Gonocephalus grandis — Great Angle-headed Lizard
Some other names for this species:
Giant Forest Dragon, Great Anglehead Lizard, Malayan Crested Lizard
Not counting the essentially impossible-to-find Bornean Earless Monitor, this was the lizard I most wanted to see in Malaysia. Not because they are rare, for they are not, but because they are so completely crazy-looking. I mean, what's with the crazy headgear? And who would paint a lizard these nutty colors?
Only the adult males have the full outrageous appearance. Juveniles, as in this last photo, are much more drab and lack the crests. But even in the youngsters you can see a hint of the clownish belly pattern.
By day these lizards are active and often wary. But by night they sleep in the forest, and allow you to get as close as you want for photos.
Here's another little one, from Borneo this time. It's a good thing Kurt "Orion" G, my guide in Peninsular Malaysia, had already shown me what the young ones look like because I would have otherwise had a lot of trouble identifying this li'l guy.
- Das, I. 2010. A Field Guide to the Reptiles of South-east Asia
- Grismer, L. L. 2011. Lizards of Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore and their Adjacent Archipelagos
- Manthey, U., Grossmann, W. 1997. Amphibien & Reptilien Südostasiens