New Self-Cloning Lizard Found on Lunch Menu

A lizard species new to science was discovered at a Vietnamese restaurant. A number of the entirely female and identical lizards were trapped in a tank inside the restaurant where they are served to customers. The lizard has actually been eaten in Vietnam for many years.

A Vietnamese scientist (Ngo Van Tri) who entered the rural restaurant for a meal was startled to notice the lizards and the fact that they all looked exactly the same. He photographed them and sent the photos to Lee Grismer, a herpetologist in Riverside, California who is a professor at La Sierra University, and Grismer’s son Jesse, who is a PhD student. Grismer studied the photos and identified the lizards as belonging to Leiolepis genus. He also suspected the lizards were a new species, and decided to fly to Vietnam to examine them. By the time he arrived however, the lizards were gone. They had been purchased, cooked and consumed at the restaurant.

Van Tri and Grismer visited some other restaurants and found more of the lizards, and purchased them for specimens. They were also assisted by local children who showed them where to find more in their natural habitat. Sometimes these lizards are called butterfly lizards. They live in dry, open areas with some vegetation and dig deep burrows. They can grow up to twenty inches long, with long tails. Agama is another name used for butterfly lizards, and some people like to keep them as pets.

In a paper titled, “Who’s your mommy? Identifying maternal ancestors of asexual species of Leiolepis Cuvier, 1829 and the description of a new endemic species of asexual Leiolepis Cuvier, 1829 from Southern Vietnam”, the Grismers wrote, “Theoretically, the production of all female progeny has a two-fold reproductive advantage over sex (Maynard–Smith, 1978) yet parthenogenesis occurs in only 0.1% of described vertebrate species (Kearney et al., 2006).”

Parthogenesis is asexual reproduction in females. This type of reproduction occurs in some lizards, scorpions, bees, and a few other species. The term comes from two Greek words which mean virgin birth.

The new species was named Leiolepis ngovantrii in honor of the Vietnamese scientist Ngo Van Tri. Mr. Van Tri is a researcher of the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology.

Image Credit: kin_onn

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67 comments

K s Goh
KS Goh4 years ago

Thanks for the article.

colleen p.
colleen p.4 years ago

Mary L. people do that all the time on youtube. they put their ferrets in the swimming pool and laugh

the toss their hamsters in swimming pools and watch them "have fun"

as for trolling. You can troll on this site "easy'
leave a comment about killing ______ eaters, you are a warrior of justice

say "yes eat the grass carp in America" you are hitler.
just let the invasive fish live. after all we destroy more than any animal. even with our protected lands and parks.

suggest you beat people to death for racing ponies, you are a hero

anyone you don't agree with is a troll. everyone who does things you don't like is scum.

that is how this site works.

the people are eating the lizards out of fun or nessesity? what does it matter.

ok, I understand. Vietnam is filled with savages.
eff'n agent orange wasn't enough/
http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/41088000/jpg/_41088327_xuanminh203.jpg godnamn lizard eaters.

I suggest we sac them again right?

(oops was that trolling or a nobel rally cry? Animal rights people and human rights people will beg to differ)

Mary L.
Mary L.4 years ago

Troll troll troll your boat. Love the gentle way people are expressing themselves in this thread. I was distressed by the jerk who put the lizard in the sink and how they tormented it. This is civilized?

colleen p.
colleen p.4 years ago

oppsie doodles. I fogot my sarcasm tags.
I used to be a "lizardaboo" and would hate lizard eaters. it still "hurts" so i try not to care.
but kudos to the educated folks on this site to "bash" the ninnies.

colleen p.
colleen p.4 years ago

oh noz. everyone knows teh lizard is kinder dehn any Azn.
we must stop this.
and hurt them
and order them around.
and take over their country.
belitle them.

make them like your progressive westren vegan hippy. and tell them we'll bomb them if not.

because some people like lizards more than humans. and would rather see an AIDS baby die, than a lizard.


as for "omg stupid humans"

of course humans are going to see everything as food.its just we gave "magical reason" for being. we strive to be above everything and live in the world of moral and symbols. when you go beyond nesseseity you should abandon it.

we no longer have a "work or die" "forage or die" and live past 30, so there is no need to have 20 children, and start having babies at 13.

we no longer forage day and night, 24/7 for food and water, spaning miles and miles for sustance. we can farm everything.

we have science, so we don't need to think faeries cause dew drops.

we have factories, we have plastic, we can carve wood.

pitty some tribes haven't gotten the memo. and stupid UN and human rights say we should let them be.

dosen't anyone know cultral imperilizm can be good? as long as sane, kind, smart, progressive people do it?

jennifer curtis
jennifer curtis4 years ago

this was an interesting article. Im going to tell my son about them. he loves all reptiles

Nicole D.
Nicole D.4 years ago

From reading the comments of this article I have learned something more significant than the information in the article itself. Most of the people on Care2 are 5 year old racists. "Lizard?! EW YUCKY!! Asians are bad!"
Grow up and stop being hypocritical people! Do you honestly believe that our food system is any better or that our culture is more moral?! If you do pull your head out of the clouds!!

Ruth Massey
Ruth Massey4 years ago

the things some people eat. wow

Bon L.
Bon L.5 years ago

Thanks for the info.

Jonathan H.
Jonathan H.5 years ago

Dang savages.