Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve

Southern Angle-Headed Dragon

Hypsilurus spinipes

Southern angle-headed dragon - Hypsilurus spinipesThe southern angle-headed dragon is a rainforest dweller and grows up to 40cm long. It is grey-brown or chocolate-brown on top, often suffused with green. Some are completely free of spots while others have dark brown flecks, spots and sometimes faint dark bands across the top of the back and tail. It has a high crest of spines on the top of its neck. The sides of the head meet to form an acute angle, hence the name. Its limbs are long and slender with a series of enlarged, spiny scales on the upper surfaces.

Its habitat is subtropical rainforest of the D'Aguilar Range, especially Mt Glorious. It is also found in the rainforest of Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve. It can be seen clinging to tree buttresses and sapling stems. The dragon has the delightful habit of moving sideways around the trunk to escape observation.

Two, or possibly three, species occur in Australia where they are confined to the rainforests and adjacent forest communities of the east coast. They clearly represent a relatively recent migrant from the island of New Guinea.

(Illustration by Kay McKee)

 

More amazing animals . . .

Rainforest Gardeners - Red legged pademelon - Pink underwing moth
Mountain crayfish - Giant barred frog - Angle-headed dragon
Red-bellied black snake - Marbled frogmouth

 

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