Here be dragons: Analysis reveals new species in ‘Smaug’ lizard group

ScienceDaily | Mar 25, 2020 at 6:01 PM
  • Now, herpetologists Michael Bates, a curator at South Africa’s National Museum in Bloemfontein, and Edward Stanley of the Florida Museum of Natural History have discovered a ninth species of dragon lizard in the genus Smaug, previously mistaken for a similar-looking species, S. barbertonensis.
  • The new species, a heavily plated dark brown lizard with pale yellow bands, has been named Smaug swazicus, or the Swazi dragon lizard, in honor of the country of Eswatini, where most of the species’ range is located.
  • Girdled lizards are the only family exclusive to mainland Africa and, because of their crevice-dwelling lifestyle, are often restricted to specific habitats.