Common Name: Frilled-Neck Lizard or Frilled Dragon
Scientific Name: Chlamydosaurus kingii
Average Life Span: 10 years
Size: Up to 3 feet
IUCN Red List Status: Least Concern
Current Population Trend: Unknown
The frilled-necked lizard, also known commonly as the frilled lizard, frilled dragon or frilled agama, is a species of lizard in the family Agamidae. The species is endemic to northern Australia and southern New Guinea. Its common names come from the large frill around its neck, which usually stays folded against the lizard's body. C. kingii is largely arboreal, spending the majority of the time in the trees. Its diet consists mainly of insects and small vertebrates. Frilled-neck lizards, or 'frillies' as some call them, will occasionally eat plants as well, although this behavior is uncommon. It is capable of bipedal locomotion.
The frilled-neck lizard is found mainly in the northern regions of Australia and southern New Guinea. The lizard on rare occasions is found in the lower desert regions of Australia but primarily inhabits humid climates such as those in the tropical savannah woodlands. It tends to be an arboreal lizard, meaning it spends a majority of its time in the trees.The lizard ventures to the floor only in search of food, or to engage in territorial conflicts. The arboreal habitat may be a product of the lizard's diet, which consists mainly of small arthropods and vertebrates (usually smaller lizards). However, the trees are most importantly used for camouflage. Frilled lizards have a cunning habit of moving to the opposite side of the tree trunk they are perched on when approached. If you try to walk around the side they will keep moving around the trunk trying to keep the tree between themselves and the approaching danger.
Like many lizards, frill-necked lizards are carnivores, feeding on cicadas, beetles, termites, and mice. They especially favor butterflies, moths and their larvae. Though insects are their primary source of food, they also consume spiders and occasionally other lizards. Like most members of the agamids (dragons), frill-necked lizards employ an ambush method of hunting, lying in wait for their prey. When the lizards eat, they eat in abundance; these binge periods usually occur during the wet season, when they ingest hundreds to thousands of alate (flying) ants or termites.
Because of its unique appearance and behavior, it has often
been used in film and television. A frill-necked lizard named "Frank"
appeared in the 1990 Disney animated film The Rescuers Down Under. In the 1993 film Jurassic Park, the dinosaur Dilophosaurus was portrayed with a neck frill that raised when attacking, and generated an increase in demand for frill-necked lizards as pets.