Three new species of lizard discovered in the Andes

Scientists have discovered three new species of wood lizards in the Andes of Peru and Ecuador. The new species differ from their closest relatives in scale features, coloration and DNA.

Wood lizards are among the largest and most colourful lizards in South American forests.

The study was published in the open access journal ZooKeys.

“I started working with wood lizards in 2006 as part of my postdoc at the Smithsonian Institution under the direction of Kevin de Queiroz,”  says mar Torres-Carvajal  of the Museo de Zoología QCAZ, Ecuador.

“At that time only seven species of wood lizards had been described, and they were recognised in the literature as one of the less diverse groups of South American lizards. During the last few years we doubled the number of known species of wood lizards, showing that the diversity of these conspicuous reptiles had been underestimated.”

The three new species of Wood lizards (Enyalioides) are diurnal and live in lowland tropical rainforests, such as the Chocó and western Amazon basin, as well as cloudforests on both sides of the Andes. The new species described by Torres-Carvajal and his colleagues increases the number of species of wood lizards to 15.

Bill Condie

Bill Condie

Bill Condie is a science journalist based in Adelaide, Australia.

Read science facts, not fiction...

There’s never been a more important time to explain the facts, cherish evidence-based knowledge and to showcase the latest scientific, technological and engineering breakthroughs. Cosmos is published by The Royal Institution of Australia, a charity dedicated to connecting people with the world of science. Financial contributions, however big or small, help us provide access to trusted science information at a time when the world needs it most. Please support us by making a donation or purchasing a subscription today.