Two new species of Japalura from Southwest China


Soon after the description of the Sail Mountain Dragon (Japalura vela) from eastern Tibet, China, two more new species of Japalura, namely J. laeviventris and J. iadina, were described from the approximate same region in the Hengduan Mountain Range of China.

Despite the distinct scalation and coloration, the two new species have long been confused with a known congener, J. flaviceps. Like other species of the genus Japalura, both new species showed dramatic sexual dimorphism in coloration. The males are brightly colored with distinct gular spots, with where the females are much duller and better camouflaged. In addition to the species description, the authors provided updated conservation assessments for the new species as well as imperiled congeners according to the IUCN criteria for classification, discussed the importance of color patterns in the diagnosis and description of species in the genus Japalura, and discussed directions for future taxonomic studies of the group.

Note: One the author’s Japalura photos also made the cover of the journal Zoological Research!

Source: Wang, K., K. Jiang, D-H. Zou, F. Yan, C.D. Siler, and J. Che. 2016. Two new species of Japalura (Squamata: Agamidae) from the Hengduan Mountain Range, China. Zoological Research 37(1): 41-56. pdf