Another Acanthosaura

I would have missed it had my Katu guide not stopped me on the trail and said thằn lằn! I looked for a lizard but didn’t see anything in the tangle of twigs and leaves where he was pointing. But I was looking for a small lizard—not the forearm-length gargoyle that was staring coldly back at me. I had come across a second forest dragon. This specimen was as magnificent as the first: Pupils black as the darkest jungle night, twin head-spikes leading into a row of spines spilling down its back, mottled-brown body covered with armor-like scales. This was Acanthosaura nataliae at its finest. After getting back to civilization I looked into this remarkable lizard. Surprisingly, this species of Acanthosaura, which are collectively known as horned dragon lizards, was only described by science in 2006. As mentioned before, it is only known from Vietnam, Laos, and small corner of Cambodia. Not much else is known about the species. It doesn’t even have an IUCN threat listing—yet another example of how little we know about the species that live in the jungles of the Annamites.

Forest dragon
Forest dragon

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