flying dragon, gliding lizard of the genus Draco, found in tropical forests of SE Asia. There are about 15 species. Most are about 8 in. (20 cm) long. On either side of the lizard's body are thin, winglike folds of skin supported by five to seven ribs that extend from the body. With its "wings" extended the lizard is capable of gliding for distances of up to 30 ft (9 m). The wings are often brightly colored, sometimes with stripes or spots, but when they are folded the body, greenish with a pale yellow belly, blends with the foliage. Flying dragons have slender legs, tapering tails, and brilliantly colored throat sacs, typically blue in the female and yellow-orange with a blue spot in the male. They live in trees, rarely descending to the ground, and feed on arboreal ants. They are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Reptilia, order Squamata, family Agamidae.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.