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  1. 205 Photo by Farhan Bokhari
  2. 205_0 Tail photo by Farhan Bokhari

Ring-tailed Dragon

Ctenophorus caudicinctus

Appearance

  • Colour: Pale fawn to orange-brown or bright red above, usually with dark spots on each side of the spine and irregular cross-bands formed by scattered pale spots and dark flecks.  The long tapering tail has dark brown-black rings.  It has whitish or yellowish underside and males have a dark net-like pattern on the throat.  There is a black patch on the chest and an orange flush on the inside of the limbs.
  • Size: Moderate to large dragon, up to 35 cm long.

Behaviour

  • Diet: Ants, spiders and other arthropods.
  • Movement: Runs on its hind legs with a pedalling action or on all fours, chasing prey and leaping to catch low-flying insects.  It basks and displays from elevated perches on rocks or rocky slopes.  If disturbed it drops to the ground and runs at high speed into cover.  They communicate by head-bobbing, doing vigorous press-ups by raising the front of the body while jerking the head up and down and displaying their throat and chest.
  • Breeding: They breed in the warmer months from November to March.  Females lay a clutch of 3 – 8 soft shelled eggs.  These eggs hatch from January to May.  They become sexually mature at about 9 months.  Some live to about 20 months but few live beyond their first year.

What to Observe

  • Feeding
  • Basking
  • Courting/mating
  • Hatched eggs
  • Presence of juveniles

ClimateWatch Science Advisor

They may start appearing in new areas as warmer temperatures enable them to live in environments that were previously too cold for them.

When To Look

  • They breed in the warmer months from November to March.
  • Eggs hatch from January to May.

Where To Look

  • It is well adapted to arid areas and can be found in open woodlands, shrublands and hummock grasslands in rocky ranges slopes, gorges, rocky outcrops and on gibber plains.

Ring-tailed Dragon Occurrence Map ALA

References

Cogger HG 2000. Reptiles & Amphibians of Australia, Sixth Edition. Reed New Holland, Sydney.

Cronin L 2009 Cronin’s key guide to Australian reptiles and frogs. Jacana Books.

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  1. Did You Know?

    It is one of the fastest lizards in Australia.