As if there weren’t enough lizards in the world...
New horned lizard Phrynosoma sherbrookei discovered in Mexico
News of Phrynosoma sherbrookei was published today.
Watch where you walk if on a visit to southern Mexico, they have just discovered a new species of horned lizard there. News of the critter, Phrynosoma sherbrookei was published today in the journal Herpetologica.
A team of herpetologists collected 14 lizards in Guerrero, Mexico in the Sierra Madre del Sur mountains. Horned lizards are not out of the ordinary, with 16 recognised species that stretch from Canada to Guatemala, but only four have been found in the far south of Mexico.
These lizards were a bit different however and the researchers from three Mexican and one US university took DNA samples and did physical comparisons with other species, leading them to argue that this was indeed a previously unknown horned lizard.
Horned lizards are well named given the dangerous-looking spikes on their heads and backs. They have scaly backs and sides and look like they would be up for a fight, but they rely on camouflage to avoid predators.
If things get bad some species puff out their bodies to look more formidable and a few can squirt blood at attackers by rupturing capillaries surrounding their eyes.
Like any cold blooded species they love the sun. And they have adapted to dry conditions by making the most of what rain arrives, using their tail to channel water over their backs and into their mouths.
Horned lizards are not endangered, but the researchers note they have yet to determine the size of population or range of this new species. For this reason until more data is available they argue that P sherbrookei should be considered endangered.