The Eastern Bearded Dragon
or Jew Lizard
) is a lizard
found in wooded parts of Australia
. It is most common in eastern Australia south of Cape York Peninsula
, but specimens have been collected from Cape York, through central Australia, and even from the west coast of Australia. It is a large species of grey-black colour distinguished from its relative, the Central Bearded Dragon
), by its less robust body and the row of spines
along the lateral edge of the body, which continues over the forearm (Cogger, 1992). It tends to be more cryptic in its behaviour than the Central Bearded Dragon and performs its bearded display more often. It has an adult snout-tail length of about 24 inches (60 cm). When threatened, in addition to its beard display, it gapes – turning its mouth a very pale yellow colour.
The Eastern Bearded Dragon resembles its close relative the smaller Central Bearded Dragon
. It is usually grey-black in skin colour and is sometimes reddish-brown, yellowish-brown, or dark brown. Juveniles are paler in colour than the adults and have patterns that fade as they mature. As it matures it develops a hard to notice pale yellow, blue, or green tinge on the forepart of its head. The adult males can grow up to about , and females up to . The adult males have a dark grey to black "beard".
Eastern Bearded Dragons are diurnal
. They are semi-arboreal
and perch on semi-high places retreating to lower and darker places when too hot. The Eastern Bearded Dragon is also known to do the arm wave as a sign of submission or just for general communication. Their beard is displayed when agitated or threatened, or for territorial and mating displays. When agitated they also gape and hiss. The Eastern Bearded Dragon is more aggressive than the Central Bearded Dragon, demands more space and is less docile. The males are very territorial and only have submissive females and juveniles in their territory. Dominant males are usually the biggest dragons and get the highest perch.
The Eastern Bearded Dragon feeds on a variety of small vertebrate and invertebrates including crickets, small grasshoppers, worms, beetles, katydids, small mice, and small reptiles. In captivity they also eat a few vegetables. These include clover and dandelion flowers.
In late 2005, University of Melbourne
researchers discovered that Komodo Dragons
), other Monitors
, Gila Monsters
such as Pogona barbata
and Beaded Lizards
) are somewhat venomous
. Previously, it had been thought that bites inflicted by these lizards were simply prone to infection because of bacteria in the lizards' mouths, but these researchers have shown that the immediate effects – at least in the Komodo Dragon, Spotted Tree Monitor
) and Lace Monitor
– are caused by mild envenomation. The Eastern Bearded Dragon "retains characteristics of the ancestral venom system, namely serial, lobular non-compound venom-secreting glands on both the upper and lower jaws . . .".