The Phuket News Premier League predictions The Phuket News Kata Rocks The Phuket News Outrigger Koh Samui Beach Resort
The Phuket News Phuket News
The Phuket News Phuket | Thailand | World | Business | Q&A | Weird World XML, RSS, Feed
The Phuket News The Phuket News
The Phuket News

Officially horny: Phuket Little Dragon confirmed as a new species

PHUKET: Scientists on Monday (Dec 19) confirmed that Phuket was home to an entirely new species on the planet: a particularly horny lizard now officially known as Acanthosaura phuketensis.

animals, environment, natural-resources, tourism,


The Phuket News

Saturday 24 December 2016, 11:00AM


The discovery was originally made by Belgian biologist Olivier Pauwels and his team Montri Sumontha, Kirati Kunya, Awat Nitikul, Phamon Samphanthamit, Perry Wood Jr and Lee Grismer amid jungle in central Phuket.

Although the discovery was published in the scientific journal Zootaxa late last year, the confirmation this week followed a lengthy verification process ensuring the lizard was indeed the first of its kind identified on Earth.

The Acanthosaura phuketensis grows to 35cm long and has long horns on the head and a row of sharp spines along its back, and the lizard’s name is dedicated to Phuket, explained Mr Pauwels. ‘‘It literally means spiny lizard from Phuket; it is an extraordinary discovery,” he said.

In spite of its scary looks, the lizard is harmless. ‘‘It feeds mostly on insects. It is very discreet, and lives on trees in dense forest. It rarely comes down to the forest floor,’’ Mr Pauwels explained.

‘‘Although Phuket is one of the most touristic places in the World, this is the third such major discovery our team made on this island, after a new gecko species and the now famous viper. They are endemic, which means they are found nowhere else on our Planet,’’ he said.

Pauwels, 45, who works as a Research Associate at the Royal Belgian Institute for Natural Sciences in Brussels, Belgium, has already described 80 new species.

Four years ago his team discovered a viper in the middle of the island, the ‘‘Phuket Bamboo Pit Viper’’.

They also discovered a unique gecko at the Khao Phra Thaeo Non-hunting Area in Thalang, where team member Mr Awat once served as chief. The gecko was subsequently named Cyrtodactylus phuketensis.

The rapid pace of development, driven by tourism and the island’s property industry, worries Mr Pauwels.

‘‘Human infrastructures still expand, threatening the last remaining tropical forest patches on the island. This new discovery stresses how important it is to save the remaining jungle on the island. If these forests disappear, many unique creatures which live only there will also disappear,’’ he said.

Piyawat Sukon, Chief of the Khao Phra Thaew Non-Hunting Area Office in Thalang, this week told The Phuket News that he was unaware of any new lizard species in his park area.

C and C Marine

“I know nothing about this yet, but our office should be informed for research,” he said.

“We have records of similar species in Khao Phra Thaew, the Marked Spring Lizard (Acanthosaura cf. Crucigera) and the Greater Spring Lizard (Acanthosaura armata),” Mr Piyawat added.

Mr Pauwels noted, “The marine environment of Phuket has been very well studied, thanks to the scientists working at the Phuket Marine Biological Centre, but the terrestrial fauna of Phuket has been long neglected by biologists. This is probably due to the fact that the island is so touristic, and its forest has been mostly destroyed by tourism and agricultural developments. Biologists thought there would be nothing special to find there.

“But we were wrong! In 2004 a team of Malaysian biologists described a little gecko endemic to Phuket Island, which they named Cnemaspis phuketensis (endemic means that it is restricted to a certain geographic area and not found elsewhere in the world). So our team, led by Montri Sumontha of the Ranong Marine Fisheries Department and myself, decided to do intensive surveys on the remaining forest patches of Phuket,” he told The Phuket News this week.

“We worked in collaboration with the Gibbon Rehabilitation Centre of Phuket and began to comb through the jungle. This led to the discovery of VanDeventer’s Rock Gecko Cnemaspis vandeventeri in 2010, the Phuket Pitviper Trimeresurus phuketensis in 2011, the Phuket Bent-toed Gecko Cyrtodactylus phuketensis in 2012 and the Phuket Horned Tree Agamid Acanthosaura phuketensis (also known as the Phuket Little Dragon) in 2015!

“Absolutely fantastic and unexpected! Cnemaspis vandeventeri and Trimeresurus phuketensis are not geographically limited to Phuket, but are also found in other mountains on the Thai peninsula; the others seem strictly endemic to Phuket,” he explained.

“[I am] Not sure if more reptile species remain to be discovered on Phuket Island, but who knows, so we are pursuing our research,” Mr Pauwels said.

