Pogona vitticeps, the Central (or Inland) Bearded Dragon, is a species of agamid lizard occurring in a wide range of arid to semi-arid regions of Australia. This species is very popularly kept as a pet and exhibited in zoos.
Adults of this species usually grow to be about 2 feet in length, with the tail accounting for over half of the total body length. Sexes are not strongly dimorphic, but males can be distinguished from females as they have a wider cloacal opening, the base of the tail is wider, the head is usually larger with a larger beard (often black) and males possess hemipenes. Bearded dragons come in a wide variety of colours, including brown, grey, reddish-brown, red, yellow, white, orange, and sometimes green. They are capable of undergoing very slight changes in the shade of their colour to help regulate temperature. The specialized scales along both sides of the throat, neck, and head form many narrow spines which run down the side of the body to the tail. When feeling threatened a Bearded dragon will flatten its body against the ground, puff out its spiny throat, and open its jaws to make itself appear larger. The Bearded dragon is so named because of the pouch-like projection (also called the guttural pouch) on the underside of the neck and chin area which typically turns darker than the rest of the body. It also boasts spiny projections. Both these characteristics appear similar to a human beard. Males typically have a darker "beard" than females, and during mating season and courtship the "beard" will typically darken to near-black. The Bearded dragon, like most agamid lizards, has strong legs which enable it to lift its body completely off the ground while it moves. This is done to reduce the heat taken in from the ground, as well as to increase the air-flow over the belly to cool itself further.
Pogona vitticeps was first described by Ernst Ahl in 1926, placing it in the genus Amphibolurus.
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