Thursday, July 07, 2011

Singapore connections IV: Draco

 So what does the lithe little lizard below have to do with a sea dragon?


Well the connection is dragon because this is a Draco sp. - and yes Draco does mean what you think. This is a flying dragon.

Singapore is said to have 5 species:
  • Fimbriate Flying Lizard (Draco fimbriatus)
  • Spotted Flying Lizard (Draco maculatus)
  • Black-bearded Flying Lizard (Draco melanopogon)
  • Five-banded Flying Lizard (Draco quinquefasciatus)
  • Common Gliding Lizard (Draco sumatranus)
I suspect this is D. sumatranus.

These aren't the best shots but they give a really clear idea of how tiny and narrow these little chaps are. The lack of weight comes in really handy when their (pretty good) camouflage fails them. At that point, when threatened they drop off the trees and spread their wings and fly (well glide technically) away. The wings are flaps of skin strung across highly flexible adapted ribs. The wings are brightly coloured so at the moment of jumping there is a burst of bright colour to shock a predator briefly. By the time the predator recovers its composure the dragon is gliding down to safety. Pretty cool n'est-ce pas?

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