Frilled lizard

Chlamydosaurus kingii

SUBFAMILY

Agaminae

TAXONOMY

Chlamydosaurus kingii Gray, 1825, Port Nelson, northwestern coast of Australia.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: Frill-necked lizard, cloaked lizard; Australian aboriginal dialect: Bemmung.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

These are large, pale or dark gray lizards. Juveniles sometimes are reddish.

DISTRIBUTION

The species occurs in all of tropical northern Australia, down the east coast as far as Brisbane, Queensland. Cogger (1992) says that they are "extra-limital" in southern New Guinea.

HABITAT

The frilled lizard inhabits semihumid grassy woodlands. These arboreal lizards are seldom found very far from trees.

BEHAVIOR

The species spends most of its time on tree trunks, descending to the ground after rain. When threatened, these lizards erect a large, reddish, fanlike frill around their necks. Two modified elongated hyoid bones form rods used to expand the frill. Like many long-legged lizards, frilled lizards can run bipedally.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

This lizard feeds mostly on invertebrates but also on some small vertebrates.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

A clutch of 13 eggs has been recorded.

CONSERVATION STATUS

The species is not threatened at present, but it may be devastated soon by introduced toxic cane toads.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

Fire prevention signs along roads in the Northern Territory announce, "We like our lizards frilled, not grilled." ♦

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