Tiny, shiny lizard discovered in Cambodia
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Last Updated: Monday, February 27, 2012, 16:49
  
Washington: Researchers have discovered a new lizard species with a shining and long snakelike body from a remote forest in Cambodia.

The disco-ready lizard, which is just three inches long from snout to tail, sports tiny legs and scales that shimmer with a rainbow-hued iridescence.

According to the researchers, who detailed their finding in in the journal Zootaxa, the new specimen was found in 2010 near a stream in the forests of the remote northeast region of the country near the Laotian border.

However, they took two years time to announce their find until it was officially described as a new species which is a time-consuming process.

The researchers named the reptile Lygosoma veunsaiensis, in honour of the place where it was discovered -- Cambodia's Veun Sai-Siem Pang Conservation Area.

According to the researchers, L veunsaiensis is a type of skink, lizards famed for their long, narrow bodies, stubby legs, and the awkward gait that often results.

Finding the lizard was a rare piece of luck as members of the Lygosoma genus are notoriously secretive, they said.

"These creatures are difficult to find because they spend so much of their life hidden underground," study author Neang Thy of Flora and Fauna International was quoted as saying by OurAmazingPlanet.com.

"Some similar species are known from only a few individuals. We were very lucky to find this one," Thy said. The Veun Sai region has proved a treasure trove of new species discovery in recent years, due in part to decades-long conflict that kept researchers away from Cambodia until the late 1990s, said Peter Geissler, a German scientist and lead author on the paper.

"Now, we have a chance to uncover many of the things that have previously been missed, especially new reptiles."

The discovery comes on the heels of some other exciting findings in lizard taxonomy. Scientists in Peru recently found a new species of bright, water-loving lizard, while a team in Madagascar unearthed the world's tiniest chameleon that was small enough to perch on the head of a match.

PTI


First Published: Monday, February 27, 2012, 16:49


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