Reptiles of the World: Asiatic Flying Lizard

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Draco sp.

rw-072-AsiaticFlyingLizard2The forests of the Indo-Malaysian region are inhabited by some half- dozen species of agamid lizards that glide effectively. These small (snout-to-tail length 6 inches), arboreal animals have their ribs elongated and are provided with muscles that can spread them, stretching a loose membrane and making tbeir body almost circular in plan when viewed from the top. With limbs and tail extended, these animals can plane from one tree trunk to another. Upon approaching a tree, they twist the body into a stall that kills forward motion and lands them head up. In some cases, bright color patches are visible during flight, while the resting coloration is dull and provides excellent camouflage.