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



Masked Horned Tree Lizard

Species : Acanthosaura crucigera
Size (snout to vent) : up to 14 cm
Size (total length) : up to 35 cm ?

Acanthosaura crucigera (Masked Horned Tree Lizard or Boulenger's Pricklenape) inhabits lowland, hill and montane forest to 1800 metres elevation (Das, 2010). In common with other species of Acanthosaura it is diurnal and mainly (but not exclusively) arboreal.

There is a high degree of variability of colouration in most species of Acanthosaura. Typical Acanthosaura crucigera, however, bear a dark mask around the eyes, with the rest of the head and throat being pale. There is also a dark patch on the nape, and a dark, narrow band at the shoulder.

Well developed elongated ocelli (eye-like markings) are present along the upper flanks. The spines which make up the nuchal and vertebral crests are typically relatively short. The tail bears dark bands.

Three examples from Kaeng Krachan National Park, Thailand are shown here; the park lies within the central part of the range of the species.

Based on a recently published map (Poramad Trivalairat et al, 2020), the range of Acanthosaura crucigera in Indochina is limited to eastern/southern Myanmar and western/southern Thailand. It is also reported from parts of northeast India.

South of Indochina its range extends into parts of northern Peninsular Malaysia, including the island of Langkawi. Some of these southernmost forms are somewhat darker, and are referred to Acanthosaura cf. crucigera (meaning that they appear similar to Acanthosaura crucigera) (Grismer & Quah, 2019).

Figs 1 to 3 : Three examples from Kaeng Krachan National Park, Phetchaburi Province, Thailand.

All photos thanks to Charles Currin

References : H11, H12

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.

Poramad Trivalairat, Kirati Kunya, Lawan Chanhome, Montri Sumontha, Taksa Vasaruchapong, Nirut Chomngam, Krittiya Chiangkul.  (2020). Acanthosaura aurantiacrista (Squamata: Agamidae), a new long horn lizard from northern Thailand. Biodiversity Data Journal, 8.

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Fig 1
ゥ  Charles Currin
Fig 2
ゥ  Charles Currin
Fig 3
ゥ  Charles Currin