Also known as Mountain devil.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

The thorny devil is a really spiny, reasonably sized, reddish and yellowish lizard with a spherical physique and a brief tail, about 4–6 in (10–15 cm) lengthy. Adult females are bigger and stouter than grownup males; they vary from 3.1 to 4.Three in (80–110 mm) in snout-vent size and weigh 1.2–3.1 oz (33–88.7 g). Adult males are all lower than 3.eight in (96 mm) in snout-vent size and by no means weigh greater than 1.7 oz (49 g).

DISTRIBUTION

The species happens within the southern part of the Northern Territory, the northern part of South Australia, and in Western Australia.

HABITAT

Thorny devils are discovered by means of most of arid inland Australia, notably on sandy soils, however they seldom happen on stony soils. They desire two fairly completely different habitats: spinifex sandy plain and the sand ridge deserts of the inside and the mallee belt of southern South Australia and southwestern Western Australia. The geographic distribution of the species corresponds extra intently to the distribution of sandy and sandy loam soils than to any climatological area.

BEHAVIOR

Thorny devils show a bimodal seasonal sample of exercise. These lizards transfer little throughout the coldest winter months (June and July) or the most well liked summer season months (January and February). They are energetic for a three-month Austral autumnal interval (March, April, and May) and a five-month interval that spans late winter, spring, and early summer season (August by means of December), throughout which mating and egg deposition happen. During sizzling summer season days, thorny devils are inactive, retreating into shallow underground burrows that they dig for themselves. These lizards posses a curious knoblike spiny appendage on the backs of their necks, which has been likened to a false head. When threatened, they tuck their actual heads down between their forelegs, leaving this false head within the place of the true head. This makes them troublesome for many predators to swallow. When disturbed, thorny devils additionally inflate themselves with air, puffing up like little puffer fish. They may also change colour quickly; when heat and energetic, they're often a pale yellow and pink. When they're alarmed or when they're chilly, nonetheless, they flip darkish olive drab.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Thorny devils are obligate ant specialists, consuming nearly nothing else. They devour a number of species of ants however are particularly partial to very small Iridomyearmex ants, particularly Iridomyearmex flavipes. Large numbers of these tiny ants are eaten per meal by a person thorny devil (estimates vary from 675 to 2,500).

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Mating has been noticed within the autumn, which means that thorny devils might have a mechanism of sperm storage. In distinction to the comparatively sedentary summer season to autumn existence, thorny devils transfer over a lot higher distances throughout August and September, when most mating takes place. Female thorny devils excavate nest chambers and lay clutches of eggs in September, October, and November. Eggs are laid from mid-September by means of late December. Only a single clutch is laid per 12 months, and clutch measurement varies from three to 10, with a mode of eight eggs per clutch. Seven clutches had reported incubation occasions of 90–132 days. Hatchlings emerge in January and February, weighing a median of 0.06 oz (1.eight g) and measuring 2.5–2.6 in (63–65 mm) in whole size (snout to tail tip). Hatchlings might eat their very own egg circumstances to get hold of calcium and different supplies to help early progress.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

These lizards are fascinating to biologists as a result of they're independently advanced ecological equivalents of North American horned lizards and among the finest examples of convergent evolution.