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New species of gecko found after 130 years

AGE CORRESPONDENT
Published : Sep 27, 2016, 1:58 am IST
Updated : Sep 27, 2016, 1:58 am IST

A Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) team led by its researcher Dr Ishan Aggarwal has discovered a new species of terrestrial geckos — lizards found in warm climates globally — 130 years after the

The species was discovered on the forested tracts of Goregaon’s Aarey Colony and Thane’s Badlapur. (Photo: Zeeshan Mirza)
 The species was discovered on the forested tracts of Goregaon’s Aarey Colony and Thane’s Badlapur. (Photo: Zeeshan Mirza)

A Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) team led by its researcher Dr Ishan Aggarwal has discovered a new species of terrestrial geckos — lizards found in warm climates globally — 130 years after the last of its kind was reported.

The species was discovered on the forested tracts of Goregaon’s Aarey Colony and Thane’s Badlapur.

This newly discovered species is a member

of the subgenus Geckoella, which are small ground-dwelling geckos that are largely found among leaf waste in forests.

It was earlier considered as Geckoella collegalensis but based on morphological characters and molecular data (DNA) Dr Aggarwal and his colleagues described this as a new species in Zootaxa.

Experts said the uncommon species is mostly seen moving among the leaf litter on the forest floor. They are active in the night and take refuge under rocks and logs during the day. It grows to the length of around 6 centimetres.

The gecko’s new species has been named after senior BNHS scientist Varad Giri.

Speaking to The Asian Age, Varad Giri, senior Scientist from BNHS said, “The lizards of this genus are found in Southeast Asia, India and Sri Lanka. This new species, cyrtodactylus varadgirii or Giri’s Geckoella is distinct from other species in certain characteristics. They are generally larger compared with others and are brown in colour. They can be in Aarey and Sanjay Gandhi National Park in the city.”

“It has also been sighted in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. Most of the known species in this group are found in forest but this new species is also known to be found in human-dominated landscapes,” he said.