AppearanceAn intimidating array of spikes cover the entire upper side of the body of the thorny dragon. 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.
NamingThe names given to this lizard reflect its appearance; the two large horned scales on its head complete the illusion of a dragon. Although the name Moloch was formerly used for a deity of the ancient Near East, this name began to be used later in demonology to refer to the fallen angel and Prince of Hell.
The thorny dragon was first described in writing by the biologist John Edward Gray in 1841. While it is the only one contained in the genus ''Moloch'', many taxonomists suspect another species might remain to be found in the wild. The thorny dragon is only distantly related to the similar North American horned lizards of the genus ''Phrynosoma''. This similarity is usually thought of as an example of convergent evolution.
HabitatThe thorny dragon usually lives in the arid scrubland and desert that covers most of central Australia. For example, it inhabits the Spinifex sandplain and sandridge desert in the deep interior and the mallee belt.
The habitation of the thorny dragon coincides mostly with the regions of sandy loam soils than with a particular climate in Western Australia.
ReproductionThe females lay clutch of three to ten eggs during the September–December season . They put these in a nesting burrow about 30 cm underground. The eggs hatch after about three to four months.
Predators that consume thorny dragons include wild birds and goannas.
FoodThe diets of thorny dragon mainly subsists on ants, often the ''Iridomyrmex'' or the ''Ochetellus'' genera. Some reports indicate ''Iridomyrmex flavipes'' is its primary prey, but this species was renamed ''Ochetellus flavipes'' in 1992....hieroglyph snipped...
Thorny dragons often eat thousands of ants in one day. They collect moisture in the dry desert by the condensation of dew on their bodies at night. This dew forms on its skin, and then it is channelled to its mouth in hygroscopic grooves between its spines. During rainfalls, capillary action allows the thorny dragon to suck in water from all over its body.
DefenseThe thorny dragon 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.
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