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Target Species: Batan flying lizard, Draco jarecki
Location: Happy Valley, Luzon, and Batan and Itbayat Islands, Batanes Islands, Philippines
Director: Jon Stephens


Location: The Philippines are located between Borneo and Taiwan.

Mission Statement:

The flying lizards of South East Asia are small lizards with expandable lateral scaly wings known as ‘patagia’ which enable them to glide from tree to tree to escape predators. There are nine species of flying lizards in the Philippines and biologist ‘Skip’ Lazell is familiar with all of them. The northern most Philippine species of flying lizard was discovered and described by Skip from Batan in the Batanes Islands, a group of islands also known as the Typhoon Islands because of the high winds which hit them first. Mark and Skip investigate Skip’s theory that the Batan flying lizards are evolving away from flight because it is hazardous for them to glide in the strong winds which could rip their patagia, smash them into trees or take them out to sea. Skip and Mark also plan to visit remote island of Itbayat, even further to the north, to see if any more flightless flying lizards live there, but reaching Itbayat is a challenge in itself.

Mark is also keen to seek out the endemic McGregor’s pitviper found only in Batan’s rainforests. This small, brightly coloured snake is poorly known and only found on this single small island, one of several such Batan endemics.


This male Batan flying lizard (Draco jarecki) may be evolving away from flight.

Species recorded during 'Flying Dragon'

Species Common Name
BUFONIDAE TRUE TOADS
Bufo marinus Cane toad
RANIDAE TRUE FROGS
Limnonectes macrocephala Philippine big-headed frog
RHACOPHORIDAE FOAM-NEST TREEFROGS
Polypedetes leucomystax Common Asian treefrog
GEKKONIDAE GECKOES
Cosymbotus platyurus Flat-tailed house gecko
Gehyra mutilata Mutilated dtella
Gekko gecko Tokay gecko
Hemidactylus frenatus Common house gecko
Hemiphyllodactylus typus typus Indo-Pacific tree gecko
Lepidodactylus balioburius Batan gecko
SCINCIDAE SKINKS
Lamprolepis smaragdina Emerald treeskink
Mabuya multifasciata Many-striped shiny mabouya
Mabuya sp. A (Batan) (unidentified mabouya)
Mabuya sp. B (Batan) (unidentified mabouya)
Sphenomorphus jagori Jagor's skink
Sphenomorphus sp. (Luzon) (unidentified wedge skink)
Tropidophorus grayi Gray's water skink
AGAMIDAE DRAGONS
Draco jarecki Batan flying lizard
Draco spilopterus Spotted winged flying lizard
VARANIDAE MONITOR LIZARDS
Varanus salvator marmoratus Philippine water monitor
PYTHONIDAE PYTHONS
Python reticulatus Reticulated python
COLUBRIDAE TYPICAL SNAKES
Boiga cynadon Dog-toothed catsnake
Lycodon alcalai Batan wolfsnake
Psammodynastes pulverulentus Mock viper
VIPERIDAE VIPERS & PITVIPERS
Trimeresurus mcgregori McGregor's pitviper


Location: "Hidden valley" is a resort site located to the southeast of Manila.


Location: The Batanes Islands of Batan and Itbayat are the northernmost islands of the Philippines, located in the route of
frequent typhoons.


Mark O’Shea and Skip Lazell examine flying lizards on Luzon Island.

 


The broad patagia of the Spot-winged flying lizard (Draco spilopterus) allow it to glide gracefully.

 

 


Landing at Itbayat in the northern Typhoon Islands (Batanes) is a challenge.

 

 


The main form of transport on Itbayat is by caribou (water buffalo).


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