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Lizard Transitions From Male to Female at SEA LIFE Melbourne

Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team

Date: December 18, 2020 11:30 pm

sea life melbourne boyds forest dragon

The boyd's forest dragon at SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium

Photo Credit: SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium

Staff at Melbourne Aquarium have recorded a Boyd’s forest dragon transitioning from a female to a male. This phenomenon is a rare occurrence in reptiles with experts at the aquarium believing this to be the first recorded instance in a Boyd’s forest dragon but it does happen more often in animals such as fish.

The individual is a long term resident of SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium and had previously mated and produced eggs with their male confirming it as female. Following his passing though staff noted that her crest became more pronounced and she stopped producing eggs.

sea life melbourne boyds forest dragon

The boyd's forest dragon at SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium

Photo Credit: SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium

“After these changes we also noticed a significant growth spurt and increase in weight. Given it’s extremely uncommon to come across reptiles transitioning, we decided to bring in an ultrasound machine to discover exactly what was occurring here,” said Tom Fair, Aquarist at SEA LIFE Melbourne.

“We performed an ultrasound examination to determine which reproductive organs were present. Surprisingly, we discovered that there was no longer any ovarian tissue present and mature testes had developed. This confirmed to us that a change in female to male reproductive organs had indeed occurred against the odds.”

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The body’s forest dragon is found in Queensland. They have a prominent crest and dewlap under the chin.

Visitor’s to SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium can meet the remarkable boyd’s forest dragon along with a colony of sub-Antarctic penguins, sharks, a huge saltwater crocodile, jellyfish and a range of other sea creatures.

sea life melbourne boyds forest dragon

Vets ultrasound the boyd's forest dragon at SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium

Photo Credit: SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium

Learn more about SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium on their website – SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium

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