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Scientists name large but elusive lizard

Scientists spent a decade chasing a big new species

Scientists couldn’t see the lizard for the trees.

But now they’ve tracked down and named Varanus bitatawa, a skittish reptile that’s hard to spot even though it grows up to 2 meters long and sports bright yellow speckles.

In forests on the Philippine island of Luzon, the newly discovered monitor lizard hauls itself up into trees in search of fruit and melts into the vegetation if humans approach, says herpetologist Rafe Brown of the Biodiversity Institute at the University of Kansas in Lawrence. He and his colleagues describe and name the species in a paper published online the week of April 5 in Biology Letters.

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