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Australian Rainforest Fauna

Boyds Forest Dragon
by

Sam Y

on 13 May 2010

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Transcript of Australian Rainforest Fauna

Australian Rainforest Fauna
<<< Boyds Forest Dragon >>>

By Samantha Yuen
Classification:
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Iguania
Family: Agamidea
Genus: Hypsilurus
Species: H.boydii
Common Name : Boyds Forest Dragon

What is Boyds Forest Dragon?
The Boyds Forest Dragon is a medium sized lizard. Where can you find Boyds Forest Dragons?
(Distribution)
They are native to the rainforests of north-eastern Queensland, restricted in area from south of Cooktown, to the Atherton Tableland region and south to Paluma near Townsville. How does it look like?
(Appearance)
olive brown colour with brighter patches of yellow,black and white
large pointed scales on a crest behind its head
pinkish flat-topped conical scales on the cheeks
deep mustard yellow pouch beneath the jaw line
How big is it?
(Appearance)
It grows up to half a metre high.
Its head and body length of about 15cm adding another 30cm to total length.
The male is larger than the female and can be distinguished by its larger blocker head. How do Boyds Forest Dragons protect themselves?
(Behaviour)
camouflage among the trees, especially lichen-covered tree trunks.

it sits very still wrapped around the tree, only moving when it is sure it has been spotted.

it has a row of large tooth-like spines running under the "throat"; scales behind the neck are enlarged.

It has a large yellow dewlap below the chin which they can erect using a bone called the hyoid. This dewlap is used for displaying to each other and to scare off predators. What are their other behaviours?
Both males and females are territorial.

Males has a home range of about 1000 square metres.

Female ranges are slightly smaller.

Home ranges of the same sexes do not overlap but larger male territories often contain one or more female territories.

Their body temperature fluctuate with air temperature.

Lizards commence activity at dawn and cease activity at dusk.

Activity is highly seasonal, ceasing during the cooler months. How do they catch food?
They perch on the side of tree trunks and waiting to ambush prey, daily movement can exceed 100 meters. What do they eat?
(Diet)
Mainly invertebrates
Preferrably earthworm, beetles, spiders, grasshoppers, crickets, ants
Rainforest fruits occasionally. How do they reproduce their youngs?
(Life cycle)

Reproduction via eggs, clutch sizes varying from 1-6 eggs.

They lay eggs during the first few weeks of December.

Eggs are laid in shallow burrow covered with leaf litter and thin soil.

Incubation time: 2 months

During breeding season, female dragon in the cooler uplands move in search of open sunny spots, such as roads. They use the warmth to help speed development of the eggs.

Boyds Forest Dragon mature at about 1-3 years of age.

Life span: 5-10 years.
How do they do to the rainforest?
(Impact on Rainforest)

As important part of the food web in the ecosystem. The Dragon as a prey for its predators, such as the Grey Goshawk.

They keep the number of insects and the number of their predators balance in the rainforest.
Did you know?
(Interesting Facts)

The best way to spot a forest dragon is to carefully scan the sides of the trees at about head height, while slowly walking through the rainforest. Examine any larger bump-it may well turn out to be a lizard. (What a shocker!)

Sunlight is not always available in the rainforest as the thick canopy blocking most of it. Therefore, this lizard have abandoned basking in favour of a lifestyle known as "thermoconforming". That means the lizard's body temperature simply conforms to that of the land around it, except some females.

Female dragons in the cooler uplands often move to open sunny spots, such as road where they are vulnerable to vehicles. They sit there to use the warmth to help speed the eggs development. (Risky!)




Where do they like to live?
(Habitat)
They live on one or two favourite tree trunks about 1-2 metres off the ground. Did you know?
(Interesting Facts)

Boyds Forest Dragon belongs to a Southeast Asian group of lizards, although our species (Hypsilurus boydii) is endemic to the Wet Tropics region of North Queensland.

Once a Boyds Forest Dragon is sure it has been spotted, it slowly folds in its arms and legs and slides around the back of the tree, keeping the trunk between itself and its observer. (Clever!)
The End
Hope you enjoyed it!
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