Rainbow-scaled lizard discovered

Males of the species are very conspicuous with their wide range of colors. Observed in Peru in the Huallaga River basin that winds through the Andes.

In the Peruvian Andes, along the Huallaga River basin, there are a myriad of ecosystems. One of these is the Yungas, an area that harbors great biodiversity and is largely unexplored by biologists and ecologists due to wars in the 1980s in the area. Instead, recent surveys have discovered a dozen new species of amphibians and lizards. Among the latest creatures observed is the Enyalioides Feiruzae, or Feiruz wood lizard, a new species that represents the sixteenth in the genus Enyalioides. The discovery was published in Evolutionary Sustematics, and among the reptile's most unique features are its rainbow-colored scales.

The Rainbow-Scaled Lizard

"When I saw Enyalioides Feiruzae, I immediately knew it was a new species because of its characteristics," said Pablo Venegas, the study's lead author. The males of this type of lizard have a very wide range of coloration of their scales with shades ranging from tangerine to turquoise to reddish swirls. The tail and limbs, on the other hand, are surrounded by paler colors. In contrast, the females of the species are much less conspicuous than their mates with greenish brown skin. Both male and female scales are then larger and more pointed in some areas than similar species. Their heads protrude a bit higher, allowing for better observation of the golden ring surrounding their reddish-brown eyes.

The new species is named after the green pet iguana, Feiruz, owned by Catherine Thomson, a Michigan resident who financially supports biodiversity and conservation research. "This is the first time in my life that I have named a species after a pet," Venegas said. The team of researchers worked seven years in the field to observe, capture and measure the rainbow lizard. Having identified it and given it a name is the first step in protecting the entire species.

Recently, for example, the International Union for Conservation of Nature published a red list of endangered species to be preserved.

Stefania Bernardini