Ctenophorus fionni — Peninsula Dragon
Some other names for this species:
Peninsular Dragon, Arcoona Rock Dragon, Peninsula Crevice-dragon, Peninsula Dragon Lizard
Like several of the other Ctenophorus species, Ctenophorus fionni is strongly sexually dimorphic (meaning "males and females look quite different"). The males have bright, bold colors and patterns that draw attention, as does their habit of perching in very visible sites and bobbing up and down. Sometimes the attention this draws is that of a rival male. While I was photographing the third lizard pictured above on a large rock slab, a second male appeared and tried to intimidate the first one away. They would circle each other warily until one got brave enough to rush at the other one, then they would both race around for awhile and settle further apart than they started. Then one of the two would start creeping toward the other and the dance would begin anew.
The females (last three photos above) are colored to blend in, and more circumspect in their movements also. The last one pictured above is heavy with eggs, and also has a big fat tick in her ear.
This lizard from a different area in Gawler Ranges National Park really demonstrates the effectiveness of the camouflage of the females.
Peninsula Dragons are endemic to the Eyre Peninsula of South Australia. The first group of Peninsula Dragons I had seen were in the Gawler Ranges on the north end of the peninsula. I didn't recognize these two lizards from the south end of the peninsula as the same species until people more familiar with the reptiles of this area clued me in. It seems that there are a number of separated populations, and the coloration and even size of the lizards varies significantly from one population to the next. I believe these two are females.
And I believe the first two here are females, and the third one is a male that is just about to shed its skin.
- Cogger, H. G. 2014. Reptiles & Amphibians of Australia, Seventh Edition
- Wilson, S. and Swan, G. 2017. A Complete Guide to Reptiles of Australia, Fifth Edition