Flying lizard rediscovered in State after 118 years
GUWAHATI, April 17 – Norvill’s Flying Lizard, scientifically known as the Draco norvillii and locally known as the Urania jethi, has been rediscovered in the State after a gap of 118 years. The development has assumed significance in view of the importance of the lizard species in this area of the globe which is regarded to be one of the biodiversity hotspots.
The lizard was first reported from the Doom Dooma area of the State by Alcock in 1895. However, since then, there was no report of the existence of this lizard species from the State and it was believed that the species had become extinct. This year, Gauhati University (GU) researcher Mazedul Islam and GU Professor Prasanta Kumar Saikia of the Animal Ecology and Wildlife Biology Laboratory of the Zoology Department could trace the lizard after three years of extensive survey to document the herpatofauna of the Jeypore Reserve Forest.
The GU scientists recorded a total of 18 lizard species, which is the highest among the protected forest areas of the State.
Another remarkable finding of the field survey by the GU scientists was the first record of the existence of Khasi Hills Long-tailed Lizard (Takydromus khasiensis), which was earlier recorded in Barail Wildlife Sanctuary of the State. This lizard is common in Jeypore Reserve Forest.
Prof Saikia and Islam authored a paper – Inventory and Natural history of lizards in Jeypore Reserve Forest, Assam – on their findings and the paper is published in the Reptile Rap, Vol-15, page 16-26, 2013. They said the Norvill’s Flying Lizard is about 19.2cm long with grey body and scarlet patagium. However, they could record only two individual lizards.