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New gecko species found in the Western Ghats of Maharashtra


Researchers have named the newfound species as Cnemaspis Girii

A new species of lizard has been discovered in the northwestern ghats of Maharashtra by four researchers from Bangalore’s National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS) and Centre for Ecological Studies (CES).

The species has been named Cnemaspis Girii, after Dr. Varad Giri of the Bombay Natural History Society. The research paper on the subject was published in the prestigious journal Zootaxa this month.

The gecko from the genus Cnemaspis, or dwarf geckos, was discovered in the unexplored forests of the Kaas plateau in Satara district.

It was first sighted by Harshad Bhosle and Zeeshan Mirza in 2010. “The forests in the valleys at the connection of two plateaus are largely unexplored. Harshad had earlier seen the species and was curious since he couldn’t find the exact name of it,” Mr. Mirza, a research associate with the NCBS, told The Hindu. It was found on the rocks and pebbles near the water streams in those forests.

There are around 17 Cnemaspis species found in Maharashtra. Geckos of this genus have a unique rounded pupil, unlike the cat-like eyes of other geckos.

Saunak Pal, a project assistant at the CES, compared the newly-found brown, yellow-spotted reptile with the other 17 species and found no similarities, except for two. “We researched a bit more, asked many specialists but no one could tell us the exact name of our find,” said Mr. Pal.

In 2012, Mr. Mirza along with another researcher, Rajesh Sanap, visited the National History Museum in London. “We checked all specimen collected by the British rulers in India. We were convinced after a thorough research that we have found a new species of gecko,” said Mr. Mirza.

Dr. Giri already has a snake species named after him in 2012 — Dendrelathis Girii — which he discovered in the Western Ghats.

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Printable version | Mar 21, 2018 2:13:05 PM |