|Genus:|| Moloch |
|Distribution of Moloch horridus|
The thorny devil (Moloch horridus), also known commonly as the mountain devil, thorny lizard, thorny dragon, and moloch, is a species of lizard in the family Agamidae. The species is endemic to Australia. It is the sole species in the genus Moloch. It grows up to 21 cm (8.3 in) in total length (including tail), with females generally larger than males.
The thorny devil was first described by the biologist John Edward Gray in 1841. While it is the only species contained in the genus Moloch, many taxonomists suspect another species might remain to be found in the wild.The thorny devil is only distantly related to the morphologically similar North American horned lizards of the genus Phrynosoma. This similarity is usually thought of as an example of convergent evolution.
The names given to this lizard reflect its appearance: the two large horned scales on its head complete the illusion of a dragon or devil. The name Moloch was used for a deity of the ancient Near East, usually depicted as a hideous beast.The thorny devil also has other nicknames people have given it such as the "devil lizard", "horned lizard", and the "thorny toad".
The thorny devil grows up to 21 cm (8.3 in) in total length (including tail), and can live for 15 to 20 years. The females are larger than the males. Most specimens are coloured in camouflaging shades of desert browns and tans. These colours change from pale colours during warm weather to darker colours during cold weather. The thorny devil is covered entirely with conical spines that are mostly uncalcified.
An intimidating array of spikes covers the entire upper side of the body of the thorny devil. These thorny scales also help to defend it from predators. Camouflage and deception may also be used to evade predation. This lizard's unusual gait involves freezing and rocking as it moves about slowly in search of food, water, and mates.
The thorny devil also features a spiny "false head" on the back of its neck, and the lizard presents this to potential predators by dipping its real head. The "false head" is made of soft tissue.
The thorny devil's scales are ridged, enabling the animal to collect water by simply touching it with any part of the body, usually the limbs; the capillary principle allows the water to be transported to the mouth through the skin.
The thorny devil usually lives in the arid scrubland and desert that covers most of central Australia, sandplain and sandridge desert in the deep interior and the mallee belt.
The habitat of the thorny devil coincides more with the regions of sandy loam soils than with a particular climate in Western Australia.
The thorny devil is covered in hard, rather sharp spines that dissuade attacks by predators by making it difficult to swallow. It also has a false head on its back. When it feels threatened by other animals, it lowers its head between its front legs, and then presents its false head. Predators that consume the thorny devil include wild birds and goannas.
The thorny devil mainly subsists on ants, especially Ochetellus flavipes and other species in the Iridomyrmex or Ochetellus genera.Thorny devils often eat thousands of ants in one day.
The thorny devil collects moisture in the dry desert by the condensation of dew. This dew forms on its skin in the early morning as it begins to warm outside. Then the dew is channeled to its mouth in hygroscopic grooves between its spines.During rainfalls, capillary action allows the thorny devil to absorb water from all over its body. Capillary action also allows the thorny devil to absorb water from damp sand. Absorption through sand is the thorny devil's main source of water intake.
The female thorny devil lays a clutch of three to ten eggs between September and December. She puts these in a nesting burrow about 30 cm underground. The eggs hatch after about three to four months.
The popular appeal of the thorny devil is the basis of an anecdotal petty scam. American servicemen stationed in Southwest Australia decades ago (such as during World War II) were supposedly sold the thorny fruits of a species of weeds, the so-called "double gee" ( Emex australis ), but those were called "thorny devil eggs" as a part of the scam.[ citation needed ] Thorny devils have been kept in captivity.
Lizards are a widespread group of squamate reptiles, with over 6,000 species, ranging across all continents except Antarctica, as well as most oceanic island chains. The group is paraphyletic as it excludes the snakes and Amphisbaenia; some lizards are more closely related to these two excluded groups than they are to other lizards. Lizards range in size from chameleons and geckos a few centimeters long to the 3 meter long Komodo dragon.
Chelosania is a genus of agamid lizards that contains a single species, Chelosania brunnea. These are commonly known as the ring-tailed dragon or the Australian chameleon dragon. They live in West Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland.
Horned lizards (Phrynosoma), also known as horny toads or horntoads, are a genus of North American lizards and the type genus of the family Phrynosomatidae. The common names refer directly to their horns or to their flattened, rounded bodies, and blunt snouts.
The frilled lizard, also known commonly as the frill-necked lizard, frilled dragon or frilled agama, is a species of lizard in the family Agamidae. The species is endemic to northern Australia and southern New Guinea. This species is the only member of the genus Chlamydosaurus.
Anti-predator adaptations are mechanisms developed through evolution that assist prey organisms in their constant struggle against predators. Throughout the animal kingdom, adaptations have evolved for every stage of this struggle, namely by avoiding detection, warding off attack, fighting back, or escaping when caught.
