Jacky Dragon - Reptile Encounters

Jacky Dragon

Scientific name:

Amphibolurus muricatus

Other names:

Jacky tree dragon, Jacky lizard, Jacky Jacky, Ta-Ta lizard, Tree Dragon


Common and widespread

A very variable species, with the orsal colour normally grey to brown often heavily speckled with cream, black or brown. Two rows of pale blotches on the back, which may be large enough to join and become two large, pale stripes. There are 5 short crests of spikes along the back. Tail is irregularly patterned. The inside of the mouth is bright yellow, which we can use to tell them apart from other dragon species that otherwise look very similar. The closely-related Mallee Dragon (Amphibolurus norrisi) has a yellow inner mouth as well, but the two species’ ranges don’t overlap.. Males can often be told apart from females by their larger heads.

A wide range of small invertebrates including beetles, crickets, grasshoppers, spiders and cockroaches, but smaller lizards are also taken.

Jacky Dragons will utilise a wide range of treed habitats, including damp and dry sclerophyll forest, box-ironbark forest, heathland, banksia woodland and coastal scrub ecosystems.

Widely distributed throughout the south-eastern parts of Australia, from central Queensland in the north, through NSW and most of Vic (but not the alpine or semi-arid areas) and into the south-eastern portion of SA. This is the most common and widespread species of dragon in Victoria.

Only active during the day, this species is often encountered basking on fallen timber or elevated branches, monitoring its surroundings and darting quickly down to the ground when prey is sighted. When out in the open, it can flee with surprising speed, raising itself up on two legs in order to move even faster, and will readily climb up trees in order to avoid predators.

Mating occurs in spring with 3-12 eggs being laid. The sex of offspring is temperature-dependant, meaning that the ratio of male to female offspring is determined by the temperature of the nest.

Jacky dragons have complex social interactions, with a variety of head-bobs, arm-waves, tail-whips, ‘push-ups’ and other body signals being used to communicate with other individuals.

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