover.
Perched on a termite mound
Predators of the central netted dragon include larger reptiles, such as goannas and snakes, and birds of prey, as well as the red fox and cats. Burrows act as the primary mechanism of escape, but may facilitate some predators, such as snakes and digging lizards, since burrows are usually simple dead ends.
This species is tolerant of habitat degradation caused by grazing and is under no major threats at this time.
Burrowing Dragons, group 1
courtesy to : danielhoops.com/blog/2014/3/11/burrowing-dragons-group-1
March 11, 2014
In his book "Biology and Evolution of Australian Lizards", Allen Greer sorted the lizards I study, the genus Ctenophorus, into different groups based on where they live: those that live in burrows, those that live in rock crevices, and those that live in vegetation. Looking at the phylogenetic relatedness of the Ctenophorus dragons, there are two groups of each: two groups of burrowers, two groups of rock-dwellers, and two groups of vegetation-dwellers. I thought it'd be fun to put up pictures and descriptions of all these groups, since I have a large pile of pictures from my fieldwork. Here is my first post, on the first group of rock-dwellers.
Since I started with a small group, why not continue the trend? The first group of burrowers also consists of only two species. In sharp contrast to the two rock dragons, however, these two look almost identical. They're both called "netted dragons" because it looks like someone's taken a plain-coloured dragon and tied a fish-net stocking over it. I guess they're rather kinky fellas.
Though they're both named for their geographical distributions, as the central and western netted dragons, in reality their ranges overlap quite extensively. The central netted dragon is found over a huge swath of Australia, as can be seen in the map below which I screen-grabbed from the Atlas of Living Australia. The western netted dragon is more restricted to southwest Australia, but is still found over a huge area. The atlas is not perfect, and some of these points are almost certainly erroneous. For example, the central netted dragon record from Brisbane and the western netted dragon record from Katherine.
The ranges of the central (in green) and western (in brown) netted dragons, according to the records of the Atlas of Living Australia.
Central Netted Dragon (Ctenophorus nuchalis)
The central netted dragon (Ctenophorus nuchalis) is one of Australia's most recognisable and ubiquitous lizards. The only lizards I can think of that beat the central netted dragon in these two categories are the bearded dragons (Pogonas vitticeps and barbata). Maybe the bluetongues of the genus Tiliqua. Though central netted dragons may not be quite as ubiquitous or famous as those critters, they share many of the same characteristics. They are tough as nails, live happily in the harshest habitats Australia offers, and make wonderful pets. They are easy to breed in captivity and are regularly available in the pet trade in Australia.
A hatchling central netted dragon that was bred here at the ANU. Central netted dragons are easy to breed and make excellent pets. Photo by Lisa Schwanz.
Central netted dragons are found across a wide variety of habitats here in Australia, but they seem to be at their densest in red sand country. Driving along a dirt track in a sandy area of central Australia can give you the impression that these guys exist in plague proportions. Because they are so common, they are well known to the people who live in the Australian outback. When I showed some cattle ranchers what we were looking for, they knew the lizards quite well and referred to them as "gumby lizards" apparently because of their dumpy heads. They love to sit along the side of dirt tracks, on that little elevated mound of dirt made by the grater as it smooths out the road (about the same thing as what a snow plow used to leave on my driveway back in Canada, after I'd already shovelled it.) Being burrowers, they'll usually have a little burrow in the mound, which they'll duck back into if they feel threatened.
A red dirt track with sand ridges makes perfect central netted dragon habitat. Henbury Station, Northern Territory, 2012.
Western Netted Dragon (Ctenophorus reticulatus)
The other species in this group of burrowers, the western netted dragon (Ctenophorus reticulatus), looks very similar to the central netted dragon, to the point where you have to examine the shape of their femoral pores to be sure of which species you're looking at. However, western netted dragons are a heck a lot rarer than central netteds. We spent a fair amount of time in western netted dragon territory during my fieldwork, and in that whole time, every netted dragon we ever caught was a central. In 2013 we spent a week doing research outside the range of the central netted dragon, so every netted dragon we saw was pretty much guaranteed to be a western. In that week, I saw two lizards I was pretty sure were netted dragons. Both times we failed to catch the dragon, so I'll never know for sure if I've ever seen a western netted dragon. Good thing we didn't need them for my PhD!
