Dwarf Dragons or wood lizards are reptiles known for having shocking skin colors such as bloody red and neon green. They have been named so probably because some of these reptiles look exactly like smaller versions of dragons, as described in mythology.
During a recent expedition in the Andean cloud forest, herpetologists have come across three new species of these dwarf dragons. These reptiles have been located in the forest area covering Ecuador and Peru.
Earlier humans knew about 12 species of dwarf dragons; with the recent discovery, the number has become 15. The study describing the expedition has been published on this week’s edition of the science journal ZooKeys.
There was a time when scientists believed that dwarf dragons were among the least diverse variety of lizards residing in the forests of South America. However, this assumption of the scientists was proved wrong when Omar Torres-Carvajal started exploring the forest.
The past seven years have seen Torres-Carvajal and his colleagues discover as many as seven new species of the lizard in Peru and Ecuador.
The group’s most recent expedition, during which the herpetologists discovered three dwarf dragon species, was different than the previous one. Torres-Carvajal and other members of the team didn’t need to put in much effort to find some intriguing new specimens.
After finishing the job of gathering specimens, the team started to compare the animals’ body shapes, sizes, patterns, eye color and other such physical attributes. Next, they collected DNA samples of each newly discovered lizard species and compared them to the DNA of wood lizards in their existing database. These two steps confirmed that they have encountered three dwarf dragon species not identified by the human race before.
The three newly discovered dwarf lizard species are: Alto Tambo wood lizards or Enyalioides alto Tambo, rough-scaled wood lizards or Enyalioides anisolepis and Rothschild’s woodlizards or Enyalioides sophiarothschildae.
The team of herpetologists responsible for discovering these new lizard species in the South American forests is confident that the area is home to more such unknown species. The experts in the team are saying that there is a lot left to be discovered as far as South American dwarf dragons are concerned.