Large Dragon Lizard Discovered Is A New Species

By Douglas Helm | Published

It’s always exciting when a new creature is discovered, especially if that creature is a green dragon lizard. Recently, in Myanmar, researchers were planning on studying Jerdon’s forest lizards when they spotted a large, colorful, and pregnant lizard. They captured the lizard and discovered a new species – Calotes iadina, or the emerald dragon lizard.

A New Dragon Lizard Species

Jerdon’s forest lizards are a species of dragon lizard that the researchers believed were inaccurately labeled and, in fact, were a group of species that had been lumped together. So, the researchers compared lizards and found that the lizards in western Myanmar had different proportions and scale patterns. Thus, the new classification of the Calotes Iadina.

Color-Changing Lizards

Emerald dragon lizards can grow to impressive sizes, reaching about 16 inches in length. This is considered large for a lizard, and the length helps the bright green hue of these creatures stand out even more. Interestingly, the researchers also noted that these lizards change colors when undergoing stress, becoming almost brownish-black.

Tree-Dwelling Hunters

Along with their large size and stress-induced color changes, emerald dragon lizards are characterized by narrow heads, black markings across their eyes, and two rows of spikes along their backs. According to the study, the lizards are typically tree-dwellers, but the pregnant species they captured were found on a road in the morning. The time of year led the researchers to estimate that the lizard’s breeding season is in July.

Only In One Location

The emerald dragon lizards are definitely a new species, as the researchers did a DNA analysis that indicated at least 11 percent genetic difference from other species of dragon lizard. For now, this new species has only been found in the Chin State of western Myanmar, which is along the border of India and Bangladesh. Perhaps there will be more of these lizards found elsewhere in Asia.

New Species Discovered Every Year

Thousands of new species are discovered each year, so while the emerald dragon lizard discovery is exciting, it’s not necessarily the most uncommon occurrence. Another little reptile that made big news recently came from a study published in January, in which researchers discovered a new species of wood lizard in Peru. The Enyalioides cyanocephalus, or the blue-headed wood lizard, was found by a group of researchers in the Cordillera de Colan mountains who conducted various wildlife surveys from 2019 to 2023.


While thousands of new species may be discovered every year, the number of new reptiles discovered each year only numbers in the hundreds, so the emerald dragon lizard and blue-headed wood lizard are certainly newsworthy discoveries, especially since these kinds of lizards are so vibrantly colored and striking. The blue-headed wood lizard, for instance, is covered in spiky scales and has a bright turquoise head, as the name suggests.

The year is still young, so there will undoubtedly be more new reptiles discovered before 2025. But the emerald dragon lizard and blue-headed wood lizard have 2024 off to a promising start. Stay tuned for more science and news about new species

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