Herp of the Day

September 3, 2020: Draco volans

Draco volans is a small, arboreal lizard native to the forests of Southeast Asia.  This lizard’s most defining feature is its ability to spread its ‘wings’ and glide between trees.  These wings are, in fact, a pair of extended skin-line membranes supported by the animal’s ribs, known as the patagia.  In many ways, the patagia common to the Draco genus is quite similar to those found in sugar gliders and flying squirrels, showcasing an example of convergent evolution.

This flying dragon is a strict insectivore specializing in small arboreal ants.  When hunting, they will run along branches and glide between small trees to move between ant colonies.  These lizards spend their entire life in the trees, with females coming to the ground almost exclusively to lay their eggs in shallow nests dug in the soil.

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