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Water dragons
Physignathus - Cuvier, 1829

Pronunciation: FYE-sig-NATH-uss
 Etymology: 'puff-cheek'. "Latinisation of Physignathos, King of the Frogs, a character in an ancient Greek poem, The Battle of the Mice and Frogs."1

Taxonomic notes:

This Australian member of this genus appears to be only distantly related to the South-East Asian species.2 An old genus name, Istiurus, has been resurrected for the Australian species3, but the validity of this name is doubtful. The name Intellagama4 is available and appears to be valid.

A 21 million-year-old fossil that is very similar to the Physignathus lesueurii has been found at Riversleigh, Queensland.5

Notes: A single Australian species, with another species (Physignathus cocincinus) found in South-East Asia.
Statistics: Reproductive modes:

Size range:

Number of Australian species: 0

  1. Ehmann, Harald (1992). Encyclopedia of Australian animals: Reptiles. Angus and Robertson. 495 pp - search web for this book
  2. Hugall, A.F.; Foster, R.; Hutchinson, M.; & Lee, M.S.Y. (2008). Phylogeny of Australasian agamid lizards based on nuclear and mitochondrial genes: implications for morphological evolution and biogeography. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 93(2):343-358. - search web for this article
  3. Townsend, T.M.; Mulcahy, D.G.; Noonan, B.P.; Sites, J.W.; Kuczynski, C.A.; Wiens, J.J.; & Reeder, T.W. (2011). Phylogeny of iguanian lizards inferred from 29 nuclear loci, and a comparison of concatenated and species-tree approaches for an ancient, rapid radiation. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 61(2):363-380.
  4. Wells, Richard W. & Wellington, Ross C. (1985). A classification of the Amphibia and Reptilia of Australia. Australian Journal of Herpetology, Supplementary Series, 1:1-61. - search web for this article
  5. Covacevich, J.; Couper, P.; Molnar, RE; Witten, G.; & Young, W. (1990). Miocene dragons from Riversleigh: new data on the history of the family Agamidae (Reptilia: Squamata) in Australia. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum, 29:339-360. - search web for this article
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