Ceratophora karu Karu’s Horned Lizard
Also known as:
Karunaratne’s Horn Lizard
Ratnapura District, Sabaragamuwa Province, Sri LankaAugust 15, 2019
Karu’s Horned Lizard (Ceratophora karu) Karu’s Horned Lizard (Ceratophora karu)
Unlike the other species of Ceratophora that I saw in Sri Lanka (C. tennentii, C. stoddartii, and C. erdeleni), Ceratophora karu spends its time in the leaf litter and doesn't climb up to sleep in vegetation at night, making them considerably more difficult to find. Also, the species has a small range. To find one, you first have to visit the right habitat in their small range (not an easy feat in itself), and then your best bet is to walk slowly and use a stick to poke through the leaf litter in the hopes that you'll get close enough to one of these perfectly camouflaged lizards to disturb it into moving an inch or two. Imagine my happiness when this paid off for me.

One other Ceratophora species has a similarly cryptic lifestyle: Ceratophora aspera. That's the only species of this Sri Lankan endemic genus that I didn't see, though we spent hours spread across a couple of days trying to find one.

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