A giant brightly colored species of monitor lizard has been discovered in the forests of the Northern Philippines. Noticed for the first time here, the 6-foot 6-inch reptile is said to be a secretive fruit-eating species that never moves out of the forest. The lizard, named Varanus bitatawa, is from the same family as the world’s most massive lizards, the Komodo dragons. One of only three fruit-eating monitor species in the world, this attractive reptile that never leaves forest was forced to do so due to the increase in deforestation of its forest home in Luzon Island.
The researchers have performed genetic tests that suggest that this highly secretive species is different species from a closely related monitor lizard. They believe that finding new species of animals that are large and brightly colored is a rare incident. The scientists have shown concern about the future of the species. Restricted to the forests of the central and northern Sierra Madre range, where biologists have conducted relatively few surveys of reptiles and amphibians, the new species has elevated the hope of the researchers.