FLYING DRAGONS FEEDING ON ANTS

posted in: Fauna, Videography | 1

“On the morning of 30th April 2014, a male Flying Dragon (Draco sumatranus) was scrambling around a tree in Sarawak, Borneo (above).

“As the temperature climbed higher with the rising sun, so did its metabolic rate. Soon, it began to flash its yellow gular flap, prominently advertising its presence to any conspecifics in the neighbourhood (above).

“All that fancy flashing was followed by feeding, as the lizard parked itself in front of an ant trail to partake of its breakfast (above).

“A video clip of the male lizard snapping up ants may be previewed below.

“On the same afternoon, a female Flying Dragon of the same species arrived onto the scene, looking positively hungry (below). After locating the busy ant trail, it began to peck away at the ants selectively, one at a time. This reminded me of how we sometimes scrutinise a conveyor belt of sushi dishes at a Japanese restaurant chain and pick out the particular plates we like.

“A video clip of the female lizard feeding on ants may be previewed below.

“Most species of Flying Dragons (genus Draco) are known to have a diet that consists predominantly of ants (Das, 2010; Mori & Hikida, 1993; Ord & Klomp, 2014). However, it is not very often that we get a chance to watch them dining al fresco.”

Dr. Leong Tzi Ming
Singapore
8th May 2014

References:
1.
Das, I., 2010. A Field Guide to the Reptiles of South-East Asia. New Holland Publishers (UK) Ltd., 376 pp.
2. Mori, A. & T. Hikida, 1993. Natural history observations of the flying lizard, Draco volans sumatranus (Agamidae, Squamata) from Sarawak, Malaysia. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology, 41(1): 83–94.
3. Ord, T. J. & D. A. Klomp, 2014. Habitat partitioning and morphological differentiation: the Southeast Asian Draco lizards and Caribbean Anolis lizards compared. Oecologia, DOI 10.1007/s00442-014-2921-y

One Response

  1. Lee Chiu San

    Beautiful photos and videos. Make me nostalgic. In the 1950s and 1960s I used to watch our local Flying Dragons (Draco volans) doing the same thing on coconut trees. Coconut plantations were ideal habitats for those lizards. They liked the high take-off points and sufficient open spaces in between the trees that allowed for long glides. Very few Draco volans left, (I have seen a few in Seletar)and no more coconut plantations. However, the related Draco melanopogon can still be found in the forest reserve at Upper Pierce. Melanopogon is more slender but slightly larger than volans, with a black gular flap.

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