Return to Gallery of Available Paintings
acrylic on illustration board 20" x 30"
The twenty or so lizard species known appropriately as flying lizards (Draco spp.) are distributed throughout Southeast Asia and the Philippines. Their five or six pairs of false ribs can be spread to stretch patagia, or flying membranes, which enable them to glide for many yards with amazing dexterity. I've seen them launch themselves from a tree, turn around, then return to the same trunk. These patagia are often brightly colored, and in addition to their primary function, are frequently employed as signals to communicate with conspecifics. Towards the end of the dry season, the males establish territories, actively guard them, and begin displaying for females by extending their long dewlap and one or both patagia. The Crowned Flying Lizard (D. cornutus) ranges in wooded areas on Borneo, Sumatra, western Java and the Bunguran and Sulu Archipelagos, where it forages among the treetops for the ants and termites that make up the majority of its diet. In southern Sarawak, I found this species in hilly, secondary forest. In the background of this painting, a large male Orang-utan (Pongo pygmaeus) calls from his sleeping nest. Other incidental creatures include a bark orb-web spider (Caerostris sp.), ants (Bothriomyrmex sp.), a lanternbug (Fulgora sp.), a Malaysian Bushbrown (Mycalesis fusca) and a Black and Yellow Broadbill (Eurylaimus ochromalus).