Peruvian scientists recently discovered and described two new types of lizards previously unknown to the scientific community. The new species are biologically similar and share adjoining altitude ranges, leading researches to believe their slight divergence may represent subtle evolutionary affects.
Males of both species are a speckled neon green, while females have a more reserved brown and dulled burgundy coloring. The woodlizards live in the mountainous rainforest of Cordillera Azul National Park, Peru’s third largest national park situated roughly between the jungle towns of Tarapota and Pucallapa.
This discovery makes Peru the country with the greatest diversity of woodlizards. Overall Peru is third in the world for types of amphibians and fifth in reptiles. It is the most biodiverse country for fish, second for birds, and third for mammals—all of which combine to put Peru in the top 10 most biodiverse countries on the planet.
Read original press release.
The Amazon rainforest and basin cover 60% of Peru’s landmass and contain the majority of the country’s biodiversity. Much of Peru’s jungle is unexplored and only 5% of the country’s population lives there. The rest live in the Andes or, primarily, along the coast. Roughly a third of Peru’s population, more than 9 million people, live in Lima and its satellite districts.
Photos under Creative Commons License; taken by study authors.