Common name: Grassland Earless Dragon, also known as the Lined Earless Dragon.
Recent taxonomic changes to the species, from Tympanocryptis pinguicolla to Tympanocryptis lineata, are documented in Melville et al. 2019.
Grassland Earless Dragon is one of nine species in the genus of earless dragons (Tympanocryptis - means cryptic ear). In earless dragons there is a noticeable absence of an ear opening, although they do have ears and can hear. Grassland Earless Dragon is readily distinguished from other dragons in the Canberra region. There is a noticeable lack of ear opening, back markings are very different to other dragons, it is small, its tail is slighter, and it is confined to grasslands, a habitat not favoured by other dragons.
The species is endangered. While reserves have been set aside in the ACT and NSW to protect the species, their numbers in the last long drought fell dramatically. In June 2011 the Institute for Applied Ecology at Canberra University won a four year grant to research and potentially save the species from extinction. Some success has been reported in a captive breeding program in breeding Grassland Earless Dragon in captivity and also hatching eggs gathered from field studies. There has been some recovery of numbers following the breaking of the drought. Canberra Nature Map looks forward to hearing from future news of this project.
The best way to observe this species is to visit the annual ‘Snakes Alive Exhibition’ at the Australian National Botanic Garden, 18-24 January 2016.
For more information on dragons, please read the general note on Dragons.
Distribution: There are two species of Earless Dragon in the Canberra / SE NSW region, one centred around Canberra and the other in the grasslands around and south of Cooma (see Melville et al. 2019 for recent updates).
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