Tuesday, April 13, 2010

New giant lizard species found in the Philippines

The forests of Northern Philippines have yielded a new species of giant monitor lizard, scientists have said.

The brightly-coloured lizard measures two metres (6ft 6in) in length and was found in the forests of the heavily populated Luzon Island.

This secretive, fruit-eating species came as an "unprecedented surprise", scientists reported in the journal Royal Society Biology Letters.

Discovery of a previously unknown species of larger animal is quite rare, they said.

The species, native to the forests of the central and northern Sierra Madre range, has been christened Varanus bitatawa. Biologists have conducted relatively few surveys of reptiles and amphibians in these areas.

According to genetic tests, the species is closely related to the monitor lizard, which exist three non-forested river valleys away on the island. This indicates that the lizards never left the forest area to hazard into open areas.

The scientists said the discovery highlighted the "unexplored nature of the Philippines" and that the species could become a flagship species for conservation efforts to preserve the remaining forests of the region

No comments:

Post a Comment