Frill-Necked Dragon (Chlamydosaurus kingii)
Darwin, Northern Territory
The frill-necked Dragon is one of Australia’s most famous reptiles. A relatively large member of the agamid (Dragon) family, it can grow up to 85cm. When threatened, it produces a startling defensive display, gaping its mouth and spreading out its frill, displaying bright colourful scales. This behaviour is used in territorial displays, to discourage predators, and during courtship.
In the ‘Top End’ of Australia these lizards enter an inactive period during the dry season, preferring to dwell high up in the tree canopy where they are safe from predators such as birds of prey, large monitor lizards, snakes and dingoes. When the wet season arrives they descend from the treetops and ravenously feed on a diet of cicadas, beetles, termites and especially butterflies, moths and their larvae. Though insects are their primary source of food, they also consume spiders and even the occasional small lizard.