Two new species of wood lizards have been discovered in the mountain rainforests of northeastern Peru, according to a recent report published in the open access journal Zoo Keys. They were both found in Cordillera Azul National Park and hint at the discoveries remaining to be made in the under-explored region.
“Thanks to these discoveries, Peru becomes the country holding the greatest diversity of woodlizards. Cordillera Azul National Park is a genuine treasure for Peru,” said lead author Pablo Venegas, who also took the photographs that documented the find.
Both species are sexually dimorphic, which means that the adult males and females look different. In this case, most males have rich green background colors while the females are browner.
Both species, Enyalioides azulae and E. binzayedi, belong to the same genus, which means that they’re close relatives. They may both be rare, since they have been found so far only in one location. However, the genus as a whole is poorly studied — of the 10 currently recognized species, three had been discovered and described since 2008.
It may seem surprising that entire lizard species could go undiscovered well into the 21st century, but apparently there are a lot of the reptiles still out there waiting to be described by science. Last year, The Inquisitr reported on the discovery of the charming bumblebee gecko from Papua New Guinea.
Unfortunately, the news isn’t all good for rare and unusual lizards. Earlier this month, a team of researchers announced that dozens of rare live-bearing South American lizards from high altitude and colder locations might be threatened with extinction caused by global climate change.
The Cordillera Azul National Park where the new species were found isn’t at all well-known, even though it is Peru’s third largest park and one of the largest national parks in the world. It was established in 2001 and is estimated to hold 800 species of birds — more species than the United States and Canada combined. A specialty of the park for birders is the scarlet-banded barbet, Capito wallacei, a colorful red, yellow, black, and white bird that was only discovered in 1996.
You have to wonder what other new species are waiting there to be found.
[photo of young male Enyalioides binzayedi by P.J. Venegas]