Other websites :
Care Articles :
1- Central Netted Dragon (Ctenophorus Nuchalis)
Scientific Name: Ctenophorus Nuchalis
A small active dragon with an intricate reticulated or netlike pattern of dark lines over a pale grey-brown background. The head is rounded and the legs and toes are strong to enable them to run at great speeds and to dig burrows. The tail of an adult is usually around 16cm in length, the head and body about 10cm. The males and females are very similar but the former tend to develop larger a head in relation to body size as they mature.
A combination of small insects such as beetles, caterpillars and termites and the leaves and flowers of small herbaceous plants make up the diet.
An inhabitant of the plains and open scrub of central Australia, from the Western Australia coast to western New South Wales and Queensland. Their day is spent basking in the sun to raise their body temperature, hunting for food and protecting their territory from other dragons. During the hottest part of the day and at night they will retreat into burrows, which stay cool in the blistering heat of the outback.
Female central netted dragons may lay as many as three clutches of eggs in a single season if food is plentiful. Each clutch contains 2-6 eggs, which are laid in a shallow excavation in the sand and left to incubate.
Central Netted Dragon Breeding
Dwarf Australian dragons
Ctenophorus pictus, commonly known as the painted dragon, is a species of lizard from the Agamidae family. Ctenophorus pictus is endemic to the drier areas of southern and central Australia.
Ctenophorus pictus, painted dragon
Scientific classification :
Binomial name :
(W. Peters, 1866)
Amphibolurus pictus W. Peters, 1866
Ctenophorus pictus — Cogger, 2000
The painted dragon is a medium-sized terrestrial lizard with a short, deep head and uniform body scales. The appearance of this species is extremely variable as it can appear in a number of different colour combinations. Adult males can be brown, yellowish brown, orange to reddish brown with dark-edged pale bars, blotches or spots overlaying a dark vertebral stripe. The flanks are spotted, variegated (irregular patches/streaks), or reticulated (net-like pattern) with dark brown and dotted with scattered, pale, dark-edged spots which will sometimes be aligned perpendicular to the vertebral stripe. The limbs are variegated and the pattern on the tail is often obscure but broad dark bands at the base. Breeding males will exhibit a bright blue flush over the lower lips, throat and limbs and a bright yellow to orange flush over the anterior chest and shoulders. Adult females and juveniles are duller in colour, lacking the bright blue and yellow pigment with females being commonly found in a rusty brown colour.
The scales, though varying slightly in size in different parts, are relatively uniform across the body and are smooth to the touch. A low crest on the back of the neck is often present which males will raise when alarmed and usually a distinct vertebral series of slightly enlarged scales can be found along the back. The ears are exposed on the side of its head and it has rather large and conspicuous eardrums.
Adults will grow to a full length of around 18–25 cm (7.1–9.8 in), with a snout-to-vent length of about 7.5 cm (3.0 in). The tail of this species usually accounts for about 65% of its total body length.
Distribution and habitat :
Painted dragons are found throughout the drier parts of south-eastern Western Australia, across South Australia to north-western Victoria and central-western New South Wales. They prefer semi-arid to arid regions, favouring shrublands and hummock grasslands on sandy and saline soils.
Like most agamids, painted dragons are swift-moving reptiles, capable of impressive sprints over short distances. This diurnal (day-active) lizard, like the majority reptiles, is an ectotherm meaning that it has to rely on its environment to regulate body temperature and as a result will spend considerable time basking to absorb heat. Known to be especially fond of low vegetation and ground debris such as fallen logs and branches, it occupies short burrows often concealed at the base of shrubs such as saltbush.Unlike the majority of other agamids which like to perch in elevated places, this species prefers to rest on low branches, from which it will forage over the surrounding open areas and ground litter. When disturbed or alarmed it will quickly retreat to the safety of the nearby burrow.
Painted dragons possess many of the traits common to the family Agamidae. They are very alert lizards with an upright stance and acute vision which they will use to search for prey and keep an eye out for mates, rivals, and predators. Most of their communication is visually oriented with stylised head bops and dips, arm waving, and tail lashing playing a big part. When looking for food, agamids will seize their prey with the use of a short, thick tongue rather than their jaws.
