The species is named after John Archibald Boyd, an Englishman who ran sugar plantations in Fiji (1865 – 1882) and North Queensland (1882 – 1926). He was an enthusiastic collector, shipping great amounts of zoological and ethnographic material to naturalist William Macleay in Sydney.
In 1884, he gathered an assortment of animals from the lowland rainforest around Ingham and sent them south. On examining them, Macleay wrote:
I received a few days ago from Mr. Archibald Boyd of Ripple Creek, Herbert River, an earthenware jar containing specimens in spirits of several species of bats, muridæ, antechini, lizards and snakes. A very cursory glance at the contents of the jar satisfied me that Mr. Boyd had hit upon a new and untried and also a very prolific field for the Zoologist.
He named six new species of reptiles from the Ripple Creek collection — Tiaris boydii (the forest dragon) and five snakes. (Unfortunately, four of the snakes belonged to widespread and variable species that had all been described before.) The Ripple Creek dragon specimens were first lodged in the Macleay Museum, Sydney University, and are now in the type collection of the Australian Museum.
Although they are common on the Atherton Tablelands, forest dragons can be difficult to spot. In the two and a half years that I’ve been living here, I’ve only seen them a handful of times. They really are very well camouflaged. (And excellentat sidling.)
Macleay, W. (1884) Notes on some Reptiles from the Herbert River, Queensland. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 8: 432 – 436.
Macleay, W. (1884) Census of Australian snakes with descriptions of two new species. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 9: 548 – 568.