Flying Dragons in Avatar? Real-Life Version Photographed in Indonesia
Did Mother Earth provide yet more inspiration for Cameron’s Avatar?
A Reddit user recently posted photos of a “Common Gliding Lizard” that looks very similar to the flying dragons in Avatar. They are relatively common in forests and in urban settings such as parks and gardens. They are found in Southeast Asia: Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, and Palawan (the Philippines).
Yeap, Draco sumatranus, the common gliding lizard, is a species of agamid lizard endemic to Southeast Asia. It has elongated ribs and skin flaps on the sides of its body. When opened, these skin flaps allow it to glide between tree trunks. It is primarily a tree dweller, except that the females come down to the forest floor to lay eggs.
The body length is of about 9 cm (3.5 in), with a slightly longer tail. The body is of a dark grey/brown colouration with stripes and patterns to help it camouflage against the tree trunks. The males have a yellow triangular flap of skin under the chin, the gular fold, which is used to communicate with other lizards, mostly for mating. Females have a much smaller and blue flap.
The crazy part is that those lines running through the wings like veins are actually its ribs! Evolution did a number on these guys. They can expand and contract their chests at will to glide great distances. We were only able to catch females as they were laying their eggs. All we could do is watch as the males soared overhead.
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