These cryptic species of reptile are easily overlooked and previous to this discovery there are no records for blind lizards occurring in Cambodia. The species was finally named the Dalai Mountain blind lizard Dibamus dalaiensis, after the mountain on which it was found.
Recent biological surveys in Cambodia have resulted in a wealth of unusual new species, ranging from carnivorous plants to a green-blooded frog. â€œThis latest find is particularly remarkable,â€ said Dr Jenny Daltry, Senior Conservation Biologist with FFI, â€œbecause it is not only a new species, but also the first reptile to be both discovered and formally described in a scientific journal by a Cambodian nationalâ€.
The process of describing and naming a new species is a complex one, and Thy learned this discipline during a study period in La Sierra University in the United States.
â€œFor one of our national colleagues to discover this unusual species and make the description is particularly satisfying,â€ said Berry Mulligan, FFIâ€™s Cambodia operations manager. â€œIt shows that the capacity of Cambodian scientists is now reaching an international standard.â€
The species:Â Dibamus dalaiensis.Â The genus Dibamus composes 21 species found throughout Southeast Asia. Known from Thailand and Vietnam, the genus had not been seen in Cambodia before this discovery, but was expected to occur. These small lizards are blind and without limbs (small, flap-like hind limbs occur in the males) and spend most of their lives underground.