In search of dragons…

Members of the ABG and volunteers recently returned from a tour of central and coastal New South Wales (Oct/Nov 2018) in search of the cryptic Jacky dragon (Amphibolurus muricatus). Jacky dragons are small (80-100mm SVL) agamid lizards that are typically seen lounging on a fallen branch in the sun.

Jacky lizard
Jacky lizard

Found across South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and southern Queensland, their habitats vary considerably and include coastal heathlands, dry forest and rocky outcroppings. On this trip the ABG visited several scenic locations including Coonabarabran, the Gibraltar Ranges, Taree, and The Entrance.

Varying habitat of Jacky lizatds

From top: Mulligans Rd, Gibraltar Ranges National Park, Mount Yarrowyck (near Armidale NSW), Yarrat State Forest (Taree), Wyrrabalong National Park (The Entrance, NSW).

These lizards are well known to employ camouflage to avoid predation, but the details of their strategies are unexplored – the purpose of this trip was to collect data to investigate how geographically and genetically distinct populations vary in things such as pattern, perch choice and substrate availability. Weather was, for the most part, spectacular, and many lizards were located and catalogued, including some heavily gravid females!

Where's Jacky
Where is the lizard?