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Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless otherwise credited.
Copyright ゥ Ecology Asia 2023



Fringed Gliding Lizard

Family : Agamidae
Species : Draco punctatus
Size (snout to vent) : male 9.7 cm, female 8.8 cm
Size (total length) : male ~26 cm, female ~24 cm

Draco punctatus (Fringed Gliding Lizard), formerly known as Draco fimbriatus, is an uncommonly sighted lizard; there appear to be very few records in comparison to other species which occur in the same habitat i.e. hilly areas with dipterocarp forest. 

(The former name of Draco fimbriatus [Orange-bearded Gliding Lizard] now applies to a closely-related species which has a broad, orange gular flag  (McGuire et al, 2018).

In the field, male Draco punctatus can be identified by their white triangular gular flag, tipped with yellow, and the skin beneath the lappets which is also yellow (see Fig. 1). The female example shown here (Fig. 2) has a small patch of yellow on the gular flag, which is lying flat beneath the chin; this suggests some similarity between the gular flags of males and females.

The dorsal colour of Draco punctatus varies widely, ranging from pale grey to brownish to greenish, with complex patterning giving it a mottled appearance. There is a dark spot on the front of the head which also helps with identification.

The patagium is usually dark brown, patterned with thin, pale lines. Its tail is long and thin, and measures around 1.7 times head-body length.

Males can be confidently distinguished from females by the presence of a row of lanceoloate (i.e. enlarged, rounded) scales along the top of the tail.

Draco punctatus is known to occur in southern Thailand, parts of northern and central Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra and Java. There appear to be no formally published records from southern parts of Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore.

It is unclear whether Draco punctatus occurs on the island of Borneo, given McGuire et al's taxonomic changes in 2018.

Fig 1 : Example from Bintan Island, Riau Archipelago, Indonesia. The lanceoloate (i.e. elongated and rounded) scales along the tail identify this lizard as a male. The exposed lappets are a strong yellow colour, but the yellow marking at the tip of the gular flag is barely apparent in this example. Photo thanks to Noel Thomas.

Fig 2 : Another male example from Kledang Saiong, near Ipoh, Perak, Peninsular Malaysia, warming itself in direct sunlight with patagium and gular flag extended.

References : H11

Grismer, L. L., & Quah, E. S. (2019). An updated and annotated checklist of the lizards of Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, and their adjacent archipelagos. Zootaxa, 4545(2), 230-248

McGuire, Jimmy A., Darko D. Cotoras, Brendan O辰onnell, Shobi ZS Lawalata, Cynthia Y. Wang-Claypool, Alexander Stubbs, Xiaoting Huang et al. (2018)  "Squeezing water from a stone: high-throughput sequencing from a 145-year old holotype resolves (barely) a cryptic species problem in flying lizards." PeerJ 6 (2018): e4470



Fig 1
ゥ  Noel Thomas

Fig 2