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Southeast Asia, explained

Cambodia lizard 2012 02 24Enlarge
This rainbow-colored lizard (Lygosoma veunsaiensis) was recently discovered in Cambodia. (Gabor Csorba/Conservation International/Flora and Fauna International/Screengrab)

Meet the Lygosoma veunsaiensis: a newly discovered lizard that dwells underground in the Cambodian jungles.

The slender skink is quite striking: its skin evokes the rainbow reflection you see when light strikes an oil slick. It was discovered by a joint team -- Conservation International/Flora and Fauna International -- the plies the jungles seeking new species.

The team called the lizard a "very lucky find, as this type of lizard typically spends much of its time underground."

Will wildlife researchers encounter more lucky finds in Cambodia's little-explored hinterlands?

That may depend on how many jungles are lost to illicit logging, a lucrative industry watchdog group Global Witness connects to key government figures.


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