Biologists led by Dr Kevin de Queiroz from the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC, have described two new species of woodlizards in the genus Enyalioides from a montane rainforest in northeastern Peru.
Woodlizards are represented by ten currently recognized extant species that live on both sides of the Andes from Panama to Bolivia.
The two newly discovered species, named Enyalioides azulae and Enyalioides binzayedi, have been uncovered from poorly explored areas of the Peruvian jungles.
The males have beautiful body coloration with a distinctive green pattern before a dark brown and black background. It is assumed that the two species share the same territory, with only a slight difference in altitude ranges, which makes their biological divergence intriguing from an evolutionary point of view.
E. azulae and E. binzayedi were found in Cordillera Azul National Park, the third biggest national park in Peru protecting the largest mountain rainforest in the country.
“Thanks to these discoveries, Peru becomes the country holding the greatest diversity of woodlizards. Cordillera Azul National Park is a genuine treasure for Peru and it must be treated as a precious future source of biodiversity exploration and preservation,” said Dr Pablo Venegas from the Centro de ornitología y Biodiversidad in Lima, Peru, first author of a paper describing the species in the open access journal Zookeys.
E. azulae is known only from a single locality in the mountain rainforest of the Río Huallaga basin in northeastern Peru.
It was named after the Spanish word ‘azul’ (blue) referring to the Cordillera Azul National Park where this species was discovered.
E. binzayedi can be seen in the same river basin and is named after the sponsor of the field survey Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the United Arab Emirates.
Bibliographic information: Venegas PJ et al. 2013. Two sympatric new species of woodlizards (Hoplocercinae, Enyalioides) from Cordillera Azul National Park in northeastern Peru. ZooKeys 277: 69; doi: 10.3897/zookeys.277.3594