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New Lizard Species Found in Peru Look Like Evil Dinosaur Hybrids

March 20, 2013

If these lizards were larger, they’d look like featherless dinosaurs: With spiky spines and gleaming red eyes, two newly described species of wood lizard look a bit like stegosaur-evil velociraptor hybrids.

The lizards, reported Mar. 15 in ZooKeys, live in the Peruvian mountains and belong to the genus Enyalioides, which includes 10 previously described species. After comparing the lizards’ morphology and genetic sequences with known wood lizards, a team of scientists concluded that they could add two new members to a group most commonly found in Central and South America.

One of the lizards is now named E. azulae, after the Cordillera Azul mountain range in northeastern Peru, where it was first discovered in 2010. The 10-centimeter long lizard lives in montane forests at 1,100 meters elevation, near the Rio Huallaga basin. Males are flecked with bright green, while females are more dusty brown and resemble juveniles in color.

The other newly described lizard is E. binzayedi, after Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the United Arab Emirates, who created a conservation fund to support international conservation projects. This 12-centimeter long lizard bears more pronounced dorsal spikes, and is more colorful, than E. azulae — though not as colorful as E. rubrigularis, another species described by several of the same authors in 2009.

Text by Nadia Drake. See more at WIRED

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