Thursday, July 21, 2016

A new dragon lizard: Sitana marudhamneydhal

The ten species of fan-throated lizards of the genus Sitana are only found in India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. These are rather beautiful little guys most often not larger than 20cm. Most of the species open ground patches.

The new species was named for its occurrence in the grassy plains as well as the seashore in Tamil Nadu, India. The name is a combination of two ancient Tamil words (Marudham = cultivable grasslands, Neydhal = land by the seashore). 

For the experts: A new species of Sitana to the ponticeriana group is described herein from southern Tamil Nadu, India. Sitana marudhamneydhal sp.nov. is most similar to Sitana visiri, from which it differs in body scalation and dewlap size. Much like Sitana visiri, the breeding of this species coincides with the North-East monsoon rains (October to December), an adaptation related to its geographic location which receives higher rainfall during the North-East monsoon than the South-West monsoon.

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