Rankinia

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Rankinia
Mountain dragon on hand.jpg
Mountain Dragon (Rankinia diemensis)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Iguania
Family: Agamidae
Subfamily: Amphibolurinae
Genus: Rankinia
Wells & Wellington, 1984
Type species
Grammatophora muricata diemensis
Gray, 1841

Rankinia is a genus of small agamid reptiles. As currently delineated, it is monotypic, containing only Rankinia diemensis (Gray, 1841),[1] also known as the mountain heath dragon or mountain dragon. It is endemic to Australia.[2]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

It occurs in the uplands of New South Wales and Victoria, as well as in Tasmania, where it is the only native agamid. Mountain dragons are found in dry woodlands and heaths with access to open areas for sunning themselves. They are oviparous and feed on ants and other small invertebrates.[3][4]

They do not climb very high, relying instead on camouflage to evade predators.[5]

Description[edit]

Their overall colour is grey to reddish brown, with two rows of lighter-coloured paravertebral stripes or blotches running down their backs. These stripes are deeply scalloped, so they appear like two series of blotches. They can have cream-coloured bellies. Individuals can grow up to 20 cm in length, although the average length is somewhat smaller, with females typically growing larger than males. The average snout to base of tail length is 7.5 centimeters[6], but can be up to 9.[7] They have a row of enlarged spinose (spikey) scales on each side of the tail bases.

The mountain dragon appears similar to the jacky dragon, but can be much redder, and the inside of its mouth is pink (compared to the yellow of the jacky dragon).[5]

They breed in summer, laying 2–9 eggs in a burrow.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Rankinia at the Reptarium.cz Reptile Database. Accessed 4 August 2020.
  2. ^ Rankinia diemensis at the Reptarium.cz Reptile Database. Accessed 4 August 2020.
  3. ^ TPWS: Wildlife of Tasmania – Mountain Dragon
  4. ^ Cogger, H.G. (1979). Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia. Reed: Sydney. ISBN 0-589-50108-9
  5. ^ a b Griffiths, Ken (1987). Reptiles of the Sydney Region. Three Sisters Publications Pty Ltd. p. 50. ISBN 0-9590203-3-0.
  6. ^ "Mountain Dragon". Australian Reptile Online Database. Retrieved 11 April 2020.
  7. ^ a b "Rankinia diemensis (Gray, 1841), Mountain Dragon". Musem Victoria Collections. Retrieved 11 April 2020.