Dragons from the Old World

The Neotropical and Oriental realms both were once a part of Gondwanaland. Interestingly, both of these realms exhibit same ‘type’ of lineages occupying equivalent niches. Boas dominate the Neotropical zone whereas pythons flourish in the Oriental. Similarly, in the Old World (or Oriental or Indo-Malayan realm), there are lizards belonging to family Agamidae which exhibit uncanny parallels to Anolis sp. in their natural history.

CSC_5284One example is from Yelagiri Hills in the Eastern Ghats region of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. This is Psammophilus dorsalisDuring the breeding season, males of this species turn their drab and dull dorsal region to bright yellow or red to impress conspecific females. The brighter the male, the more chance he has to win over females. Males display such behavior for the entire day; at night these lizards hide under rocks.

When equally bright males encounter each other, competition is settled by ‘ducking’ heads and throwing off the opponent from the rock.

About Harsimran Singh

I am Harsimran Singh from India. I am interested in systematics, ecology and evolution. My keen interest is in how species diverge especially in mountain landscape. Model organisms that I consider for my study are amphibians and reptiles. I am applying morphometric, acoustic and behavioral traits. For my PhD I am working on taxonomy of Pyraustinae and Spilomelinae moths (Crambidae) from Western Ghats and North East India. Photography, filming, music, travelling and reading is what drives my life.

2 thoughts on “Dragons from the Old World

    1. Hi Skip ! Yes there are many ‘convergent counterparts’ of Anolis in Old World. Main difference between Anolis in Central and South America (including insular forms) and Oriental Draconiae sp is the generic allocation !

      Anolis is one genus comprising around 400 species where as entire Himalayan, Western Ghats, Sri Lankan, Indo-Burmese, Sundaland till nothern tropical Australia there are about 200 species of Draconines. All these 200 species split into little more than 20 genera. Nevertheless, ‘200’ is an accepted understatement because taxonomic status of wide spread populations has not been addressed so far.


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