Southern Angle-Headed Dragon

angle headed dragon

(Illustration by Kay McKee)

The southern angle-headed dragon is a rainforest dweller and grows up to 40cm long. It is grey-brown or chocolate-brown on top, often suffused with green. Some are completely free of spots while others have dark brown flecks, spots and sometimes faint dark bands across the top of the back and tail. It has a high crest of spines on the top of its neck. The sides of the head meet to form an acute angle, hence the name. Its limbs are long and slender with a series of enlarged, spiny scales on the upper surfaces.

Hypsilurus spinipes

Its habitat is subtropical rainforest of the D’Aguilar Range, especially Mt Glorious. It is also found in the rainforest of Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve. It can be seen clinging to tree buttresses and sapling stems. The dragon has the delightful habit of moving sideways around the trunk to escape observation.

Two, or possibly three, species occur in Australia where they are confined to the rainforests and adjacent forest communities of the east coast. They clearly represent a relatively recent migrant from the island of New Guinea.

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