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Draco Melanopogon - To All MF in TN

Draco Melanopogon - To All MF in TN
Photo Information
Copyright: Foozi Saad (foozi) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2791 W: 0 N: 6696] (25839)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2009-02-05
Categories: Reptiles
Camera: Canon SX10 IS
Exposure: f/5.7, 1/13 seconds
Details: (Fill) Flash: Yes
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): RARE or SIGNIFICANT contributions to TN 1, Loot's Favourites 1, Reptiles - Lizards, Chuckwallas, Agamas & Tegus 4, Bayram's Favorites-2 [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2009-02-10 2:33
Viewed: 4928
Favorites: 2 [view]
Points: 50
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Black-bearded Gliding Lizard or Draco melanopogon

My personal discover that is so special that I dedicat to all my friends ( SO MANY)in Trek Nature, everyone who sent their critiques to me, how I appreciate you all.

This shot is taken at Sungai Sedim Recreational Forest. I was there for a very short visit of one day.
This is also my first time seeing this special lizard. Upon seeing it that day, i was wondering what type of lizard it is.
When I saw it, this lizard really moved very very fast on the vertical trunk of this strong tree. I managed to shoot three times, by the last shot he was already about 5 metres up. Really fast that I dont have time for my Nikon. The only resort is the Canon SX10IS.
Got to be very fast , it was handheld.
I saw there was a sort of balloon on his neck, that is why they called it "bearded". To me this a very special one, though it not a very outstanding.
But the species is very special.
My reserch through the net, indicates to me that it it is a flying lizard. Indeed it is a surprise discovery.
The photo matches the one discovered by L. Lee Grismer


Black-bearded Gliding Lizard or Draco melanopogon leapt from a tree and glided through the green, filtered light of the forest to land on a different tree.
gliding lizards (genus Draco) are Southeast Asia’s most adept flying reptiles and their wings have clearly contributed to their widespread distribution (India to eastern Indonesia) and radiation (over 40 species).

Oddly enough, the Draco wing is just a marvelously rearranged rib cage. The opposing ribs, whose ends normally meet in the center of the body to form a bony basket to protect the heart and lungs, have become disconnected.

The ribs have lengthened and now lie bunched-up alongside the body when not flexed. Muscles in the chest that normally lift and elevate the rib cage to draw air into the lungs, now pull the ribs forward and outward, opening up the wing.

The amount of skin along the sides of the body has increased and now functions as the flying surface of the wing that the lengthened ribs support. Although this wing is not capable of generating power, it does provide lift to extend the length of the glide and provides considerable in-flight maneuverability.
Gliding lizards use their wings for more than just flight

These expansive surfaces also function as prime advertising space for communicating to other gliding lizards, and each of Malaysia’s 11 species have their own, unique wing pattern. When not flying or displaying, gliding lizards are commonly seen sitting head-up on tree trunks, their wings inconspicuously folded against their bodies.

They spend many of their daylight hours running up and down trees feeding on ants, the vast majority of their diet. However, when it’s time for a change of scenery, they simply leap off the tree, extend their ribs to open their wings, and glide to the next tree.
The extent and speed of the glide depends on a couple of factors: the height of the lizard on the tree and the surface area of the wing relative to the weight of the body. As it turns out, not all Draco are created equal.

For example, the smaller, frail, Black-bearded Gliding Lizard, with its pencil-neck and light bulb-shaped head, has a very light body and big wings. Therefore, it attains lift immediately after leaving the tree at relatively slow speeds and it is capable of in-flight maneuverability.

On the other hand, the Orange-bearded Gliding lizard (Draco fimbriatus) is the Arnold Schwarzenegger of Draco with its thick neck and heavy, robust body. It has relatively small wings, meaning its in-flight maneuverability is poor but its glide speed is fast.

In fact, when this species jumps off a tree, it has to dive straight down for a period of time with its wings folded against its body until it picks up enough speed to open them up and glide. And when it does, it looks like a jet rocketing through the forest.

Consequently, Orange-bearded Gliding Lizards are often found high up on some of the tallest trees in the forest where they can safely dive in order to gain the momentum necessary to initiate the glide whereas the Black-bearded Gliding Lizard is usually found on the lower portions of the tree.
As it turns out, this is one of the reasons these two species can live together in the same forest, or on the same tree for that matter. Their flight anatomy helps separate them ecologically and keeps them from directly competing with one another for some of the rainforest’s resources. In certain areas of the forest, up to eight different species of Draco may occur together.
Generally, when there are closely related species with unique, restrictive life histories living in the same area, the potential for competition is high and so the resources must be carefully partitioned. Draco do this in such a way that you rarely see more than two species in close proximity. For example:
Common Gliding Lizards (D. sumatranus) and Spotted Gliding Lizards (D. maculatus) are common in open and disturbed areas
Five-banded Gliding Lizards (D. quinquefasciatus) are usually found in dense forest with relatively small, closely-spaced trees
Giant Gliding Lizards (D. maximus) are somewhat restricted to riparian areas
The smaller Yellow-bearded Gliding Lizards (D. haematopogon) and larger Blanford’s Gilding Lizard (Draco blanfordi) occur at higher elevations than most other species
The Black-bearded Gliding Lizards and the larger Dusky Gliding Lizards (D. formosus) are pretty much habitat generalists in lowland forests.

Adapted from:

L. Lee Grismer is a biologist from La Sierra University in California with extensive herpetological research in tropical Asia. His work has been featured on both National Geographic and Animal Planet.

boreocypriensis, zulfu, bahadir, Heaven, nkasot, xTauruSx, matatur, mohaiminawang, SelenE, Juyona, Argus, septimiu_nemes, siggi, maurydv, JoseMiguel, Noisette, LordPotty, jusninasirun, valy67 has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Hi Foozi, a wonderful capture of this flying (indeed only gliding in sky) beauty. Prof.Grismer who is also my close friend -and a gecko specialist- may be prefer to use in his articles your wonderful capture. Congratulations! TFS this great contribution to us and TN. Also thanks a lot for your kind dedication to us.


