Rankin's dragon is an agamid that is
closely related to the well-known
inland bearded dragon (Pogona
vitticeps). The Rankin's
dragon has many other common names,
including Lawson's, Prairie, Black
Soil, Dumpy, Plains, and Dwarf
bearded dragon. There has also been
a bit of a turbulent taxonomic
history and it has been given the
scientific name P. rankini
and Amphibolurus brevis. The
recognized species name of
henrylawsoni was given in honor of
Henry Lawson, a renowned Australian
poet and philosopher.
Range: These dragons inhabit the black soil plains of queensland. The main range of this species occurs in Longreach, QLD in the southeast corner of their range to Julia Creek in the northwest of their range and Hughenden, QLD in the northeast. There have also been disjunct sightings in suitable habitat just south of the Gulf of Carpentaria as well as in the vicinity of Croydon, QLD.
Habitat: The habitat preference is the black soil plains of northern inland Queensland. As the temperature of their habitat increases, the clay soils of these plains forms deep cracks. The dragons make use of these cracks for shelter from the harsh conditions These plains are sparsely vegetated and plant life consists primarily of grasses and some scattered shrubs.
Natural History Notes: Since they inhabit the deep cracks of the black soil plains, they will have refuge from the hot summer temperatures. The soil cracks also provide shelter for prey species, primarily insects.
Little is known about the natural history of the Rankin's dragon. Turner and Valentic (1996) published some notes on a trip to study this species. The dragons were typically found basking on rocks in the late afternoon at temps just under 100˚F. When approached, they would often employ crypsis and remain motionless to avoid detection, color chaning to some extent to better match the habitat (Turner and Valentic, 1996). They will also drop down below their basking spot or retreat to a deep crack or burrow in the soil. When they feel threatened, they will adopt the typical Pogona behavior of flattening their bodies, gaping and flaring their beard.
General Notes: These dragons are less commonly available than their larger cousins, but display the full personality that makes bearded dragons so popular. We employ vertically oriented cinder blocks to mimic soil cracks, which are used as retreat sites. They are a very fun species to work with.
Pair of Rankin's Dragons (Pogona henrylawsoni)
Male Rankin's Dragon (Pogona henrylawsoni)
Gravid female Pogona henrylawsoni