Central Netted Dragon

Ctenophorus nuchalis SVL 120mm, TL 265mm

(Central Netted Ground-dragon)

What does it look like?  Small and stocky, with large, rounded head, short limbs and tapering tail. Spines scattered on sides of neck. Light orange-brown to reddish-brown above with white to creamish-yellow mid-vertebral stripe from nape to base of tail, and series of transversally aligned similarly coloured spots, forming reticulated (netted) pattern. Back of head and nape has thin, spiny scales. Underparts whitish with grey marbling, and sexually active males flushed with orange.

Where is it found?  Drier mainland Australia, from WA coast, east through NT and SA, to south-western Qld and north-western NSW. Absent from south, north and east.

What are its habitats & habits? Favours open, semi-arid to arid areas, where it is active throughout the day, and shelters at night in burrows at bases of shrubs and tree stumps. Feeds on invertebrates, including ants, termites and beetles, and fruits and flowers. Oviparous, laying up to 3 clutches in a year, each containing 2–6 soft-shelled eggs.