Scientists have lately discovered three new species of lizards in Andes, South America who are similar to dragons. These newly found species are named as Enyalioides anisolepis, Enyalioides sophiarothschildae and Enyalioides altotambo.
The team of Scientists conducted several expeditions to several localities along the Andes of Ecuador and Peru. There, they collected several specimens of woodlizards and then analyzed them.
An area which has over 20.000 plants who have not been met anywhere else. In addition the researchers discovered around 1.500 incredible terrestrial vertebrates, including amphibians and birds. It seems that dwarf dragons are populating the forests in more varieties than scientist have previously thought.
Researchers from Peru (Pablo J. Venegas) and Ecuador (Omar Torres-Carvajal ) with the help of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, represented by Kevin de Queiroz, were the ones who discovered the new species in the Tropical Andes. The new species are different from their relatives regarding color and scale arrange. The uniqueness of the species was proved by a DNA analysis.
Evidence of the DNA left no doubt that the specimens belonged to three undescribed species of woodlizards. They differ from their closest relatives in scale features, coloration and DNA.
“That more than half of the diversity of a group of large, dragon-looking reptiles from South America has been discovered in recent years should be heard by people in charge of conservation and funding agencies,” said Torres-Cavajal.
The newly discovered wood lizards are rough-scaled and have the traditional features of a dragon. They have much in common with the mythological creatures except the fact that they are tiny.
The study authors noted that in the most recent discoveries 40% of the species of wood lizards were discovered only in the last 7 years. This indicates that the terrain of the Andean cloud forests was poorly explored in the past. The researchers were in fact surprised that they had found the dwarf dragons in such a condensed region since the lizards are hard to pass unnoticed owing to their bright coloration.
Dr. Torres-Carvajal said that the first time they worked with lizards was in 2006 and only seven species were known then. In fact they were considered to be among the less varied species of South American lizards. However, the doctor added that, in recent years the number of wood lizard species has doubled. It seems that scientist have underestimated the diversity of these reptiles.
Carvaja also said that funding and conservation agencies should be notified about the fact that in recent years researchers have discovered more than a half of the variety of a group consisting of large, dragon-looking lizards from South America.
Researchers have noticed the discrepancies between the new lizards and specimens found in museum. With the aid of DNA analysis, they were able to categorize the lizards as three different species that are still without descriptions.
These finding make scientist think about all the other undiscovered species which are waiting to be found, but they also make them wonder how many will vanish before they get to discover them.