Comprehensive DescriptionRead full entry
Lizards of the genus Draco are commonly recognized as Southeast Asian Flying Lizards. This moderate-sized radiation of arboreal lizards is capable of long distance gliding using wing-like patagial membranes supported by elongate thoracic ribs (McGuire and Alcala, 2000). In the Philippines there exist an endemic and species-rich assemblage of species in this genus (McGuire and Alcala, 2000). One of these species is Draco spilopterus, recognized to occur throughout much of the central and northern Philippine islands. The distribution of this species spans multiple recognized faunal regions and deep-ocean islands, including the Visayan (Central) PAIC, Luzon PAIC, Romblon Island Group, and Babuyan Island Group. Suprisingly, the populations on Romblon and Sibuyan islands (two of the three major islands of the Romblon Island Group) belong to the widespread species complex D. quadrasi. This species, like D. quadrasi, is quite common throughout its range, and thrives in disturbed habitats dominated by coconut trees. The ability of this species to flourish in coconut plantations and heavily disturbed habitat may have contributed to its wider distribution spanning recognized faunal demarcations. The ventral surface of this species patagium is yellow with melanic patches near the margins in males and females (McGuire and Alcala, 2000). In males of this species, the dewlap is triangular, and is lemon yellow or white in coloration (McGuire and Alcala, 2000). Draco spilopterus is one of two species in the Philippines recognized to have a widespread distribution (the other species being D. quadrasi); however, recent work indicates these species may actually be complexes of multiple, morphological similar species (McGuire and Alcala, 2000; McGuire and Heang, 2001).