kids encyclopedia robot

Ctenophorus facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Ctenophorus fordi.jpg
Ctenophorus fordi, Mallee dragon
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Iguania
Family: Agamidae
Subfamily: Amphibolurinae
Genus: Ctenophorus
Fitzinger, 1843

33 species, see text

Ctenophorus is a genus of lizards, also known as comb-bearing dragons, that contains the most diverse group of dragon lizards in Australia. It is the largest group of Australian lizards and it has an extensive radiation in the arid zones. Many of these have been grouped by a similar morphology. The informal names and groupings within this genus — rock, crevice-, ground, sand-, and bicycle-dragon — are named after the mythological creature, the dragon.

Ctenophorus lizards may be confused with the Tympanocryptis and Diporiphora genera.


There are 33 recognized species in the genus.

  • Ctenophorus adelaidensis (Gray, 1841) – western heath dragon
  • Ctenophorus butlerorum (Storr, 1977)
  • Ctenophorus caudicinctus (Günther, 1875) – ring-tailed bicycle-dragon, ring-tailed dragon
  • Ctenophorus chapmani (Storr, 1977)
  • Ctenophorus clayi (Storr, 1967) – black-shouldered ground-dragon, black-collared dragon
  • Ctenophorus cristatus (Gray 1841) – crested bicycle-dragon, crested dragon, bicycle dragon
  • Ctenophorus decresii (A.M.C. Duméril & Bibron, 1837) – tawny crevice dragon, tawny dragon
  • Ctenophorus femoralis (Storr, 1965) – long-tailed sand-dragon
  • Ctenophorus fionni (Procter, 1923) – Peninsula crevice-dragon, Peninsula dragon
  • Ctenophorus fordi (Storr, 1965) – Mallee dragon, Mallee sand-dragon, Mallee military dragon
  • Ctenophorus gibba (Houston, 1974) – Bulldust ground-dragon, gibber dragon
  • Ctenophorus graafi (Storr, 1967) – Graaf's dragon
  • Ctenophorus infans (Storr, 1967)
  • Ctenophorus isolepis (Fischer, 1881) – central military dragon
  • Ctenophorus maculatus (Gray, 1831) – spotted military dragon, spotted dragon, spotted sand-dragon
  • Ctenophorus maculosus (F.J. Mitchell, 1948) – Lake Eyre dragon, salt-lake ground-dragon
  • Ctenophorus mckenziei (Storr, 1981) – dwarf bicycle-dragon, McKenzie's dragon
  • Ctenophorus mirrityana (McLean et al., 2013)
  • Ctenophorus nguyarna (Doughty, Maryan, Melville & J. Austin, 2007) – Lake Disappointment dragon
  • Ctenophorus nuchalis (De Vis, 1884) – central netted dragon, central netted ground-dragon
  • Ctenophorus ornatus (Gray, 1845) – ornate dragon, ornate crevice-dragon
  • Ctenophorus parviceps (Storr, 1964)
  • Ctenophorus pictus (W. Peters, 1866) – painted dragon
  • Ctenophorus reticulatus (Gray, 1845) – western netted dragon, western netted ground-dragon
  • Ctenophorus rubens (Storr, 1965) - reddening sand-dragon, rufus sand dragon
  • Ctenophorus rufescens (Stirling & Zietz, 1893) – rusty crevice-dragon, rusty dragon
  • Ctenophorus salinarum (Storr, 1966) – saltpan ground-dragon, claypan dragon
  • Ctenophorus scutulatus (Stirling & Zietz, 1893) – lozenge-marked dragon, lozenge-marked bicycle-dragon
  • Ctenophorus slateri (Storr, 1967) – Slater's dragon
  • Ctenophorus spinodomus Sadlier, Colgan, Beatson, & Cogger, 2019 – eastern mallee dragon
  • Ctenophorus tjantjalka (Johnston, 1992) – ochre dragon
  • Ctenophorus vadnappa (Houston, 1974) – red-barred crevice-dragon, red-barred dragon
  • Ctenophorus yinnietharra (Storr, 1981) – Yinnietharra crevice-dragon, Yinnietharra rock dragon


Lizards of the genus Ctenophorus are known to display color polymorphism, more than one color type being found within a population. It is believed that color polymorphism in this group has evolved as a result of a combination of sexual selection and natural selection.

  • Fitzinger L (1843). Systema Reptilium, Fasciculus Primus, Amblyglossae. Vienna: Braumüller & Seidel. 106 pp. + indices. (Ctenophorus, new genus, p. 83). (in Latin).
  • Wilson S, Swan G (2003). A Complete Guide to Reptiles of Australia. Second edition. Sydney: New Holland Publishing.
kids search engine
Ctenophorus Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.