All three lizards are colorful, have spikes running down their backs and look like miniature dragons, researchers said.
These lizards were found in the Andes and are known as “wood lizards” or “dwarf dragons”.
All three lizards are different from their closes relatives in terms of coloration and scale arrangements. According to the results of the DNA analysis, all three species of lizards are unique.
However, the newly discovered species of lizards belong to the same genus, known as Enyalioides.
The scientists named the lizards Enyalioides sophiarothschildae, Enyalioides anisolepis and Enyalioides altotambo.
Omar Torres-Carvajal, researcher at the Museo de Zoologia QCAZ in Ecuador and the study’s lead author, explained that the diversity of these rare species of lizards has been highly underestimated by the scientists.
According to Torres-Carvajal, wood lizards can measure up to 6 inches long (15 cm), which makes them one of the largest lizards that inhabit the Amazonian rainforest.
The patterns and the colors of these lizards help them camouflage into the environment so well, making them very hard to be noticed.
The researchers said they were very surprised to find three new species of lizards in the density of the South American rainforest.
The first of the lizards, Enyalioides anisolepis, is approximately 5 inches long and its name was inspired by a Greek word that translates as “unequal scale”, referring to the scales on the lizard’s back that are arranged in different sizes. This species of lizard also has conical spikes at the back of its head.
Male specimens have green and black patterns, while the females are brown. This lizard lives in southern Ecuador and in the northern regions of Peru, at an altitude of 2,375 ft and 5,715 ft above sea level.
Enyalioides altotambo was named after the town where the lizard as discovered, Alto Tambo, Ecuador. Both male and female specimens have thick necks and resemble the Gronckle, from “How to train your dragon” movie released in 2010.
Enyalioides sophiarothschildae lives in Peru and has green spikes on its back and a light-colored throat.
The researchers who discovered this species said that the scales are the same size, as well as the mitochondrial DNA.
In 2006 the scientists discovered 6 different species of wood lizards.
The researchers detailed the findings of their new discovery in the journal ZooKeys.
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