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







Sumatran Gliding Lizard

Fig 1

Fig 2

Fig 3

Fig 4

Fig 5

Family : Agamidae
Species : Draco sumatranus
Size (snout to vent) : 9 cm
Size (total length) : 22 cm

The Sumatran Gliding Lizard Draco sumatranus is generally encountered in disturbed or man-made habitats such as parks and gardens or wayside trees, where abundant sunlight is the norm. It is rarely found in the shade of primary or mature secondary forests, preferring to keep to the forest edge.

Its dorsal surface is symmetrically mottled with light brown and dark brown, and the patagium is black with brown mottling.

The triangular gular flag of the male is mainly bright yellow, but at the base is pale yellow to white and mottled with dark flecks. The forehead and crown of the male is often turquoise to bluish. The female possesses a small, mottled blue gular flag.

The species has been observed to feed mainly on small ants. Females may descend to the forest floor to lay up to 4 eggs in loose soil (see Fig. 6).

It was once considered a subspecies of Draco volans (i.e. D. volans sumatranus) but was recently elevated to species status.
The Sumatran Gliding Lizard ranges from southern Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore to Sumatra and Borneo (including the adjacent Philippine island of Palawan).

Figs 1 to 3 : Three views of an adult male Sumatran Gliding Lizard seen simultaneously displaying its bright yellow gular flag and patagium while feeding on tiny ants, Singapore.

Fig 4 : Female with small, mottled, bluish gular flag, at Tioman Island, Peninsular Malaysia.

Fig 5 : Male with blue head and relaxed gular flag. Seen at Gunung Arong, Johor, Peninsular Malaysia.

Fig 6 : This female has descended to the forest floor and has cleared a small area of leaf litter, in preparation for laying her eggs in a hole excavated in loose soil.  Gravid females may carry up to 4 eggs. Seen at Singapore Botanic Gardens by Dr. Shawn Lum, November 2021. Photo thanks to Law Ingg Thong.

Figs 7 and 8 : Males from Ulu Kinta area, Perak, Peninsular Malaysia.

References : H1, H2



Fig 6

ゥ  Law Ingg Thong

Fig 7

Fig 8