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Malayan Butterfly Lizard
   
   

Fig 1




 

Family : LEIOLEPIDIDAE
Species : Leiolepis triploida
Size (snout to vent) : 15 cm
Size (total length) : Up to at least 40 cm

The Malayan Butterfly Lizard occurs in habitats such as plantations (rubber, oil palm), fruit orchards and areas with similar disturbance.

Butterfly lizards require loose, sandy soil in which to dig their deep burrows - Grismer (2011) reports unearthing this species up to 1.5 metres below ground level in areas of deep soil.

This is a parthenogenic species i.e. there is a single sex (female) which reproduces by cloning. Males do not exist.

The species can be identified by the thin, pale bars on the flanks, and the long thin stripe which extends along each flank from the base of the tail to at least near the shoulder. On the back are numerous pale brownish spots, each containing a small, central whitish dot.

The Malayan Butterfly Lizard occurs in northern Peninsular Malaysia, in the states of Perlis and Kedah. It has not been recorded from the islands of Langkawi or Penang.

The specimen shown here was found on the island of Phuket, southern Thailand, in a coastal grove of cashew trees. It shows some similarity in patterning with Leiolepis triploida, but was found 250 kilometres northwest of the known range of that species.


Fig 1 : Butterfly Lizard Leiolepis cf. triploida on the island of Phuket, southern Thailand. It was active at the side of a dirt track passing through a cashew plantation.


References : H11