Lizard species that are endemic to Taiwan are defined as species that have formed stable breeding populations that can only be found on Taiwan , and exist nowhere else in the world. Therefore, any species that are endemic are treated as national treasures. On the other hand, a new species that has been discovered in Taiwan could be a record species , one that has already been documented somewhere else in the world and is introduced to Taiwan through various methods. It could also be a species that was already present, but was not discovered until recently because it was so well hidden. Therefore, a record species is different from an endemic species.
Being an island country surrounded by oceans, the isolated terrain of Taiwan prevents genetic exchanges between lizards, and thus the birth of a new lizard species does not occur as often as in free-roaming animals like flying insects or birds. There are 13 endemic species in Taiwan , occupying about 40.6% of all lizard species in Taiwan . The percentage reaches 48%, nearly half of all the species in Taiwan , if three endemic sub-species are also accounted for. The high diversity and percentage of endemics species is rare among vertebrates in Taiwan .
Currently, endemic species of Taiwan 's lizards include the Formosan Smooth Skink, Taiwan Alpine Skink, Kikuchi's Gecko, Yami's Scaly-toed Gecko, Formosan Grass Lizard, Hsueshan's Grass Lizard, Sauter's Grass Lizard, Stejneger's Grass Lizard, Short-legged Japalura, Lue's Japalura, Maki's Japalura, Swinhoe's Japalura and the Formosan Glass Lizard. The three endemic sub species are the White-spotted Chinese Skink, Formosan Chinese Skink and the Yellow-mouthed Japalura.