A new species of Dragon discovered in Indonesia.
Hoax or Fact:
Picture messages circulating online claim to show a new dragon species discovered in Indonesia. The species looks like a lizard but has colorful flaps of wings attached to its sides. No, it is not a dragon or any new species.
This interesting picture of what appears like a peculiar lizard has been circulating since at least 2009. The picture sometimes accompanies the below text:
Agni (Sanskrit name meaning “fire”) is the newest hatchling of a recently discovered species in Indonesia. He was given the name by members of the initial research team because of his red wing coloring. While local Zoologists (scientists who study and classify animals) are hesitant to use the name “Dragon”, there is an unmistakable resemblance between this new species and the mythical dragons of ancient lore.
From the resemblance to the mythical dragons, the present claims came up. However, the species shown in the picture is not a new one; it is a type of Lizard belonging to the genus Draco. The picture appears to be taken in August 2009 by a Reddit user Biophilia curiosus, who shared it on Reddit.com in Feb. 2010. The description of the photo says:
While participating in a herpetology study we stumbled across this female laying eggs in a nest. She was found in the Lambusango Forest reserve and was immediately released after this photograph was taken.
The picture is listed in Wikipedia as the Common Gliding Lizard (Draco sumatranus), which was once considered a subspecies of Draco volans (i.e. D. volans sumatranus), but was recently elevated to species status. Few other sources say the lizard is actually Draco volans.
The special kind of Draco lizard has elongated ribs and skin flaps on the sides of its body, which when opened, allow it to glide between tree trunks. The body color of this gliding lizard is generally dark grey/brown and has stripes and patterns that help it camouflage within the tree trunks. They are relatively common in forests and in urban parks and gardens. They can be seen in Southeast Asian countries like Singapore, Malaysia, Sumatra, Borneo and Palawan. The Animal Planet video shown briefly describes about this Draco Lizard.
To conclude, the picture shown in the message is not a dragon or any new species, it belongs to the genus of gliding lizards Draco, which are also known as flying dragons.