While out in the field on Bon Bon Reserve, where I work as a Field Officer, Aaron Fenner (South Australian Rangeland Alliance Ecologist) and I were super excited to spot this amazing lizard –Moloch horridus, otherwise well known as the ‘Thorny Devil’. It's a new species record for the reserve!
Moloch horridus is named after a horrible human sacrificing Greek God. However the Latin name couldn't be further from being a true reflection of the little lizard's personality. The Thorny Devil is actually one of the most placid reptiles you could encounter in the Australian outback.
This is the sole species in its genus group. Its diet consists mostly of ants, which it consumes thousands of each day. They also have a very unique way of drinking. They can absorb water using capillary action through their skin by simply standing in a puddle. Think of your skin being able to suck water into your body like a sponge. Also, the spikes that give the Thorny Devil's it's scary appearance, and which were once thought to act only as a defence mechanism, actually help channel rain or condensation into its mouth – a useful adaptation for a desert living lizard.
Now that we know they are here we hope to we start seeing more of them around the reserve.