Pogona are a genus of lizards containing seven species, which are often known by the common name bearded dragons. The term "bearded dragon" is most commonly used to describe the Central Bearded Dragon. Members of this genus live in the arid, rocky, semi-desert regions and dry open woodlands of Australia.
Inland bearded dragons (Pogona vitticeps) have become popular in the reptile pet trade in the United States and Europe. As a consequence of large-scale breeding, several pathogens have been identified as causes of morbidity and mortality in colonies of these lizards, one of which is Microsporidium (Jacobson et al., 1998). Light microscopic examination of hematoxylin and eosin-stained tissue sections obtained from a bearded dragon that died showing nonspecific signs of illness revealed clusters of light basophilic microorganisms (2 to 3 um in diameter) packing renal tubules.
A problematic parasite of captive-bred inland bearded dragons (Pogona vitticeps) in the United States is Isopora amphiboluri. This coccidian was originally described from the bearded dragon (Pagona barbata [formerly Amphibolurus barbatus]) by Cannon (1967) and was redescribed from the inland bearded dragon by McAllister et al. (1995a). This parasite is firmly established in breeding groups of bearded dragons in the United Sates and its presence has been associated with mortality in neonate and juvenile lizards.
Inland bearded dragons live in harsh environments and are well adapted to eat whatever food is available. During lean seasons, they survive on nutrients and fat reserves stored in their large abdomens. If required, they will dig into the ground and remain dormant for long periods of time until favorable conditions, such as unusually hot or cold weather, improve.
Inland bearded dragons reach sexual maturity at 1 to 2 years of age. During courtship, a male will indicate his interest by rapidly bobbing his head. If the female is receptive to the male's overture, she will begin to bob her head, but at a slower rate.
Another interesting behavior is arm waving. The bearded dragon stands on three legs and waves one of its forelimbs in a slow circular pattern. One function of arm waving seems to be species recognition. Arm waving is also used to show submission.
Adult bearded dragons are territorial. As they grow, they establish social hierarchies in which aggressive and appeasement displays form a normal part of their social interactions. The beard is used for both mating and aggression displays. Both sexes have a beard, but males display more frequently, especially in courtship rituals.
The most common pet is Pogona vitticeps commonly referred to as the Inland Bearded Dragon. The other species in the group include P. barbata (Coastal Bearded Dragon), P. henrylawsoni (Black-soil Bearded Dragon or Lawson's dragon, aka Rankins Dragon), P. microlepidota (Kimberley Bearded Dragon), P. minima (Western Bearded Dragon), P. minor (Dwarf Bearded Dragon) and P. nullabor (Nullabor’s Bearded Dragon). The first two (Coastal and Black-soil dragons) are sometimes found in U.S. collections, while the rest are rarely if ever seen in the U.S.
Bearded Dragon is the common name given to a group of Australian lizards of the genus Pogona. Their common name comes from their habit of puffing out their throat when they are angry or excited, giving the appearance of a "beard". There are seven species that make up the genus.
The bearded dragons belong to the family Agamidae, which includes such well-known lizards the uromastyx (also called spiny-tails), water dragons, and the somewhat demonic-looking moloch or thorny devil. The genus Pogona (formerly part of the genus Amphibolurus) contains eight species of dragons, only four of which appear in the US pet trade, and only two of those with any regularity.
The name "bearded dragon," in respect to those animals appearing in the pet trade, refers primarily to the species known as Pogona vitticeps, the inland bearded dragon. There are other bearded dragons that have similar habits and lifestyles as the inland bearded dragon.