What is the flying lizard (Draco volans)?

the flying lizard, flying lizard or common flying dragon These are the names by which the species is known. draco volans, a species of lizard endemic to Southeast Asia. Like other species of the duck genus, it has wing-shaped skin extensions that they use to move gliding through the air, although they are not able to remain in flight.

biology and habitat

The flying lizard is a small reptile with a thin, elongated body. It reaches an average size of about 20 cm, including the tail. It is brown with dark spots, but its wings are usually colored below, with shades of blue, orange, and yellow. They have a dewlap which in males is usually larger and with the same shades as the wings.

The natural habitat of draco volans They are tropical forests that are distributed throughout Southeast Asia and southern India. They are very common on the islands of Borneo and the Philippine archipelago.

Although it likely feeds on other insects, its diet is almost exclusively ants and termites.

It is of daytime habits, but avoids being very active in the hours of maximum solar intensity. Males are very territorial and usually defend a space of two or three trees where several females usually live. To defend territory, it unfolds its cheeks and wings to show superiority, if necessary, they can attack.

Flying lizards are considered an exclusively arboreal species, as they avoid descending to the ground except for females to descend to lay eggs. With their snout they dig a hole in the ground where they lay an average of 5 eggs. For about a day, the female defends the nest and then returns to the trees and leaves the eggs to their own devices. The preferred breeding season is between December and January.

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flight adaptations

The wings of draco volans they are called patagium. Although they cannot fly with them, they can glide by jumping from tree to tree. The patagium is formed with skin blacktails joining modified ribs on either side of the body. These ribs can be stretched to spread the skin between them and spread the wings.

They can glide up to 8 m, and use it to move between the trees where they feed. It is not common for them to fly to escape predators, for which they often climb trees and hide between branches.

There are other species of the genus Draco with similar adaptations, such as the spotted flying dragon (Draco maculatus), the Draco melanopogon or the Draco spilonotus.

Gallery

draco spilonotus draco volans (male)

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