The Brown Pricklenape (Acanthosaura lepidogaster) is a colourful lizard from Southeast Asia, also known as the Scale-bellied Tree Lizard or Rough-bellied Mountain Dragon.
HABITAT AND DISTRIBUTION
The Brown Pricklenape can be found in forests in Southeast Asia, including Cambodia, China, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. It may also be found in low lying vegetation and near waterways.
The male Brown Pricklenape is very colourful in his breeding colours. The head is usually green with a dark brown hood and nape (back of the neck). The nape also has a small crest of spines, including a horn above each eye. The body is also green, becoming browner towards the middle and tail, and has dark brown barring/striping on the back and sides. The throat and chin is usually a white or cream colour but can be orange in some individuals. The thin legs have very long toes, especially on the hind legs and the tail is very long and narrow. In his non-breeding colours, the male becomes a uniform brown colour with dark bands/stripes, and his hood is reduced to just the crown and nape.
The female is a uniform medium brown colour, she does not exhibit the bands or stripes that the male does. The juveniles may resemble the female or a duller version of the male. The photo above is a juvenile male. Overall the Brown Pricklenape can reach a size of 19 - 27cm (7.5 - 11 inches) including the tail.
DIET, BEHAVIOUR AND REPRODUCTION
Brown Pricklenapes are insectivorous, although they are known to eat fish. Being such a slender lizard, they are known to be very acrobatic when catching their prey. The female may lay 2 - 3 eggs, and can have up to 4 clutches in a single year. In captivity the Brown Pricklenape needs a supply of moving water. These lizards are diurnal (mostly active throughout the day), and arboreal (tree-dwelling) although they do come down to the forest floor.
OTHER NOTABLE FACTS
Unfortunately we do not have any adult photos yet, but the breeding male is certainly an incredible reptile to see. With its contrasting orange and dark brown head, and vivid green and brown body it is worth a Google!
The Brown Pricklenape is listed by the IUCN as Least Concern, although it may face the threat of habitat loss due to deforestation.