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When leaving Standley Chasm by bus, we passed this lizard sitting quite proud on a pole. The bus stopped, opened the door, two or three people went out to photograph, all going close enough for a good picture of a lizard measuring some 12 cm body length.
And all the time the model remained quite cool, presenting itself from all sides. It makes me think it was a male defending his territory, but in fact I didn't know anything.
Suzanne, a visitor of this site, wrote me this was a Ta-Ta Lizard or Gilbert's Dragon (Lophognathus gilberti). The name Ta-Ta refers to one of their common gestures, looking like they were waving goodbye to someone. Searching the net for more pictures and informations, I found a couple of pictures making me feel the body colour may vary.
Then, I received another message form Mark Hawker:
The lizard sitting on the top of the fence post is actually a Long Nosed Water Dragon, Lophognathus longirostris. It is common around the Alice Springs area. Your guess about it being a male is also correct. It is definately not a Gilberts Dragon which are also found in the area. The two dragon species are from the same Genus and both along with another species from the Genus the Swampland Dragon Lophognathus temporalis found north of the Tropic of Capricorn are all known as Ta Ta lizards because they are all swift runners and raise their bodies into a bipedal position when at full speed and wave their front legs furiously. They all share similar physical characteristics that would could lead to misidentification by anyone who has minimal experience in working with these animals.
I keep all four species found in the Genus, (Burns dragon Lophognathus burnsi being the fourth species) in my private collection and have bred each of these species mainy times over the years. They are not commonly held by private keepers in Australia and I would be one of possibly no more then two or three in the country that keep and breed all 4 species of these animals.
Thank you for the information!