Rankinia

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Rankinia
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Iguania
Family: Agamidae
Subfamily: Amphibolurinae
Genus: Rankinia
Species

Rankinia adelaidensis
Rankinia diemensis
Rankinia parviceps

Rankinia is a genus containing three species of small agamid reptiles, commonly known as heath dragons, found in Australia.

These dragons occur in heathlands, sandplains, and wooded country in southern regions of Australia. They are pale in colour, usually grey-brown, although males develop a reddish hue in the breeding season. This allows them to blend with their habitat; they are a ground-dwelling species found amid leaf litter and sand. Rankinia species are timid in their behaviour, and will only briefly break from the cover of vegetation. Their burrowing behaviour is unique in Australian dragons; they cover all but their snouts with a shuffling action, burying themselves in the sand; this behaviour may help the dragons to regulate their temperature.

Species[edit]

Three species are contained by the genus, and subspecies of these have also been described:

Many of the subspecies are restricted to a small range. Their distribution in southwest Australia is represented by two subspecies of Rankinia adelaidensis; one at the western coast, another along the southeast coast of the region. A third subspecies, Rankinia parviceps butleri is found in a small range near Shark Bay and Dirk Hartog Island.

References[edit]