- A large, colorful, "secretive" monitor lizard has been found in the Philippines.
- The Komodo dragon relative may have been elusive, in part, because it rarely leaves trees.
- Many more new species may be found in northern Philippine forests.
A "spectacular" new species of giant, secretive, colorful and fruit-eating monitor lizard has been found in a Philippine forest, according to a new study.
The reptile, named the Northern Sierra Madre Forest Monitor Lizard, is 6 feet long, around 22 pounds and brightly colored yellow and black. It is in the same family as the Komodo dragon, the world's largest lizard.
"Rumors of its existence and some clues have floated around among biologists for the past 10 years," co-author Rafe Brown told Discovery News. Brown is an assistant professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Kansas, and is curator of herpetology at the university's Biodiversity Institute.
He and his colleagues collected a large adult specimen from a forest at Northeast Luzon Island in the northern Philippines. They studied its anatomy and sequenced its DNA, both of which indicated that the lizard represents a new species. It is described in the latest issue of Royal Society Biology Letters.