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Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless credited to others.
Copyright ゥ Ecology Asia 2024







Asian Grass Lizard

Species :  Takydromus sexlineatus
Size (snout to vent) : 6.5 cm
Size (total length) : ~ 50 cm

The Asian Grass Lizard, or Six-lined Long-tailed Grass Lizard, is well-adapted for open, grassy habitats, marshes and disturbed habitats including areas dominated by low shrubs. It is diurnal and mainly arboreal.

Members of the genus Takydromus, of which 4 species occur in Southeast Asia, are easily identified by their extremely long tails. In the case of Takydromus sexlineatus the tail may exceed 6 times the head-body length (see image in Tay, 2016). This oversized appendage is used to distribute body weight on tall grass and other vegetation.

In rural areas this lizard may be glimpsed as it quickly runs across the road to move from one patch of roadside grassland to another.

This lizard has a number of pale stripes extending along the elongate body onto the tail: this patterning serves as excellent camouflage in long grass.

The dorsum, flanks and top of the head are brown, and the underside of the head and body is green (sometimes bluish-green, sometimes yellowish). There may be pale spots along the flanks.

Its head is elongated and its snout is pointed. Its limbs are well developed.

Its diet comprises mainly insects and other small invertebrates such as millipedes (Das, 2010).

The Asian Grass Lizard is a widespread species, and is known to occur in northeast India, Bangladesh, southern China and many countries of Southeast Asia including Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Indonesia (Sumatra, Riau Islands, Natuna Islands, Borneo, Java and Bali).

In Peninsular Malaysia this lizard only occurs in the northwest, with known occurrences in Penang and Kedah (Grismer, 2011). There is a curious absence in central and southern Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore, despite the presence of apparently suitable habitat. However, immediately to the south of Singapore the species is recorded from Bintan Island, Riau Province, Indonesia (Tay, 2016). 

There are no records, either historic or recent, from the Philippines (Emerson Sy, pers. comm.).

Reptile Database lists 3 other species of Takydromus for Southeast Asia - T. hani, T. kuehni and T. madaensis from Vietnam.

Figs 1 and 2 : Example from Cat Tien National Park, Vietnam, seen in secondary growth at the edge of a forested road. Based on the location, this is the subspecies T. s. ocellatus (Das, 2010). Note the pale spots on the flanks. Photo thanks to Derek Clark.

Fig 3 : Example from Sarawak, Borneo, found resting in long grass at night. Based on the location, this is the subspecies T. s. sexlineatus (Das, 2010). Photo thanks to Noel Thomas.

References : H11, H12

Tay, A. (2016). Southeast Asia Vertebrate Records. 2016:31-32. [pdf link]


Fig 1
ゥ  Derek Clark
Fig 2
ゥ  Derek Clark
Fig 3
ゥ  Noel Thomas