Baku, April 8, AZERTAC
Three new species of dragon-like lizard have been discovered by scientists in the forests of Peru and Ecuador, in South America.
Known as wood lizards, the reptiles live in cloud forests covering the Andean mountain range.
Wood lizards are among the largest and most striking of South America’s lizards, so finding three new species is a surprise.
The lizards, which are differently coloured to other species and have some unique features on their scales, were identified by Omar Torres-Carvajal of the Museum of Zoology in Ecuador, Pablo J. Venegas of the Centre for Ornithology and Biodiversity in Peru, and Kevin de Queiroz of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History in the US.
DNA tests confirmed their unique status, and details are published in the journal ZooKeys.
In 2006, only six species of wood lizard had been described.
“More than half of the diversity of this group of large, dragon-looking reptiles from South America has been discovered in recent years,” says Dr. Torres-Carvajal.