Scientists have discovered a new species of lizard at the Manu National Park in southeastern Peru, the National Service of Protected Areas by the State (Sernanp) said on Tuesday.
The new species, named Potamites erythrocularis, was found in the upper part of the park in Peru’s southeast Cusco region, in the forests of the Kosñipata Valley, at an elevation of between 1,000 and 2,100 meters.
According to Sernarp, Potamites erythrocularis differs from others of its genus by having messy keeled scales on the back, undivided frontonasal scales, a red ring around the eye in males and absence of femoral pores in females.
During the wet season (from November to April), the lizard actively hunts invertebrates throughout the day and night but is less active at nighttime during the dry months of May to October.
The discovery was made during a series of scientific expeditions conducted in the park since 2009 by scientists Alessandro Catenazzi and German Chavez and a team of biologists and rangers of the Manu National Park.
The Manu National Park is the largest national park in Peru, covering an area of over 15,000km. Considered as one of the biggest and richest natural reserves in the world, Manu was declared a World Natural Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987.