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Water Dragon

Water Dragon
Photo Information
Copyright: Colin McQueen (McQueenca) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 131 W: 11 N: 226] (1387)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2013-02-15
Categories: Reptiles
Camera: Canon 7D, Canon EF 300 1:2.8 L IS II USM
Exposure: f/6.3, 1/640 seconds
Details: Tripod: Yes
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2013-02-15 20:28
Viewed: 3408
Points: 42
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
This photo was taken in Brisbane's Roma Street Parkland. The conditions were cloudy. Note the bit of lunch at the corner of his mouth. This photo has been cropped.

The Australian Water Dragon (Physignathus lesueurii), which includes the Eastern Water Dragon (P. l. lesueurii) and the Gippsland Water Dragon (P. l. howittii) subspecies, is an arboreal agamid species native to Eastern Australia from Victoria north to Queensland, as well as a small population in the south-east coast of South Australia.

Australian water dragons have long powerful limbs and claws for climbing, a long muscular laterally-compressed tail for swimming, and prominent nuchal and vertebral crests.[1] (A nuchal crest is a central row of spikes at the base of the head. These spikes continue down the spine, getting smaller as they reach the base of the tail.)[2]

Including their tails, which comprise about two-thirds of their total length, adult females grow to about 60 cm (2 feet) long, and adult males can grow slightly longer than one metre (3 feet) and weigh about 1 kg. Males show bolder colouration and have larger heads than females.[3][4] Colour is less distinct in juveniles.[5]

Species variation

The Australian Water Dragon is the only species of the genus Physignathus in Australia.

There are two subspecies; Physignathus lesueurii lesueurii (Eastern Water Dragon) and P. l. howitti (Gippsland Water Dragon). P. l. lesueurii tends towards white, yellow and red on the throat and possesses a dark band behind its eye; P. l. howitti lacks this and instead has dark bands on either side of its throat, which is blotched with yellow, orange, or blue. Both subspecies are light greenish grey in overall colour with black bands running across their back, tail and legs.


Eastern Water Dragon

P. l. howitti, Gippsland Water Dragon basking in Canberra
Australian water dragons are extremely shy in the wild, but readily adapt to continual human presence in suburban parks and gardens. They are fast runners and strong climbers. When presented with a potential predator, they seek cover in thick vegetation, or drop from an overhanging branch into water. They are able to swim totally submerged, and rest on the bottom of shallow creeks or lakes for up to 90 minutes,[2] to avoid detection.

Both males and females display typical agamid behaviour such as basking, arm-waving and head-bobbing. Fast arm-waving signals dominance, while slow arm-waving signals submission. Males are territorial,[1] and in areas of higher population density, males exhibit displays of aggression toward other males including posturing and chasing.


Australian water dragons living in cooler Australian climates hibernate over winter. During spring, usually in early October, the female excavates a burrow about 10–15 cm (3.9–5.9 in) deep and lays between 6 and 18 eggs.[1] The nest is usually in sandy or soft soil, in an area open to sun. When the mother has laid the eggs, she backfills the chamber with soil and scatters loose debris over it. Australian water dragons exhibit temperature-dependant sex determination; the sex of the hatchlings is determined by the temperature of the nest site.[2]

When the young are born they stay near the entrance of the burrow for some time before leaving home. When they finally leave the nest, they tend to group together away from the adult population.[3]


As its name suggests, the Australian water dragon is associated with water and is semi-aquatic. It can be found near creeks, rivers, lakes and other water bodies that also have basking sites such as overhanging branches or rocks in open or filtered sun. The species is so common in the rainforest section of Brisbane Botanic Gardens, Mount Coot-tha in Queensland that a monument has been built to them there.

There are anecdotal reports of a small colony living on the Sixth Creek in the Forest Range area of South Australia, which were probably introduced there during the 1980s by a local reptile enthusiast. This is many hundreds of miles outside their natural range.

Source: Wikipedia

Hotelcalifornia, CeltickRanger, jusninasirun, Hormon_Manyer has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Superb portrait of this reptile, Colin.
On my Mac book, the subject looks exceptionally handsome.
Amazing details and colours.
Well done and TFS!

Ciao Colin, great portrait of amazing monster, beautiful blurry BG, fantastic details, excellent sharpness, splendid light and wonderful colors, very well done, my friend, have a good week end, ciao Silvio

Impressive portrait Colin! Excellent composition, wonderful lighting and very good sharpness.

great sharp head portrait, TFS Ori

Hello Colin
Great portrait! Excellent composition and detail, good background and light.
Wonderful to see the species.
regards yiannis

This is a fine portrait, with perfect focus on the key areas - which was critical given the shallow depth of field. On this occasion the cloud cover has produced a diffuse lighting that enhances the image by showing subtle details and colour tones. An interesting species, too.
Best wishes, Nigel.

Hello Colin,
What a nice picture!Well sharpness and natural colour.Very sharp eye.I like its pose too.
Thanks for sharing,
Kind regards,

Hello Colin,
an awesome close-up with fantastic detail.
a superb picture.
best wishes,

hallo Colin
Super good sharpness picture of this head
great details and beautiful colours
thanks greeting lou

  • Great 
  • senn Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 58 W: 2 N: 155] (1384)
  • [2013-02-16 8:49]

awesome detail from this lovely and interesting reptile, Colin, .. you've managed to give him a remarkable bg, and the expo sounds great mate


  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2013-02-16 8:55]

Hello Colin,
Excellent sharp detailed portrait with an impressive eye contact. Beautiful natural colours. Nice contrasting blurred background. Good choice of composition.

Hello Colin,
A terrific close-up portrait with fine colors, details & presentation. Great composition & work. TFS & best wishes!


Hello Colin,
Nice portrait of an Australian Water Dragon,captured with fine details and excellent clarity of its natural colours.
Thanks and my regards,

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2013-02-16 11:04]

Hello Colin,
A superb close portrait of the Eastern Water dragon.
The details of the head show well with top sharpness and natural colours against the contrasting dark BG. Excellent eye contact too.
Thanks and have a good weekend,

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2013-02-16 15:46]

Hi Colin,a beautiful capture another time whit great details and bright colors,very well exposed too,i like it!Have a nice Sunday and thanks,Luciano

Hello Colin

Excellent portrait of this reptile, fine POV
giving that eye-contact, beautiful light,
great focus, sharpness, and details, TFS


Hello Colin,
Excellent photograph of this Water Dragon, excellent sharpness and details, excellent composition, excellent background and lighting.

  • Great 
  • nagraj Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1618 W: 106 N: 3208] (15166)
  • [2013-02-17 6:04]

Terrific closeup, fine details. tfs.

a fascinating portrait of a fascinating reptile...!

Hello Colin.
Another beautiful close shot of a reptile. The light and exposure control are pleasing with vivid details around the head.
Thanks and have a nice day.

Hi Colin,
Fantastic portrait, majestic details on the lizard's head. One of your best photos. Hats off of you! And please, come back to TN, I miss you.
Best regards, László

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