Deep in the cloud forests of South America, researchers discovered three new species of dwarf dragons— reptiles who at times exhibit an appearance strikingly similar to the mythological creatures from which they get their name, according to a report published earlier this week.
In the report, which was published in the journal ZooKeys, researchers from the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, CORBIDI in Peru, and the Museo de Zoologia QCAZ in Ecuador conducted field as well as laboratory work which yielded the recent discovery of the new species of woodlizards, which are formally known as Enyalioides.
Omar Torres-Carvajal, one of the researchers behind the study from the Smithsonian Institution, and his colleagues have discovered seven new species of the reptiles reminiscent of miniature dragons in the bio-diverse Andean cloud forests of Peru and Ecuador over the last seven years; that’s a rate of one dwarf dragon discovered per year.
Their discoveries account for nearly half of the fifteen known species discovered to date.
In order to determine whether or not the reptilian samples collected were indeed new species, researchers compared patterns, shapes, sizes, eye color and other attributes from previously collected species in addition to comparing DNA samples with those in an existing database. Their analysis determined that the woodlizards they had found were previously undiscovered.
The first new dragon-esque creature they found was the Alto Tambo woodlizard, known formally as Enyalioides altotambo. It was discovered in a tiny village located in northwestern Ecuador, the village for which it was named.
The rough-scaled woodlizard known as the Enyalioides anisolepis was discovered on the slopes of the Amazonian Andes, located in northern Peru and southern Ecuador. This is the one whose appearance, of the bunch, most closely resembles a mythical dragon, according to the Smithsonian.
Rothschild’s woodlizard, known as Enyalioides sophiarothschildae, is a scrappy reptile with a black-and-brown body tipped with green spikes.
Back in February, researchers examining a Ruby Seadragon sample realized that the sample had been mislabeled as a previously known species of seadragon when it was in reality, an entirely new species of seadragon.
What are your thoughts on the recently discovered dwarf dragons?