LIZARD SPECIES DISCOVERED IN PHILIPPINES

PHILIPPINES – Scientists have discovered a new species after years of searching!
It took six years, but a giant golden-spotted monitor lizard has been defined as a new species by researchers. The lizard was first discovered six years ago in the Sierra Madre mountains and measured an incredible 6.5 feet. Local researchers spotted a local Agta tribesman carrying one of the dead reptiles in 2004 and so the search began.
After being able to capture an adult last year, researchers from the University of Kansas and the National Museum of the Philippines obtained DNA samples that confirmed the lizard was a new species.
“I knew as soon as I saw the animal that it was something special,” said Luke Welton, a graduate student at the University of Kansas and one of the co-authors of the study.
“The discovery of such a large, charismatic, and strikingly distinct new species of vertebrate in the unexplored forests of the northern Philippines accentuates the degree to which the diversity of this global conservation hotspot is still poorly known,” said Mundita Lim, chief of the country’s Department of Environment and Natural Resource Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau.
The reptile has bright yellow, blue and green skin, and maintains a diet of fruit. It spends most of its time in the treetops and has unique claws that allow it to reach its favorite fruits. The Northern Sierra Madre Forest Monitor Lizard could be in danger of having its population drop due to habitat destruction, as well as hunting and trapping for the pet trade.

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