From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Lophognathus temporalis (TaTa Lizard).jpg
Lophognathus temporalis on an anemometer.
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Iguania
Family: Agamidae
Subfamily: Amphibolurinae
Genus: Lophognathus
Gray, 1842

Lophognathus is a genus of lizards found in northern Australia extending south to the Murray-Darling Basin,[1] New Guinea, and Tanimbar Islands. The five species are informally described as dragons, as are several genera in the family Agamidae, and closely related to those of Amphibolurus.

Lophognathus species are slender, slightly compressed, agamid lizards that are often found in trees. They occur in a variety of habitat, including sand dunes and arid regions, but frequently near watercourses. Three species are endemic to Australia, L. burnsi, L. gilberti and L. longirostris; L. temporalis is found in both Australia and New Guinea.[2] The last species, L. maculilabris, is endemic to the Tanimbar Islands (Timor Laut).[3]

In Australia, these lizards are colloquially known as "Ta Ta" lizards, due to their habit of "waving" after running across hot surfaces.

The first description of a species in the genus Lophognathus was by John Edward Gray in 1842.[4] The species he described, Lophognathus gilberti, was named after English naturalist John Gilbert, the collector of the type specimen.[5]


Illustration of L. maculilabris by Joseph Smit.

Five species are currently recognized in this genus:[6]


  1. ^ Ellis, M., and Higgins, D. (1993). The occurrence of Gilbert's Dragon, Lophognathus gilberti, in the Paroo Drainage Basin, western New South Wales. In: Herpetology in Australia (D. Lunney and D. Ayers eds) (R.Z.S., Sydney).
  2. ^ Cogger, Harold G. (2014). Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, Seventh Edition. Melbourne: CSIRO Publishing. 
  3. ^ "Lophognathus maculilabris BOULENGER, 1883". The Reptile Database. Retrieved 2009-01-02. 
  4. ^ Gray, J. E. 1842. Description of some hitherto unrecorded species of Australian reptiles and batrachians. Zoological Miscellany, London: Treuttel, Würtz & Co, pp. 51—57.
  5. ^ Beolens B, Watkins M, Grayson M. 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. xiii + 296 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. (Lophognathus gilberti, p. 101).
  6. ^ Lophognathus, The Reptile Database.