The diet of free-roaming Australian Central Bearded Dragons (Pogona vitticeps)

Zoo Biol. May-Jun 2015;34(3):271-7. doi: 10.1002/zoo.21209. Epub 2015 Mar 12.

Abstract

The central bearded dragon (Pogona vitticeps) is one of the most popular pet lizards. However, little is known regarding their nutrient requirement, or their natural diet. Therefore, the stomach contents of 14 free-roaming P. vitticeps were determined by flushing. These stomach contents were described taxonomically, and analyzed for crude protein content as well as fatty acid content and composition. Most of the dry matter intake was in the form of animal material (61%) stemming from nine arthropod orders. The most abundant were alates of the termite Drepanotermes sp., accounting for 95% of the total number of prey items and more than half of the total dry matter (DM) intake. Plant material contributed 16% of the total DM intake. The diets were high in crude protein (41-50% DM) and the total fatty acid content was 14-27% of the DM intake. The main fatty acid was C18:1n9c (51-56% of total fatty acids), and polyunsaturated fatty acids (n3 and n6) comprised 6-8% of the total fat intake. Our data suggest that P. vitticeps is an opportunistic predator, which exploits the seasonal availability of prey. Based on our data and other studies, a diet consisting of several insect species, supplemented with leafy vegetables, rich in n3 FA's, would best resemble the expected natural diet of P. vitticeps.

Keywords: Australia; agamid; lizard; stomach content.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Wild / physiology*
  • Arthropods / metabolism
  • Australia
  • Diet / veterinary*
  • Dietary Proteins / analysis
  • Fatty Acids / analysis
  • Fatty Acids / chemistry
  • Gastrointestinal Contents*
  • Lizards / physiology*
  • Nutritional Requirements*
  • Vegetables / metabolism

Substances

  • Dietary Proteins
  • Fatty Acids