An adult male of Enyalioides feiruzae demonstrating its contrasting orange head. Credit history: Pablo J. Venegas

The Huallaga River in the Andes of central Peru extends for 1,138 km, producing it the greatest tributary of the Marañón River, the spinal cord of the Amazon River. This basin harbors a fantastic selection of ecosystems, which include the Peruvian Yunga ecoregion, which is thought of a shelter of endemic birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians.

How is it attainable, then, that this corner of the Tropical Andes stays poorly identified to biologists to this day? The main purpose is in truth a very basic a person and it lies in the civil wars with terrorist companies and drug traffickers that ended up going on in the region in the 1980s, disrupting biological scientific tests.

It wasn’t right until the late 1990s that the Peruvian authorities was capable to liberate the space, and which is when, very little by very little, some biologists began to undertaking back again to the Huallaga Valley. However, forest destruction by coca plantations for the duration of the interior war, which sooner or later led to the development of a hydroelectric power plant, remaining the Huallaga valley very fragmented, earning for an even a lot more urgent will need for biodiversity exploration in the spot.

A new species of wood lizard, Enyalioides feiruzae, was not long ago confirmed from the premontane forest of the Huallaga river basin, and described in the open-obtain, peer-reviewed scientific journal Evolutionary Systematics. It took the scientists seven a long time of field surveys to formally explain it. To do so, they had to start with to shell out lots of nights in the forests, in purchase to pick by hand lizards that had been sleeping on bushes 20–150 cm earlier mentioned the ground.

New dragon-like lizard species discovered in the Tropical Andes
An additional grownup male of Enyalioides feiruzae displaying the intense of intraspecific variation in this species. Credit rating: Pablo J. Venegas

The Feiruz wooden lizards—especially the males—come in a gorgeous assortment of colors. Males can have brownish turquoise, grey, or greenish brown backs traced with pale traces. Females, in switch, can be greenish brown or floury brown, with faint dim brown traces on their back again, limbs and tail, and spots on the sides.

The scientists consider E. feiruzae may possibly have founded as a individual species after it bought geographically divided from a extremely identical lizard, E. rudolfarndti, probably as a consequence from tectonic action and climatic oscillations that transpired from the Late Oligocene to the Early Miocene.

The Feiruz wooden lizard was named after—you guessed it—Feiruz—”a feminine inexperienced iguana, muse and lifelong good friend.” The proprietor of Feiruz the iguana, Catherine Thomson, supported the authors’ initiatives in taxonomic analysis and character conservation.

The habitat of the E. feiruzae is incredibly fragmented by croplands and pastures for cattle ranching, and for now we only know of a solitary protected inhabitants in the Tingo Maria Countrywide Park. Considerably far more continues to be to be found out about the dimensions and distribution of E. feiruzae populations and their means to endure and adapt in a fragmented landscape.

The new species belongs to the genus Enyalioides, which contains sixteen species. Additional than 50 % of the known Enyalioides species have been described in the very last two decades, mainly because of to the modern surveys of remote places in the Tropical Andes from Ecuador and Peru.

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More info:
Pablo J. Venegas et al, A new species of wooden lizard (Hoplocercinae, Enyalioides) from the Río Huallaga Basin in Central Peru, Evolutionary Systematics (2021). DOI: 10.3897/evolsyst.5.69227

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New dragon-like lizard species uncovered in the Tropical Andes (2021, August 31)
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