New species of open-throated lizard discovered – the New Indian Express
BHUBANEWAR: A new species of agamid lizard in the genus Sitana, commonly known as the fan-throated lizard, has been discovered in the state by a team of researchers. Researchers from the Natural History Museum in London, the Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin, Fakir Mohan University, the Wildlife Institute of India and the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) found the lizard in Sambalpur.
The species was named Sitana sushili in honor of Professor Sushil Kumar Dutta, a renowned herpetologist of the Indian subcontinent, for his immense contribution to the field over the past five decades. “The new species of Sitana found in the Deccan Peninsula is very common and until very recently it was considered a complex of unique species. But the DNA-based genetic study by Dr V Deepak helped us delineate the species complex, ”said ZSI scientist Dr Pratyush Mohapatra.
The Sitana agamid lizard genus is represented by 13 recognized species in the country. It is commonly referred to as a fan throated lizard due to the fan shaped skin under the neck and it is endemic to the Indian subcontinent.
“The new species differs from others in a less vibrant dewlap (a loose fold of skin hanging from an animal’s neck or throat) that only develops during the breeding season. Odisha is home to another species known as Sitana ponticeriana, which can be found in coastal areas of the state, ”said Dr Niladri B Kar of Fakir Mohan University.