Boyd's forest dragon is only found in the rainforests of north eastern
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.
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.
They eat beetles, spiders, crickets and lots of ants. They also love
earthworms. Although they may occasionally eat rainforest fruits, this
seems to be rare.
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.
breeding season is late spring and early summer. At this time 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 (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. 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.
lizards mature at about 1-3 years of age. They may live for about five
or ten years but this is uncertain.
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 anus and legs
and slides around the back of the tree, keeping the trunk between
itself and its observer.
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
more information on these lovely animals look at Nature Australia
Vol 25 No 8 Autumn 1997
for an excellent article entitled Forest Dragons by Boyd’s
specialist Geordie Torr
This extra information was supplied courtesy of The
Queensland Environmental Protection Agency.