Alopoglossus atriventris — Black-bellied Forest Lizard
This small lizard was clinging to a medium-sized tree trunk that was lying across a small stream. It ran back and forth on the trunk, but was very reluctant to leave it. Thanks to Mike Pingleton for digging up the journal article that explains how to distinguish A. atriventris from A. angulatus and other related species.
Apparently the only sure way to tell Alopoglossus atriventris from Alopoglossus buckleyi is to check if the belly scales are smooth or keeled. I think that I can see keels on the row or two of belly scales visible in this photo, when I look at the full-resolution version. Also, in the range maps in the 2012 Alopoglossus monograph by Köhler et al, A. atriventris is shown from the Iquitos area, whereas A. buckleyi is shown only considerably further west.
As several fellow herp enthusiasts and I walked slowly along a grassy drainage ditch, scouring the vegetation for little frogs with bright red markings, a tiny movement caught my eye and I focused to see this minuscule lizard creeping into a bush's root system. I managed to get this one photo from about ten feet away before it was completely out of sight. I'm sure it was a tiny Gymnophthalmid, and from the local candidates I'm reasonably confident that it was Alopoglossus atriventris.
- Bartlett, R.D., and Bartlett, P. 2003. Reptiles and Amphibians of the Amazon: An Ecotourist's Guide
- Dixon, J. R. and Soini, P. 1986. The Reptiles of the Upper Amazon Basin, Iquitos Region, Peru
- Duellman, W.E. 2005. Cusco Amazónico: The Lives of Amphibians and Reptiles in an Amazonian Rainforest