T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Lizard (Australian water dragon) Intellagama lesueurii

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Iguania
Family: Agamidae
Genus: Intellagama
Species: I. lesueurii
Binomial name: Intellagama lesueurii
Synonym: Physignathus lesueurii
Common names: Australian water dragon, Eastern water dragon, Gippsland water dragon,  Eastern Australian water dragon 

Intellagama lesueurii is an arboreal, aquatic, agamid species native to eastern Australia from Victoria northwards to Queensland.
In May 2017 one was captured near Lake Waiwiri in the Papaitonga Scenic Reserve, south of Levin.
In 2018 another was seen and photographed in the same area. The Department of Conservation has asked for sightings to be reported to DOC Manawatu on 06 350 9700 or by email to manawatu@doc.govt.nz.
In April 2018 one was seen sunning itself on rocks at Back Beach, New Plymouth, Taranaki  While they are listed as a pest animal in some of New Zealand's regions there are no restrictions owning them in Taranaki. 
Water dragons are kept as pets in New Zealand, so these lizards could have escaped or been dumped In the wild they could breed and threaten New Zealand’s native wildlife such as native snails, insects, bird eggs and native snails. They could prey on native fish and koura (freshwater crayfish).

Intellagama lesueurii have long powerful limbs and claws for climbing, a long muscular laterally-compressed tail for swimming, and prominent nuchal and vertebral crests. (A nuchal crest is a central row of spikes at the base of the head). These spikes continue down the spine, getting smaller as they reach the base of the tail. They can grow more than a metre in length, including their tails. The tails comprise about two-thirds of their total length.
They are fast runners and strong climbers. When faced with a potential predator, they seek cover in thick vegetation or drop from an overhanging branch into the water. They are able to swim totally submerged, and rest on the bottom of shallow creeks or lakes for up to 90 minutes, to avoid detection. Both males and females display typical agamid behaviours such as basking, arm-waving and head-bobbing. The females lay eggs in clutches ranging from 6 to 18 eggs.

 



Thanks to Wikipedia for text and information: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/