The flying dragon is a medium-sized lizard (body length 20–40 cm, with at least 12 cm falling on a thin tail), which lives on trees and feeds on tree insects. Masking coloring perfectly hides a lizard, lurking on a tree trunk - try to notice! As the name implies, this lizard can ... fly. On the body of the dragon there are long side skin folds that support the so-called false ribs. As soon as the dragon straightens these folds, it is as if wings grow on its sides. With their help, the lizard can plan from tree to tree and even fly distances of about 20 m! In addition, the males on the throat is a special skin fold, with which they maintain balance when flying.
Flying dragons prefer to settle high in the crowns of trees and try not to go down to the ground. Flying dragons are extremely harmless creatures. Their diet consists of all kinds of insects. If a butterfly or a bug flies by near a hidden dragon, he immediately spreads his “wings” and promptly rushes at the victim. However, mostly flying dragons feed on ants. Flying dragons drink very rarely. Basically, they get the liquid from food.
The dragon uses its bright “wings” not only for flying, but also to frighten enemies.
The eggs of the female flying dragon are laid in the cracks that form in the bark of the trees. Small lizards who have just hatched from an egg already know how to fly.
There are about 30 species of flying dragons.
Spread of flying lizard.
The flying lizard is found in tropical rain forests in southern India and southeast Asia. This species is distributed in the Philippine Islands, including Borneo.
Common flying dragon, flying lizard (Draco volans)
External signs of a flying lizard.
The flying lizard has large “wings” - leathery outgrowths on the sides of the body. These formations are supported by elongated ribs. They also have a flap, called a dimple, which is located under the head. The body of a flying lizard is very flat and elongated. The male is about 19.5 cm long, and the female is 21.2 cm. The tail is about 11.4 cm long in the male and 13.2 cm in the female.
Common flying dragon, flying lizard - the representative of agamov
From other Dracos stands out rectangular brown spots located on the upper part of the wing membranes, and black spots below. Males have a bright yellow bud. The wings are bluish on the ventral side and brown on the dorsal side. The female has a little smaller dressing and a bluish-gray tint. In addition, the wings are yellow on the ventral side.
Reproduction flying lizards.
The reproduction period of flying lizards is supposedly in December - January. Individuals male and sometimes females demonstrate mating behavior. They spread their wings and tremble with their whole body when they collide with each other. The male also fully spreads its wings and in such a state passes around the female three times, inviting to mate. The female builds a nest for eggs, forming a small hole in her head. In laying five eggs, she falls asleep their ground, tamping the ground with claps of the head.
For almost 24 hours, the female actively guards the eggs. Then she leaves the clutch. The development lasts about 32 days. Small flying lizards can fly at once.
The behavior of a flying lizard.
Flying lizards hunt during the day. They are active in the morning and in the afternoon. At night, flying lizards rest. Such a life cycle avoids the daytime period with the greatest light intensity. Flying lizards do not fly in the full sense of the word.
They climb trees and jump. While jumping, the lizards spread their wings and plan to land, covering a distance of about 8 meters.
Before flying, the lizards turn their heads down toward the ground, gliding through the air helps the lizards to move. Lizards do not fly in the rainy and windy periods.
To avoid danger, lizards spread their wings and plan down. Adult individuals are extremely mobile, they are very difficult to catch. When a male meets with other species of lizards, it displays several behavioral responses. They partially open the wings, vibrate with the body, 4) fully open the wings. Thus, the males are trying to scare the enemy, showing increased body shape. And the female is attracted by beautiful, flowing wings. Males are territorial individuals and actively guard their site from invasion, where two or three trees usually grow, and live from one to three females. Female lizards are obvious contenders for marriage. Males protect their territory from other males who do not have their own territory and compete for females.
Why do lizards fly?
Flying lizards have adapted to the habitat of the trees. The color of the skin of flying dragons is monotonous green, gray-green, gray-brown in color merges with the color of the bark and leaves.
Skeleton draco volans
This allows them to remain invisible if the lizards are sitting on the branches. A bright “wings” provide an opportunity to freely float in the air, crossing the space at a distance of up to sixty meters. Spread "wings" are painted in green, yellow, purple hues, decorated with spots, specks and stripes. The lizard does not fly like a bird, but rather plans like a glider or a parachute. For the flight, these lizards have six enlarged lateral edges, the so-called false edges, which, straightening out, push the leathery "wing". In addition, males have a noticeable skin fold of bright orange color in the throat area. In any case, they try to demonstrate this distinctive feature to the enemy, pushing it forward.
Flying dragons practically do not drink, the lack of liquid is compensated from food. They easily determine the approach of prey by ear. To disguise, flying lizards fold their wings when they sit in the trees.
The color of the integument merges with the background of the medium. Flying reptiles are planned very quickly, not only downwards, but also upwards and horizontally. At the same time, they change the direction of movement, avoiding obstacles on the way.
A distinctive feature of a dragon in the form of a lizard is that it has corrugated folds on both sides of the body, which flatten out during flight and form wings. The difference between males and females is that the former have a special crease on the throat, which serves as another wing, only to stabilize the position of the body during the flight, as well as to attract females and scare off opponents.
Another distinctive element is the brown-gray color of individuals with a metallic sheen, which allows the lizards to be completely invisible on the tree. Also, these creatures have on both sides of the side membranes, which alternate one after another and have a rather bright color. The upper side of the dragon mainly shimmers in a variety of colors, which includes red and yellow shades, which in turn are complemented by various patches, stripes and specks. As regards the lower side, there are mainly yellow and blue colors. In addition, the abdomen, tail and legs of the animal also differ in bright hues.
Note! Dragon lizard is a fairly common type of reptile. That is why the animal is not listed in the list of endangered species.
When you first hear about such a unique creature as a flying dragon lizard, many wonder where this animal lives. Most often this animal can be found in the following places:
- in India,
- in Malaysia,
- on the islands of the Malay Archipelago,
- on the island of Borneo,
- in most of Southeast Asia.
Lizards practically don't go down to the ground
The habitats of these creatures are mainly tropical forests, which grow mainly tall trees. It is on their crowns that animals prefer to settle down. Lizards practically do not descend to the ground, with the exception of random falls and the period of egg laying.
For most of the time, flying dragons prefer to be stationary, with the exception of the moments when the lizard tries to catch the prey, while eating, as well as laying eggs and reproducing eggs.
When the lizard sees its prey, they jump on it and spread their wings in flight in order to land on the nearby trees. Plan these animals can over a distance of twenty meters.
To lay eggs, the female has to climb down from the tree and dig small holes in the ground. Animals do this with their pointed nose. After the female digs a hole, she lays up to four eggs in it and buries them with dirt. As soon as the eggs are buried, the female remains to protect them, and does so for one day and only then returns to the top.
Flying lizards belong to insectivorous reptiles that feed on termites and ants.
In order to obtain its own food, the lizard sits on or near a tree and awaits the appearance of insects. As soon as the insect appears in close proximity to the reptile, it deftly eats it, without even displacing the body of the animal.