“In any case, Phuket is now known to be home to several amazing and unique reptile species, and this is a very good reason to protect its remaining forest, in the same way protecting all the other species living there.

“All these unique reptile species are indeed forest dwellers, and would not be able to survive in highly disturbed forests or in agricultural environments. And agriculture is already encroaching on some good forest patches among the few remaining.

“There is also the risk that specimens are collected by animal dealers for the pet trade and end up in Chatuchak or the international market, this has to be closely monitored. The existence of unique species in Phuket, all found in and around Khao Phra Thaeo, can help ecotourism development as it might attract visitors who want to see these little jewels in their natural environment.

“It just adds to all the fun things to do in Phuket,” he said.

 

 

The Phuket News
The Phuket News
Comment on this story
* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.
Comments Here:
Username:
Password:
E-mail:
Security:
    Forget your password?

Be the first to comment.

The Phuket News
The Phuket News The Phuket News The Phuket News
The Phuket News
Share this
The Phuket News
Have a news tip-off? Click here
The Phuket News
Related stories
The Phuket News
Phuket community

Recent Comments


Patong Police to call in Bangla bar, club owners over late-trading hours

8 years been travelling to Phuket I have seen a decline in tourism so I believe the necessity for venues to operate longer hours Bangla road is a grea...(Read More)


Thai wife confesses to murdering German husband in Phuket

Of course it would never happen in a peace and harmony loving country as yours,where one cares so much about each other and where they have such an ex...(Read More)


Thai wife confesses to murdering German husband in Phuket

Amazing how in Thailand, losing your temper and striking out with violence with no rational thought and a complete absence of self control is an excus...(Read More)


Pacific corals in 'worrying' state: researchers

Want to know why the current US President is ignoring this issue? Because he knows it's too late, and has likely been for decades. He simply want...(Read More)


Phuket’s Eva Beach appeal earns demolition reprieve, says Rawai Mayor

It appears some people attempting to post comments here may not be aware that the following increased enforcement of our comments policy already in fo...(Read More)


11 held in crackdown on foreign crime

It appears some people attempting to post comments here may not be aware that the following increased enforcement of our comments policy already in fo...(Read More)


CIB tackles illegal drone flight threat

It appears some people attempting to post comments here may not be aware that the following increased enforcement of our comments policy already in fo...(Read More)


Phuket lifeguards confirm Oct 1 strike

Is this some sort of Blackmail? Horst...(Read More)


Phuket lifeguards confirm Oct 1 strike

Shame on the PPAO, deaths that will surely occur can be directly attributed to those who undervalue lifeguards. Public safety for locals and touri...(Read More)


CIB tackles illegal drone flight threat

Article made me thinking: Why is the Army not patrolling in the Deep South with drones instead with unprotected pick up trucks, ripped apart like sar...(Read More)

The Phuket News
Bangkok Hospital Phuket
PHUKET NEWS
Phuket
Thailand
World
Business
Q A
Weird World
ARCHIVE
POLL
CURRENCY
WEATHER
PHUKET TIDE TABLE
The Phuket News PHUKET LIFE
Phuket Arts
Phuket Community
Phuket Culture
Phuket Dining
Phuket Education
Phuket Entertainment
Phuket Environment
Phuket Health
Phuket People
Phuket Technology
Phuket Travel
World Entertainment
Photo Galleries
COLOURING BOOK
The Phuket News PHUKET SPORT
Phuket
Thailand
World
SURF REPORT
PREDICTIONS
The Phuket News PHUKET CLASSIFIEDS
Phuket Buy and Sell
Phuket Jobs
Phuket Property
Phuket Cars and Boats
Phuket Community
Phuket Services
SEARCH CLASSIFIEDS
POST CLASSIFIED
The Phuket News The Phuket News PHUKET EVENTS
Phuket Event listings
Phuket Event calendar
Buy Tickets
POST EVENT
The Phuket News PHUKET DIRECTORY
Phuket Bars, pubs and clubs
Phuket Hotels and villas
Phuket Restaurants
Phuket Yellow Pages
POST LISTING
The Phuket News BARGAINS
The Phuket News ABOUT US
The Company
Distribution points
Subscribe
Advertise with us
Pay for advert
Contact us
CONTESTS
Content Google Map
Site map
Australian Visa Services
 
Currency - The Phuket News   Weather Report - The Phuket News   Surf Report - The Phuket News
LinkedIn - The Phuket News   Twitter - The Phuket News   YouTube - The Phuket News   Facebook - The Phuket News
Copyright © 2017 Class Act Media. All rights reserved. | Website usage terms and conditions | Privacy and Confidentiality Statement.