Saturday, 4 June 2011

Philippines lizard has distinctive trait

There is a phrase that is frequently expressed in the less couth parts of town that conveys a speaker's sense of unparalleled elation: "I'm as happy as a dog with two dicks."

Well, we didn't say it was a nice phrase, but it comes to mind as we contemplate the discovery of a new species of lizard in the Philippines that boasts not one, but two penises.

We did actually blog about this last year, but there seems to be a bit more information floating around about this scaly discovery.

We can't vouch for the lizard's happiness or otherwise, but the hefty reptile - reputedly as big as a human (the lizard that is, not his appendage) - had, until two years ago, gone unknown in the West by living high in the trees.

The giant lizard, Varanus bitatawa, is related to the Komodo dragon but differs in a few ways: scale pattern, size, vegetarian diet. And its penises. Did we mention the two penises already?

Double-ended penises are common among snakes and lizards. The Komodo dragon has one (or two). Same with rattlesnakes and other reptiles. But one way scientists were able to differentiate V. bitatawa from the related Gray’s monitor lizard was by its hemipenis, the shape of which is unique to each species, National Geographic reports.

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