Caught and Coloured: Zoology Illustrations from Colonial Victoria

Bearded Dragon or Jew Lizard, Pogona barbata

Image Details
  • Plate Number: 121
  • Media: Drawing - Pencil and water colour on paper
  • Lithographer: John James Wild
  • Primary inscriptions: [signature]
Transcript from the Prodromus of Zoology

Plate 121. Bearded Lizard, Grammatophora barbata (now known as the Bearded Dragon, Pogona barbata) Rare in Melbourne/abundant-Murray boundary

This is commonly called the Jew Lizard by colonists, and is easily distinguished by the beard-like growth of long slender spines round the throat and parotoids, the form of which below, in the adult, is shown in the woodcut, and the similar band along the sides, as well as by the absence of any median keel along the back. Some species have the throat black.

When irritated, it inflates the body to a considerably increased size, and hisses like a snake, exciting alarm; but rarely biting. The eggs are usually 8 or 10, connected by membrane in a row.

The species is rare near Melbourne, but becomes gradually more abundant in all the more northern warm localities up to the Murray boundary.

Current Scientific Information

Bearded Dragon, Pogona barbata


Large lizard, up to 250 mm long (snout-vent). Easily identified by barbed scales under the chin, which form a 'beard'.

Habitat and range

Prefers open sclerophyll woodlands or forests with a variety of places to perch, such as fence posts, logs, fallen branches and piles of vegetation debris. Outer northern suburbs of greater Melbourne area, but uncommon there as it is close to the southern and eastern limits of its distribution.


The Bearded Dragon is active during the day, when it can be seen basking out on logs or fence posts. During periods of inactivity it shelters in burrows. Clutch of 6-35 eggs.