  • Great 
  • zulfu Gold Star Critiquer [C: 685 W: 0 N: 2] (43)
  • [2009-02-10 3:19]
  • [2]

Hello Foozi, a superb shot of this endemic species of this skyglader lizard. Thanks a lot!


Hello Foozi, great capture of this flying lizard in a vertical composition. Wonderful discovery too. Congrats on this and TFS.

Hi Foozi!

Many thanks for your friendly dedication. Although the colours appear fairly too saturated on my (calibrated) screen, i like the picture becaus of its composition and the position of the lizard. The picture is held in your typical style, quite dark and as I said with very saturated colours. But beside this it is fine from the technical aspects. Your notes are very detailed and instructive.

Kind regards


N.B. Do you use a hardware calibration for your screen? If not, I really would recommend to calibrate your screen. Maybe this could help. I calibrate mine once a month with the Spyder2PRO.

  • Great 
  • nkasot Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 273 W: 0 N: 44] (217)
  • [2009-02-10 3:36]
  • [2]

Hi Foozi, perfect shot of this unusual lizard with nice pose on the tree trunk and wonderful details.
Greetings from Cyprus.

A special lizard you captured here Foozi. Thank you so much for this great shot and also kind dedication.

Hello Foozi,
wonderful shot of Draco! I like composition, interesting pose, vivid colours and details.

Best regards, Leonid

A rare sight indeed Foozi, seeing a glider while resting on a tree. Its thin, streamlined body and bright colours are quite evident here, against the dark backdrop, and the detailed notes are very informative my friend, TFS this fine image.

  • Great 
  • nagraj Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1618 W: 106 N: 3208] (15166)
  • [2009-02-10 4:11]

hi foozi,
my good neighbor, excellent specimen that you have captured here, good reason to get exited about this beautiful lizard. this one almost looks like a snake and wish it displaying its beard here. very good effort.
most of your images have some saturation problems and its high time for you to sort them out otherwise they loose that natural look. tfs.

Assalamualaikum Foozi,

Nice capture of strange lizard.Its really outstanding against dark BG.Very good job and detail note.TFS.


  • Great 
  • SelenE Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2249 W: 65 N: 4205] (13972)
  • [2009-02-10 4:58]

Hi Foozi,
What an interesting animal... Thanks for this rare contribution.
Best wishes,

  • Great 
  • Juyona Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor [C: 2232 W: 10 N: 2971] (16891)
  • [2009-02-10 5:03]

Hola amigo,
extraño reptil y magnífico camuflaje
color y y buen pov,

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  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2009-02-10 7:48]

Hello Foozi,
A fine capture of this Gliding Lizard taken from an excellent POV on the tree trunk with good sharpness. The lateral membrane that it spreads to help it glide through the air when it jumps off the tree is well seen on the side of the body.
TFS this unusual and interesting image and for the dedication!

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2009-02-10 9:07]

Hello Foozi,
Thanks for this wonderful dedication. Great photo of this flying lizard. Splendid colours and very sharp in an excellent composition.

HI Foozi,
I never saw such a strange animal - wow, the colours are crazy - and it's so long ...
Very well seen and captured, thanks
Sabine - wishnugaruda

beautiful dedication Foozi !
wonderful colours and perfect sharp , fine details and great perspective ,
congratulation for the beautiful discover and thanks for dedication !
well done !

  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2009-02-10 12:19]

Hello Foozi,
Excellent picture of this lizard. Beautiful composition. Very good POV, DOF and sharpness. Very nice colours.
Best regards Siggi

Hi Foozi,
a very beautiful and interesting capture of thi lizard taken froam an excellent POV; the sharpness is superb, i like the nice composition and the contrast of a colourful FG against a dark BG.
TFS and for dedication.

Hi Foozi,
What a wonderful capture of this rare specie!
So good you had time enough to have 3 shots done, and specially this one, in which we can appreciate very good details of the lizard.
Congratulations for the pic, thanks for share it and for the dedication.
Best regards,

Hello Foozi
this is a very special shot of this strange lizard
I like his long and thin body and is funny face
great colors and details
interesting note
TFS Jacqueline

This is definitely a very special shot Foozi.
I have never seen this unusual species on TN before although I've heard of them before.
What an odd shape!
I bet these things run very fast as well as gliding.
An excellent addition to TN!
Cheers & TFS

  • Great 
  • Mana Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1772 W: 36 N: 5597] (18598)
  • [2009-02-10 19:07]

Hi Foozi,
Outstanding shot of this great looking and so rare Black-bearded Gliding Lizard. You are jolly good lucky to have seen it. Very neat and sharp image with lovely saturated colours. Excellent POV and composition.

Salam Foozi,

First of all, thanks for the dedication. Secondly, congratulations on a really excellent image and 3K scoreline tonight. Unique subject probably the first in TN. Sharp details and very well perched on that back. The tree trunk itself is beautiful and TFS this in TN,

Best regards,

  • Great 
  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2009-02-12 8:13]

HI Foozi,
what a cute lizard :-D
Really vibrant colours.
Excellent composition.
Great sharpness.

Well done,

  • Great 
  • valy67 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1727 W: 59 N: 3060] (9219)
  • [2009-02-18 12:30]

Hello Foozi !
What a strange reptile ! He is so long, so thin, he looks funny but he's also very cute ! There are nice details on the picture, and I also like the vertical composition, the vivid colors, the black BG. Very well done !

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