classification
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Lacertilia
Infraorder: Iguania
Family: Agamidae
Subfamily: Agaminae
Genus: Chlamydosaurus
Species: C. kingii

FRILLED LIZARD

The Australian frilled lizard is a small tree dwelling creature native to northern Australia and Papua New Guinea. Its most identifiable feature is its serrated edged, large frill which is usually kept folded flat against its long body. It is a relatively large lizard species, averaging 85 cm in total length - including the tail.  Male frilled lizards are generally larger than the females, although there is little to no dimorphism in the colour of the two genders.

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Like most lizards it is active during the day, relying on the sun to warm its blood giving it the necessary energy to feed and move quickly. Its body is covered by tiny scales which help to reduce water loss.

It is an arboreal species meaning that it spends most of its time living amongst the trees and basking on sunny branches. However it will venture to the floor in search of food, or to engage in territorial conflicts. Its long, slim forelegs and enlarged hind legs allow it to stretch out to reach other branches, or jump from one branch to another, as well as to move easily upright on the ground. It has a long slim tail which (unlike many other lizards) is not easily shed.

If threatened by a predator, the frilled lizard will turn to face it, and in an instant can erect its ruff-like frill making itself seem far larger and more intimidating head-on. At the same time it will stand upright on its hind legs, swinging its tail in a whip-like motion, and hissing with its mouth wide open. 

When fully spread, the frill (which is also covered in scales) can reach up to 25 cm in diametre and depending on the individual can display a complex and somewhat attractive pattern of muted colours. The pattern can vary considerably depending on the regions in which the lizard lives. In Queensland the frill is usually yellow with black and white markings, in the Northern Territory is more likely to be orange with reddish-black and white decorations.

The frill with is make up of folded skin that lies flat, below and at either side of the head. It is raised by a series of cartilage rods which are connected to the jaw bones. Some believe that the frill also acts as a 'solar panel' speeding up the the intake of heat from the sun.

In its native habitat, insects, spiders and small mammals make up the main diet of the frilled lizard. In turn it is preyed upon by birds such as eagles and owls, larger lizards, snakes, dingoes and quolls. 

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FRILLED LIZARD

About the Author

The 'Seeds of Eaden' website is the brainchild of professional horticulturist and multi-award winning gardener Simon Eade. After six years of study; two years 'Retail Horticulture' at Hadlow College, then four years Commercial Horticulture at Greenwich University, Simon has worked in a number of 'fields' within the industry for over twenty years. Most notably, managing the prestigious Alexandra Palace garden centre in London. Since then he has become an internationally published writer, and author of the popular 'Garden of Eaden' blog.

Simon Eade is also a recipient of the Royal Horticultural Society's Banksian medal

You can contact the 'Seeds of Eaden' at gardenofeaden@gmail.com