We undertake non-invasive behavioural surveys on the dragons in Roma Street Parkland for more than six months every year, and do morphological surveys on an annual basis. We are almost finished our round of morphological surveys for the 2018 season.
Behavioral surveys allow us to record social associations, dominance heirarchies, space use and movement for this population of dragons. Taking morphological measurements and DNA samples allows us to track the health of individual dragons, construct paternities (family trees) and investigate whether and to what extend social and environmental factors influence phenotypes.
In a massive effort from both PhD and Honours candidates, we have recorded morphological information from more than 160 dragons so far this year. We recorded data from more than 75 males and almost 80 females, as well as a number of juvenile dragons whose sex has not yet been determined. We also recorded data on 30 new young dragons which we measured for the very first time.
The smallest dragon we recorded weighed in at only 0.016kgs (new and as yet un-named), and the largest was 1.1kgs (Rafiki). We have been tracking some of these dragons for more than 8 years.