New Lizard Species Ends Up Grilled At A Vietnamese Restaurant
Nothing could be more surprising after knowing the fact that a new lizard species ends up grilled at a Vietnamese restaurant. For quite a long time, the Vietnamese restaurant serves grilled lizards, without having any information about the originality of the lizard. In fact, the grilled lizard with salad is quite a popular cuisine in the region of Mekong Delta, located in the south-western part of Vietnam.
This interesting specimen of lizard might have been remained unnoticed, unless the Vietnamese scientist had suspected them to be unique. Dr. Ngo Van Tri, the scientist from Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology, noticed that all the grilled lizards served in the plate had similar appearance. With this suspicion, he wanted to have a look at the live lizards stock of the restaurant and to his utter surprise he found out that all of them are female. The male and female lizards of that region can be easily identified with the help of their distinctive skin colors. Initially, he suspected that perhaps all the members of this new lizard species is female and that came to be true, when further researched. He also involved two other scientists, Jesse Grismer from Villanova University, Pennsylvania and his father, Lee Grismer from La Sierra University, Riverside, California. They also confirmed the suspicion from the emailed picture of the specimen that it is an all-female species of lizard. Later on, they joined Dr Van Tri to study 60 live specimens of this lizard and finally submitted their report to the journal Zootaxa. The new species of all-female lizard was named as Leioleplis ngovantrii, after the name of the Vietnamese scientist.
Now you must be thinking about that how does this lizard reproduce their offspring? According to the study, the female lizards reproduce through a process of cloning, which is known as parthenogenesis. There is no chance of sexual reproduction, as there is no single male specimen. However, the unfertilized egg cells can produce offspring through the natural cloning process. The DNA tests on these lizards supported the findings that all the specimens are female. The tests also highlighted the fact, that the lizards inherit the maternal link from Leioleplis guttata, another local species of lizard. Based on this report, the scientists are suspecting that this new all-female species of lizard could be a hybrid of Leioleplis guttata and some other unidentified species.
According to the opinion of Dr Grismer, "It's an entirely new lineage of life that was being eaten and sold in restaurants for food. But it's something that scientists have missed for hundreds of years. It's not that they're not known, locals know all about them. It's just that they're not known to scientists”.
Image Courtesy: snapshotscience.co.uk