Boyd's Rainforest Dragon

BY: Hailey Dunker

Basic Information

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Reptilia

Order: Squamata

Suborder: Lacertilia

Family: Agamidae

Latin Name: Hypsilurus boydii

Common Name: Boyd's Rainforest Dragon

Habitat of the Boyd's Rainforest Dragon

                 Rainforests of Northeast Queensland, Australia. Townsville area. Lake                Barrine National Park.

Role in the Ecosystem

Boyd's rainforest dragons will go extinct by 2050. The dragon is likely to be one of the million doomed to extinction. The dragon is at risk because of how it regulates its body temperature, and ninety per cent of its habitat could be unsuitable by 2050.

Diet

  • Their diet consists of insects and other invertebrates with ants the most common prey item.
  • They will also take beetles, grasshoppers and have a special fondness for earthworms. Although they may occasionally eat rainforest fruits, this seems to be rare.

Reproductive Habits

  • Stormy weather in December has been shown to encourage mating and egg laying behaviour in Boyd's Forest Dragon.
  • Mating attempts have been viewed on the forest floor with the larger male giving no attention to decorous behaviour.
  • female dragons in the cooler uplands often move in search of open sunny spots, such as roads. They tend to sit on the roads, presumably using the warmth to help speed development of the eggs which can be a risky habit. Despite their fairly large size, forest dragons produce relatively small clutches, laying only one to six eggs at a time in a shallow hole.
  • The breeding season is late spring and early summer. At this time Unfortunately upland dragons often lay them in warmer areas at the sides of roads where they are vulnerable to vehicles. Lowland dragons lay on the forest floor.

Unique Adaptations

The Boyd's rainforest dragon changes colors to whatever it is on. This way they aren't out in the open so be eaten and so the lizard can find food easier. Boyd's rainforest dragon cannot be in cold weather. This will dry them out and they will die. They live in the rainforest becasue it is hot and wet. These lizards have to have moister on their body's at all time.

Interesting Facts

  • Boyd's forest dragon belongs to a South-east Asian group of lizards, although it is endemic to the Wet Tropics region of North Queensland.
  • The male 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. Movements within the territories vary with season with dragons travelling 100m or more during summer days but relatively little in winter.
  • These lizards spend much of their time perching on the side of tree trunks just one or two metres from the ground waiting to ambush prey. They sometimes have favourite trees to which they will regularly return.
  • The male is larger than the female and can be distinguished by its larger, blockier head. Both sexes have a large yellow dewlap below their chins which they can erect using a bone called the hyoid. The dewlap is used for displaying to each other and to scare off predators.
  • The lizards mature at about 1-3 years of age. They may live for about five or ten years but this is uncertain.
  • In general the forest dragon relies on its superb camouflage to escape predators. It will usually stay very still, only moving when it is sure it has been spotted. Then it slowly folds in its arms and legs and slides around the back of the tree, keeping the trunk between itself and its observer.
  • 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 large bump – it may well turn out to be a lizard.
  • Sunlight is not always available in the rainforest; the thick canopy blocking most of it. Hence several lizard species have abandoned basking in favour of a lifestyle known as 'thermoconforming'. This is where the lizard's body temperature simply conforms to that of the air around it.

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