Six new lizard species discovered in Northeast
Mumbai, Nov. 27 (IANS): Scientists have discovered six new species of bent-toed geckos (lizards) from different parts of northeast India, a team-member said here on Tuesday.
These bent-toed geckos of the genus Cyrtodactylus are the most species-rich genus of geckos globally with over 250 species, said team spokesperson Ishan Agarwal.
The description of these six newly discovered species has been published on Monday in the peer reviewed taxonomic mega-journal, Zootaxa, published from New Zealand, he added.
Team member Varad Giri said just six species of these geckos were known from the Himalayas and northeast India, but in the past few months, nine new species have been described including four and 11 from these two regions respectively.
Neighbouring Myanmar has also witnessed a huge increase with over 20 new species discovered since 2017 and is the outcome of surveying areas never sampled before within the Indo-Burma biodiversity hotspots.
The new Indian species have been named after the Assam capital, Guwahati, as Cyrtodactylus Guwahatiensis, or the Guwahati bent-toed gecko, making it the fifth lizard to be described from a major Indian city, the others being Bengaluru, Delhi, and Mumbai.
Similary one is named after Nagaland as Cyrtodactylus Nagalandensis, another as Cyrtodactylus Kazirangaensis after the famed Kaziranga National Park, and the
largest bent-toed gecko is named as Cyrtodactylus Jaintiaensis after the Jaintia Hills of Meghalaya.
The other two are Cyrtodactylus Montanus after the Jampui Hills of Tripura and another one named Cyrtodactylus Septentrionalis of the Abhayapuri bent-toed gecko, said Agarwal.
Though all these species hail from a single locality each, nothing is known of their natural history, ecology and distribution, except that they are nocturnal creatures living in rocks.
Agarwal feels they are likely to be a narrowly distributed endemic species and northeast India may have several dozen more bent-toed geckos.
The team included, besides Agarwal and Giri, R. Chaitanya, Stephen Mahony of Natural History Museum, London and global authority on geckos, Aaron Bauer of Villanova University, US.