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Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless otherwise credited.
Copyright ゥ Ecology Asia 2020

 
 
     
   
   

 

   
   
 
Malayan Butterfly Lizard
   
   

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,  Kedah and Penang. It has not been recorded from the islands of Langkawi or Pulau Pinang.


Figs 1 to 3 : Two examples of Malayan Butterfly Lizard from Penang state, northern Peninsular Malaysia, in an area of largely bare, sandy soil.

All photos thanks to Graeme Guy.
 

References : H11

 

Fig 1
  
ゥ  Graeme Guy
Fig 2
  
ゥ  Graeme Guy
Fig 3
  
ゥ  Graeme Guy