Thorny Dragon Facts
- The Thorny Dragon is a species of lizard endemic to Australia. This animal is so unique that it is the only species currently classified within its genus.
- This unique reptile was first described by the noted biologist John Edward Gray, in 1841. The Thorny Dragon also possesses a typical lifespan of approximately 20 years.
- This species also displays a degree of sexual dimorphism. In this reptile, the female is noticeably larger than the male.
- For reasons as yet undetermined, the Thorny Dragon also moves with a unique combination of slow, rocking motions, as it searches for mates, water, and food.
Thorny Dragon Physical Characteristics
The Thorny Dragon attains an average overall length of approximately 8 in (20 cm). Its coloring is a haphazard combination of reds, browns, and tan.
As a result, it has extremely effective camouflage within its natural habitat. The shades also change with the seasons, becoming lighter during the warmer months, and darker during the colder months.
The entire body of the creature remains covered with conical spines. It has also evolved a structure on the back of its neck, resembling a false head. This is made of soft tissue.
The Thorny Dragon utilizes this as a decoy when attacked by predators, by dipping its actual head.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Reptilia
- Order: Squamata
- Family: Agamidae
- Genus: Moloch
- Species: M. horridus
Thorny Dragon Habitat and Diet
The Thorny Dragon is endemic to the central and western sections of Australia. Within that range, it also typically inhabits either plain, desert, scrubland and the Roe Botanical District, in the central section.
In the western section, it generally inhabits areas of sandy loam.
It also feeds as voracious predators. The reptile will eat a variety of insects if the need arises but usually subsist entirely on ants. A single one of these lizards commonly consumes several thousand ants in a single day.
At night, the rigid structure and designs of its spine actually channel moisture condensation directly into its mouth.