Posts about how other lizards have outdone anoles in one way or another are a common theme here on Anole Annals (e.g., 1, 2, 3, 4). Keeping this trend going, I wanted to share a photograph of a remarkable species of lizard found in northeastern Thailand and Laos. This photograph of Mantheyus phuwuanensis is by S. Manthey and appears in Ulrich Manthey’s book Agamid Lizards of Southern Asia: Draconinae 2 Leiolepidinae. Very little is known about this species. The photo caption in the book notes that this is a male display. The Reptile Database has a few references, but most are not readily accessible. The one paper I could get my hands on is Ananjeva and Stuart’s (2001) paper from the Russian Journal of Herpetology that moves this species from Ptyctolaemus to its own monotypic genus based on the presence of femoral pores and other traits. Ananjeva and Stuart (2001) don’t comment on the belly dewlap, but do note that the species lives along rock streams and that it spreads its ribs and becomes dorsoventrally flattened when handled, a “behavior that is almost certainly an adaptation for fitting into rock crevices.”
Ananjeva, N. B. and B. L. Stuart. 2001. The agamid lizard Ptyctolaemus phuwuanensis Manthey and Nabhitabhata, 1991 from Thailand and Laos represents a new genus. Russian Journal of Herpetology 8:165-170.