The Texas horned lizard is one of about 14 North American species of spikey-bodied reptiles called horned lizards, all belonging the genus Phrynosoma. P. cornutum ranges from Colorado and Kansas to northern Mexico, and from southeastern Arizona to Texas. Also, isolated introduced populations are found in the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida. Most records of the Texas horned lizard from the Piney Woods region of east Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas are from the early and mid-twentieth century, a time when horned lizard were popular pets, and are thought to represent released or escaped pets and not the species natural range. Though some populations are stable, severe population declines have occurred in many areas of Texas and Oklahoma. The Texas spiny lizard may be confused for a Texas horned lizard due to its appearance and overlapping habitat.
The desert horned lizard is a species of phrynosomatid lizard native to western North America. They are often referred to as "horny toads", although they are not toads, but lizards.
Moloch is the name of a god associated with child sacrifice in the Hebrew Bible and with Phoenician religion.
The Namaqua chameleon is a ground-living lizard found in the western desert regions of Namibia, South Africa and southern Angola.
The flat-tail horned lizard is a species of lizard in the family Phrynosomatidae. A species of reptile, it is endemic to the Sonoran desert of the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico. Its multiple adaptations for camouflage help to minimize its shadow. The species is threatened, with a restricted range under pressure from human activities such as agriculture and development, and is specially protected in the United States.
Saara hardwickii, commonly known as Hardwicke's spiny-tailed lizard or the Indian spiny-tailed lizard is a species of lizard in the family Agamidae. The species is found in patches across the Thar desert, Kutch, and surrounding arid zones in India and Pakistan. It is mainly herbivorous and lives in numbers in some areas. Since it is found in loose clusters it often attracts predators such as raptors. It is also hunted by local peoples in the belief that the fat extracted from it is an aphrodisiac.
The Amphibolurinae are a subfamily of reptiles in the family Agamidae. Members of this subfamily are found in Australia and New Guinea, although one species, the Chinese water dragon, is found in Southeast Asia.
M. horridus may refer to:
The Mexican horned lizard is a horned lizard species native to Mexico. Horned lizards are sometimes referred to as "horned toads" or "horny toads", although they are not toads. Compared to other members of the horned lizards, little is known about this species.
The regal horned lizard is a horned lizard species native to Mexico and the Southwest United States.
The pygmy short-horned lizard is a species of small horned lizard that occurs in the northwestern United States as well as in the southwestern Canada. Like other horned lizards, it is often called a "horned toad" or "horny toad," but it is not a toad at all. It is a reptile, not an amphibian.
The central netted dragon or central netted ground dragon, Ctenophorus nuchalis, is a species of agamid lizard occurring in a wide range of arid to semiarid regions of Australia. It is widespread across the continent, commonly found in open, sandy, desert habitats. It is a popular pet and can often be found in zoos.
Ochetellus is a genus of ants first described by Steve Shattuck in 1992. He placed it in the subfamily Dolichoderinae of the family Formicidae. The ants in this genus are small and black in colour; workers measure 1.75 to 3 millimetres in length, the males at around 1.6 millimetres (0.06 in) are smaller, and the queens are the largest, reaching 4 millimetres (0.16 in). There are seven described species and three described subspecies that mostly live in Australia in a wide variety of habitats, but some species are found in Asia. One species, Ochetellus glaber, has been introduced into New Zealand and the United States.
Ctenophorus caudicinctus, commonly known as the ring-tailed dragon or ring-tailed bicycle-dragon is a native species of agamid lizard occurring in rocky ranges and outcrops of Australia. Ctenophorus caudicinctus is most commonly found in the Pilbara region and offshore islands of Western Australia. The ctenophorus has 28 known species in the northern, southern, and western parts of Australia. It is recognized to be the most speciose group of Australian agamids.
Ctenophorus parviceps, commonly known as the Gnaraloo heath dragon or northwestern heath dragon is a species of agamid lizard occurring in pale coastal sands and shell grit with open heaths and beach spinifex, between the North West Cape and Carnarvon, Western Australia and on Bernier Island. The Gnaraloo Heath Dragon is a lizard that can be found along the coast of Western Australia between Exmouth Gulf and Shark Bay, and is also known as the Northwestern Heath Dragon. It is native to Australia and usually inhabits sandy coastal dunes. The species’ longevity is 3-50 years and its population density is extremely low. The Gnaraloo Heath Dragon is a member of the Agamidae family, which contains 15 genuses. The lizard is under the Ctenophorus genus which has up to 33 species. This genus shows the most morphological and ecological diversity out of the three large agamid genera. 83% of the lizards in this genus lack a crest, while 17% possess crests. They are smaller than most agamids but do have relatively large heads. The Gnaraloo Heath Dragon can be differentiated from related species by a series of spines on the tail’s base, a pale-grey brown broad vertebral band along its back, and hour-glass bars extending upwards to meet the pale vertebral band. It is usually 45mm in terms of length, measuring from snout to vent.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Moloch horridus .|