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Calotes Angleheads Dragon Lizards and Relatives: Agamidae

Flying Lizard (draco Volans):species Accounts

Physical characteristics: The flying lizard is a slender, long-legged, small lizard. It measures 8 inches (20.3 centimeters) from head to tail tip. It has winglike body parts formed from thin skin stretched over extra-long ribs. When the lizard leaps from a tree, these body parts are stretched out at right angles to the body, forming a pair of gliding wings. At rest, these skin "sails" are folded along the body, keeping the lizard's appearance slim. The lizard's body color is gray or brown, but the wings are brightly colored. Male and female wing colors differ.

Geographic range: The flying lizard lives in Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines.

These long-tailed, lightly built lizards glide gracefully, sometimes as far as 55 yards (50.3 meters). (©Stephen Dalton/Photo Researchers, Inc. Reproduced by permission.)

Biomes: Coniferous forest, deciduous forest, rainforest

Habitat: Flying lizards live in open forests and rainforests.

Diet: Flying lizards eat ants and other insects.

Behavior and reproduction: These small lizards live in trees. On land they are clumsy and easy victims for predators. When scared, they run up a tree. When threatened, they leap off the tree. With their "wings" stretched out, these long-tailed, lightly built agamid lizards glide gracefully. The wings act like parachutes. When gliding, these delicate, slender lizards use their tails to steer and sometimes can travel as far as 55 yards (50.3 meters). They gently land on another tree, head up. When they land, they run up the tree, getting ready for their next flight.

During mating season, male flying lizards defend their territories. They court females by displaying their bright yellow throat flap. Females lay one to four eggs.

Flying lizards and people: Flying lizards do not interact with people.

Conservation status: Flying lizards are not threatened. ∎



Barrett, Norman S. Dragons and Lizards. Danbury, CT: Franklin Watts, 1991.

Capula, Massimo. Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of the World. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1989.

Mattison, Chris. Lizards of the World. New York: Facts on File, 1989.

Miller, Jake. The Bearded Dragon New York: PowerKids Press, 2003.

Robinson, Fay, and Jean Day Zallinger. Amazing Lizards New York: Scholastic, 1999.

Uchiyama, Ryu. Reptiles and Amphibians. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1999.

Zoffer, David. Agamid Lizards: Keeping and Breeding Them in Captivity. Neptune City, NJ: T. F. H. Publications, 1996.


"Australian Lizards: True Blue, Mate." National Geographic (January 1998): Earth Almanac.

"Frilled Lizards." Ranger Rick (September 1995): 44–45.

"Living Jewels." National Geographic WORLD Magazine (June 1979): 30–31.

"Spiny Lizards." Ranger Rick (May 1997): 44.

"Thorny Devil." Ranger Rick (February 1996): 24–25.

"Tricks to Escape Predators." Ranger Rick (September 1995): 40–48.

Web sites:

"Agamids of the Cederberg." Cape Nature Conservation. http://www.capenature.org.za/cederbergproject/html/agamids.html (accessed on August 12, 2004).

"Chlamydosaurus kingii (Frillneck Lizard)." Animal Diversity Web. http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Chlamydosaurus_kingii.html (accessed on August 12, 2004).

"Common Flying Dragon." www.wildherps.com. http:/www.wildherps.com/species/D.volans.html (accessed on August 14, 2004).

"Rainbow Lizard." America Zoo. http://www.americazoo.com/goto/index/reptiles/102.htm (accessed on August 12, 2004).

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceDinosaurs, Snakes, and Other ReptilesCalotes Angleheads Dragon Lizards and Relatives: Agamidae - Physical Description, Behavior And Reproduction, Spiny Agama (agama Hispida): Species Accounts, Frilled Lizard (chlamydosaurus Kingii):species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, AGAMIDS