The Mountain Dragon belongs to a genus of small lizards (Rankinia) which usually have hidden or covered ear structures. It is similar in appearance to the Jacky Lizard but the inside of its mouth is blue (compared with yellow for the Jacky Lizard).
A Mountain Dragon, Rankinia diemensis, Cape Portland, Tasmania.
Photographer: Peter Robertson. Source: Wildlife Profiles
Mountain Dragons are pale grey to dark brown in colour with darker patches on the back arranged in four lines. The scales on their backs are variable with the large spiny ones centrally located and arranged in lines down the back. They also have spiny scales along each side of the base of the tail. Mountain Dragons have a snout-vent length of about 80 millimetres and their tails are quite long (often 120 millimetres or more).
Biology and other information
The Mountain Dragon is the most southerly distributed dragon lizard in the world. Its diet consists mainly of insects. Reproduction is similar to that of the Jacky Lizard – they breed every summer and may have 3-9 eggs. Adults in the southern part of the distribution tend to reach a greater size than their northerly relatives.
A Mountain Dragon, Rankinia diemensis, digging a nest
Photographer / Source: Michael Kearney
Distribution and Habitat
Mountain Dragons are confined to the uplands of south-eastern Australia including the eastern part of Tasmania. They inhabit dry sclerophyll forests and heathlands and are usually found in ground litter or low vegetation.
The distribution of the Mountain Dragon in Victoria
Source: Museum Victoria (www.museum.vic.gov.au/bioinformatics)
Cogger H. 2000. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia. Reed Books.
Wilson S. & Swan G. 2003. Reptiles of Australia. Princeton University Press.