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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Unknown lizard unearthed

Unknown lizard unearthed

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A newly discovered species of skink crawls on a rock in Ratanakkiri province in 2010.

A new lizard species has been found in Ratanakkiri’s Veun Sai-Siem Pang Conservation Area, scientists will announce today.

The discovery marks the third  species uncovered during biological assessments conducted by Fauna and Flora International in partnership with Conservation International in northeast Cambodia over the past two years.

Previous findings include a bat species discovered late last year and a gibbon species found in 2010.

In a report published this month by Zootaxa, the 74-millimetre-long lizard is described as unusual in having extremely short limbs, a tail considerably longer than its body, and iridescent skin.

In sunlight, the refracting quality of its scales creates a rainbow-like effect.

Scientists have named the lizard Lygosoma Veunsaiensis in acknowledgement of the area where it was found.

Fauna & Flora International  worker Neang Thy, the first herpetologist to sight the lizard, said it spent most of its life underground and was difficult to find.

“Some similar species are known from only a few individuals. We were very lucky to find this one,” he said.

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