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Friday, March 2, 2012

New jewel-toned lizard species

Germán Chávez and Diego Vásquez from Centro de Ornitología y Biodiversidad identified a new species of lizard in southern Peru.  This colorful creature was dubbed Potamites montanicola (mountain dweller) because of its discovery at high elevation. In fact, the altitude at which it was found (between 1600 and 2100 meters above sea level) make it unique in its genus.  In addition, the authors speculate that the creature may be semi-aquatic due to its close association with mountain streams. 

These are the colorful males of the newly described species.

Germán Chávez, Diego Vásquez

In order to determine whether their specimens did in fact make up a new species, the researchers had to closely examine every part of the lizards’ anatomies.  For example, what does the tongue look like?  What sort of scales does it have?  How long are the limbs and tail?  What shape are the head and eyes?  If you’re interested, you can peruse the descriptions and photographs that went into identifying P. montanicola as a separate species.

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