Nature conservation

Threatened species

Canberra Grassland Earless Dragon - profile

Indicative distribution

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The areas shown in pink and/purple are the sub-regions where the species or community is known or predicted to occur. They may not occur thoughout the sub-region but may be restricted to certain areas. ( click here to see geographic restrictions). The information presented in this map is only indicative and may contain errors and omissions.
Scientific name: Tympanocryptis lineata
Conservation status in NSW: Critically Endangered
Commonwealth status: Critically Endangered
Gazetted date: 15 Nov 1996
Profile last updated: 11 Jul 2023


The Grassland Earless Dragon is a small dragon, with a maximum adult head and body length of around 7 cm, and a maximum overall length of 16 cm. It has three thin white lines running from the neck, along the body and down the tail. These lines divide an irregular pattern of light and dark brown or reddish cross-bands on the back. This patchy pattern gives it very good camouflage in its grassland habitat. This species has no external ear openings. Dragon lizards are characterised by rough spiny body scales and an erect stance, clear of the ground.


Historically, the Grassland Earless Dragon ranged from Bathurst to Cooma, including the ACT region. The only populations now known are in the ACT and adjacent NSW at Queanbeyan, and on the Monaro Basalt Plains between Cooma and south-west of Nimmitabel. Formerly known from Victoria, though no recent records.

Habitat and ecology

  • Restricted to a small number of Natural Temperate Grassland sites dominated by wallaby grasses (Nothodanthonia spp.), spear grasses (Austrostipa spp.), Poa Tussock (Poa sieberiana), Red Grass (Bothriochloa macra), and occasionally Kangaroo Grass (Themeda australis). Introduced pasture grasses occur at many of the sites supporting this species, which has also been captured in secondary grassland.
  • Within its habitat, apparently prefers areas with a more open structure, characterised by small patches of bare ground between the grasses and herbs.
  • In addition to tussocks, partially embedded surface rocks, and spider and insect holes are used for shelter. These are important micro-habitat elements within the grassland habitat. Rocks and arthropod holes provide important thermal refuges during temperature extremes.
  • Feeds on small invertebrates, including ants and spiders.
  • Tends to be inactive beneath rocks or in arthropod burrows during the winter months.
  • Lays up to five eggs in shallow nests or burrows, (sometimes those dug by spiders or other arthropods), between late spring and late summer.
  • Young hatch in late summer and autumn.

Regional distribution and habitat

Click on a region below to view detailed distribution, habitat and vegetation information.


Recovery strategies

Activities to assist this species

Information sources

IBRA Bioregion IBRA Subregion Known or predicted Geographic restrictions region
Other StateACT Known None
Other StateQLD Known None
South Eastern HighlandsMonaro Known None