Draco mindanensis Stejneger, 1908
Original Published Description:
Lizards of the genus Draco are commonly recognized as Southeast Asian Flying Lizards. This moderate-sized radiation of arboreal lizards is capable of long distance gliding using wing-like patagial membranes supported by elongate thoracic ribs (McGuire and Alcala, 2000). In the Philippines there exist an endemic and species-rich assemblage of species in this genus (McGuire and Alcala, 2000). One of these species is Draco mindanensis, recognized to occur throughout much of the Mindanao faunal region (Mindanao PAIC) in the southern Philippines. This species reaches much larger body sizes than other Philippine species and is often found within secondary- and primary-forest habitats. The ventral surface of this species patagium is red in males and dusky in females (Taylor, 1922; McGuire and Alcala, 2000). In males of this species, the dewlap is large, triangular and narrow, and is vivid tangerine orange in coloration (McGuire and Alcala, 2000). This same dewlap color is present over the ventral surfaces of the throat lappets in males (McGuire and Alcala, 2000). Several species in the Philippines are recognized to have widespread distributions (D. quadrasi, D. spilopterus); however, recent work indicates these species may actually be complexes of multiple, morphological similar species (McGuire and Alcala, 2000; McGuire and Heang, 2001).
Draco mindanensis can be distinguished from all other species of Draco in the Philippines by the following combination of characteristics: (1) large size; (2) posterodorsally oriented nostrils within turret-like nasal scales; (3) enlarged supraciliary tubercle absent; (4) dorsal scales uniform in size and without keeling; (5) scaled over tympana; (6) mode of 5 ribs supporting patagium; (7) lacrimal bone present; (8) large black postrictal ocellus surrounding an enlarged white tubercle absent; (9) dorsal patagial coloration of males vivid red with small, scattered, white or pale red spots; (10) dorsal patagial coloration of females black with conspicuous white spots over outer two-thirds and pale striations present over proximal one-third (Taylor, 1922); (11) ventral patagial coloration of males red, with no black spots or blotches present; (12) ventral patagial coloration of females dusky, with no black spots or blotches present (Taylor, 1922); (13) presence in males of a large, attenuate dewlap, vivid tangerine orange in coloration, with same color present over entire ventral surfaces of throat lappets; (14) dorsal body coloration of males pale brown with slight greenish cast; (15) orbital region of males without melanic pigments (information taken from McGuire and Alcala, 2000).
Draco mindanensis is recognized as a forest-obligate species, and is often found only in mature second growth or primary growth forest. Due to this species' habitat preferences, it is vital that efforts be made to preserve the little remaining primary forest fragments throughout its range.
Maximum recorded SVL up to 105 mm
Ecology and Distribution
Draco mindanensis is known from Mindanao and Samar islands in the Philippines.
Draco mindanensis is recognized to occur in the Mindanao Pleistocene Aggregate Island Complex.
Draco mindanensis appears to be restricted to primary and possibly mature second growth forest (McGuire and Alcala, 2000). This species has not been observed in coconut groves adjacent to forest, and may be absent from second growth forest in parts of its range (McGuire and Alcala, 2000). In South Cotobato, Mindanao Island, the species has been observed only on the largest dipterocarp trees in primary forest, usually at great height (R. M. Brown, personal communication).
Near Mt. Apo on Mindanao, McGuire and Alcala (2000) reported observing this species in sympatry with D. bimaculatus, D. cyanopterus, and D. guentheri.
- Draco mindanensis Stejneger, 1908:677 (synonym)
- Draco fimbriatus mindanensis Hennig, 1936:203 (synonym)
- Draco fimbriatus mindenensis Wermuth, 1967:47 (synonym)
- Draco mindanensis Musters, 1983 (synonym)
- Draco mindanensis Smith, 1993:33 (synonym)
- Draco mindanensis McGuire & Alcala, 2000:108 (synonym)
- Draco mindanensis McGuire & Kiew, 2001 (synonym)