Behaviour and spatial ecology of Gilbert's dragon Lophognathus gilberti (Agamidae: Reptilia)
Royal Society of Western Australia
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Natural Sciences
We examined the behavioural and spatial ecology of Lophognathus gilberti, a medium-sized, diurnal, dragon lizard that is commonly found in urban areas of north-western Australia. Males defend daily activity areas against other males, but not females. Both males and females shift their daily activity area on sequential days. Lophognathus gilberti use sight and perhaps auditory cues to locate prey, which consists mostly of invertebrates. They catch a prey item every 92 minutes, or 6-7 items each day, most often by sprinting from an elevated perch, but they do not actively search in leaf litter for prey. Three different stationary postures were observed; defensive, vigilant and aggressive. Males also have a courting posture that involves head bobbing, body pressing and tail twitching. These lizards often wave a forelimb and bob their heads after each short sprint. Movement is most often bipedal, with males moving greater distances (37.8 m h-1) than females (13 m h-1). When active, L. gilberti are most often found in full shade, and within 5 m of vegetation cover. They are constantly vigilant and are capable swimmers, diving to the bottom to avoid capture.