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  Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless otherwise credited.
Copyright ゥ Ecology Asia 2018


Orange-bearded Gliding Lizard

Fig 1

Fig 2

Fig 3

Family : Agamidae
Species : Draco abbreviatus
Size (snout to vent) : male 11 cm, female 13 cm
Size (total length) : male ~18 cm, female ~21 cm

The Draco genus comprises the 'flying dragons', more properly called Gliding Lizards. They are able to glide because on each side of the body there is a wide flap of skin (the patagium) supported by movable elongated ribs. Males of the genus have a large throat fan or gular flag, which is extended as a territorial display or during courtship. Females sometimes possess small gular flags.

The Orange-bearded Gliding Lizard is a large, cryptic species of tall, primary rainforest. Its mottled grey-green and brown dorsum is an effective camouflage on lichen-covered tree trunks.

It has a dark brown to black eye stripe on the side of the head : this is thin and discontinuous near the snout, but thickens behind the eye. The stripe merges with a thick, discontinuous, dark brown stripe along the ventral line which extends to the base of the tail.  Another shorter black stripe occurs below and parallel to the main eye stripe.

The male has a long, thick, triangular salmon-pink gular flag. The female also possesses a gular flag of similar colour, though it is much shorter.

The species is known to occur in at least southern Thailand and Peninsular Malaysia. It appears to be absent from Singapore.

Figs 1 and 2 : Two images of a full-grown male at Gunung Pulai, Johor, Peninsular Malaysia.

Fig 3 : Another specimen from Gunung Pulai, searching for insects on a dying tree riddled with termites, as evidenced by the yellow termite trail.  To the right of the gliding lizard is a well camouflaged Frilly Gecko, with its head facing downwards.

Fig 4 : Example from Budo National Park, Southern Thailand, with gular flag (dewlap) extended. Photo thanks to Ng Bee Choo.

References : H11


Fig 4
ゥ  Ng Bee Choo