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Water Dragon: Classification, Distribution, and Facts

Water Dragon Classification

 

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Reptilia
  • Order: Squamata
  • Family: Agamidae
  • Genus: Physignathus + Intellagama
  • Species: Physignathus cocincinus (Chinese) + Intellagama lesueurii (Australian)

Water Dragon Basics

Water dragons are lizards that may be found in Southeast Asia, Australia, and New Guinea. They have a crest on their neck and are noted for having a well-developed ability to swim and hold their breath. In fact, the water dragon’s primary defence is to leap from the trees into a river or lake. They may stay underwater for up to 90 minutes here!

Despite its popularity as a pet, the water dragon is classified as “vulnerable” in the wild, owing in part to the pet trade. Furthermore, although the pet trade has decreased the native habitat of the water dragon, it has also produced invasive populations in other locations. Keeping a water dragon as a pet is, at best, dubious. Captive breeding activities, on the other hand, may assist in minimizing wild water dragon harvesting.

Water dragons are fascinating reptiles in their native habitat. The water dragon is divided into two species: the Australian water dragon and the Chinese water dragon, both of which are related to other “dragon” species in the Amphibolurinae subfamily. The Australian water dragon is grayish-brown in hue, with a black stripe across its eyes. The Chinese water dragon, on the other hand, has a greenish tint with no stripe on its eye. Just behind their very big heads, both species feature a frilled crest.

As insectivores, water dragons eat a broad range of insects found in tropical and subtropical habitats. The water dragon spends its time among the trees when it is not hunting insects. The largest males and females prefer to establish hierarchical social groupings, with the finest basking locations and mating chances going to the biggest males and females.

Interesting Facts About Water Dragon!

While the water dragon may have a legendary name, it is an excellent animal to use to highlight a variety of biological phenomena that are extremely true.

i. Pineal Eye

Water dragons, like other reptiles, have an organ called the pineal eye. A tiny, iridescent patch of scales covers light-receiving nerve ends between their eyes. This organ is used by many lizards to detect the amount of sunlight, which helps them decide the optimum sites to bask. Lizards need to bask because it elevates their body temperature and allows them to maintain a specified temperature range. What’s more intriguing is that humans (and other animals) have a pineal gland with a comparable configuration.

The human pineal gland is related to neurons in the eye, despite being buried deep inside our brains. The pineal gland receives a signal when our eyes detect light. As a result of this signal, the pineal gland stops making melatonin, a hormone that regulates our sleep and waking cycles. When the pineal gland detects no or very little light, it begins to produce melatonin once again. This hormone has a wide range of effects on your brain and body, preparing you for sleep! This aids in the regulation of our circadian rhythm and the overall health of our bodies.

ii. Parthenogenesis

Parthenogenesis is the capacity of certain creatures to reproduce asexually, despite the fact that their species generally reproduces sexually. Thanks to parthenogenesis, a female may produce viable babies without ever being fertilized by a male. This is essentially the same as a virgin birth!

Only a few species have been recorded to complete parthenogenesis, including the water dragon. An unfertilized egg undergoes a duplication event to become a diploid cell throughout this procedure. The child may be viable if the female’s genetics do not include a substantial number of detrimental recessive mutations. Parthenogenesis has been seen in water dragons, and a DNA study revealed that the offspring were almost similar to the mother from whom they originated.

Parthenogenesis has been seen in a variety of reptiles, including garter snakes, Colombian rainbow boas, and common boas. Invertebrates, such as insects, snails, worms, and other tiny creatures, are far more likely to have it. Parthenogenesis has been seen in birds, sharks, and other animals, albeit it is generally restricted to a single species and very uncommon.

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