a field guide to the planet - by Damon Ramsey
The reptiles of the jungles of tropical Asia...
I didn't realise until I started sorting out and putting my photos on this webpage, how many species of agamids there are in Asian rainforest...
There are some 28 species in this genus. They are only found in tropical Asia.
Calotes versicolour, 'Oriental Garden Lizard', 'Changeable Lizard'. So called 'Changeable' as the colours can indeed change colour quickly! This was within a minute or two. A common lizard throughout south-east Asia (Angkor Wat, Cambodia).
Calotes calotes, 'Common Green Forest Lizard', (Kithugala, Sri Lanaka). Despite the unenthusiastic common names, this can be a stunningly coloured dragon.
Calotes nigrilabris, 'Black-lipped Lizard'. Endemic to Sri Lanka, where it usually found at high altitude above 100o metres (Horton Plains, Sri Lanka).
Found in Sri Lanka.
Ceratophora stoddartii, 'Rhino Horned Lizard'. Endemic to Sri Lanka, where it usually found on moss-laden branches of shrubs in high altitude cloud forest (Horton Plains, Sri Lanka).
Bronchocela cristatella, 'Green Crested Lizard'. (Khao Sok National Park, Thailand).
Distinctive feature are the spines that are found on the middle of the back of the neck. Found in forest south-east Asia. Popular in the pet trade.
Acanthosaura 'Mountain Horned Lizard', (Khao Sok National Park, Thailand).
These amazing lizards are common, but often difficult to see at first. They are usually noticed clinging upright on tree trunks. The males will often display a bright flap of skin from their neck, the gular flag. They get their common name from the fact that they can glide long distances using their wing-like, patagia; stretched skin supported by elongated thoracic ribs.
possibly Draco indochinensis 'Indo-Chinese Flying Lizard' (Jahoo Camp, Cambodia).
Gekko gecko, 'Tokay Gecko' (Baan Maka, Thailand). This is the 'orginal gecko'. The name 'gecko', 'tokay' and all the other similar common names throughout Asia come from the loud call of this species. It is a large lizard, up to 30 cm long. It often has bright orange spots. This species is mostly found on trees in tropical rainforest across tropical Asia and into some Pacific islands, but also around human habitation within that range.
(Kithugala, Sri Lanka).
Varanus salvator, 'Asian Water Monitor' (Singapore). The most common and the largest monitor lizard in tropical Asia.
As with other monitors that have evolved to swim regularly in water, it's tail is laterally compressed, like a paddle. The Asian water monitor is found in a variety of habitats, including urban gardens and canals. It is distributed from India, across all over south-east Asia, north to southern China, and down to Sulawesi.
Calloselasma rhodostoma, 'Malayan Pit Viper'. A small specimen with lighter for scale (Jahoo Camp, Cambodia).
Thinking of travelling again after everything settles down? One of the companies I work for as a guide and lecturer is Silversea Expeditions.