Employing a sit-and-wait hunting technique, painted dragons will use their keen vision to detect most of their prey by the telltale movement they make. Accordingly, their diets consist largely of surface-active, mobile prey resulting in them consuming a range of arthropods. A strange feature of the family Agamidae is that ants, which are often avoided by other lizards, feature prominently in the diets of many of its species. While it is believed that this is more of a reflection on availability than preference, it still remains to be explained why they take ants at all when so many other lizards actively avoid them due to the formic acid they contain. It is presumed that they have developed some sort of mechanism to deal with the ingestion of this chemical.
While this species is known to be predominately insectivorous, specimens kept in captivity have been observed supplementing their diet with considerable amounts of plant matter.
Colour polymorphism :
Coloration in male painted dragon populations is extremely variable, ranging from reddish brown to orange to yellowish brown, with orange being the least common. In studies of colour polymorphism, individual lizards have been categorised by their predominant colour into three discrete groups: red, orange and yellow
Higher sexual selection is correlated with the variable appearance of males. Between yellow and red coloured male lizards, female lizards sexually select for red-coloured males. The red coloration may indicate indirect benefits to the females, showing that the male has beneficial genes. These include having high testosterone levels, which in turn affects the ability to fight off predators and an aptitude to defend his territory and offspring.
Red males have higher testosterone levels than their yellow male counterparts. Testosterone is linked to aggression; increased aggression seen from a rapid increase in testosterone levels in red lizards gives them a fighting advantage in physical competition with predators. They also show more aggressive strategies in out-competing their yellow counterparts for more mating opportunities. In addition, red males defend their territory more fiercely and begin this behaviour earlier in the year, gaining a behavioural dominance over yellow males. However, the increased aggression and early defence of territory that red lizards express has a significant metabolic expense, which decreases overall fitness.
On the other hand, yellow males show high survival rates, potentially due to relatively lower energy costs in territorial defence. Furthermore, yellow males show higher sperm counts than the red lizards. Yellow males generally have larger-sized testes than red males, and they copulate for shorter periods of time. When the yellow males mate, they have, on average, three times as many offspring as their red counterparts. This dually high survivability among both red and yellow males may be why both colour morphs are maintained in painted dragon populations.
While sexual selection generally favours red males, natural selection maintains variation by selecting for more energetically efficient yellow males. Both colour traits have an evolutionary advantage, which explains the maintenance of this polymorphism in nature.
Other websites :
4- Ctenophorus fionni - Arcoona rock dragon, peninsula dragon, or peninsula crevice-dragon
Ctenophorus fionni, commonly known as the Arcoona rock dragon, peninsula dragon, or peninsula crevice-dragon, is a species of agamid lizard occurring only in South Australia.
A peninsula dragon in captivity
Scientific classification :
Binomial name :
Amphibolurus fionni Procter, 1923
Ctenophorus fionni— Cogger, 2000
The specific name, fionni, is in honor of someone called "Fionn", the identity of whom Procter never revealed.
Adults of this species have a total length (including tail) of 10 to 12 cm (3.9 to 4.7 in). Males can be distinguished from females by their more distinct stripes, often bright red or orange, while a female’s coloring is more blended and not as sharp. These dragons have strong hind legs, and they are capable of jumping surprising heights.
Ecology and behaviour :
The peninsula dragon is native to the rocky areas of Arcoona. They spend their time basking on rocks, and retreat to rock crevices for shelter. They are fast and agile, and will immediately dash to safety in between rocks when threatened.
Peninsula dragons communicate through body posture, body movement, and color display, and these communications are most likely to be displayed during breeding seasons.
Breeding season starts at around spring, when the weather is beginning to warm up. Males in this time of year become very active, showing dominance and fighting for females. Females are known to lay up to 6 eggs, typically during spring and summer depending on the location and conditions.
Peninsula dragons are omnivores, meaning that they feed on a diet of both meat, in this case insects, and vegetation. The dragon’s diet comprises approximately 70% insects and 30% vegetation.
Peninsula Dragons Care (Arcoona Rock Dragon)
Other websites :
- Species and subfamilies list : ( AUSTRALIA )
- Species and subfamilies list : ( AUSTRALIA )