New species of gecko found in Western Ghats near Rajapalayam

November 05, 2023 05:46 pm | Updated November 06, 2023 01:23 pm IST - RAJAPALAYAM

A new species of gecko ‘Cnemaspis rashidi’ found in the Western Ghats near Rajapalayam in Virudhunagar district

A new species of gecko ‘Cnemaspis rashidi’ found in the Western Ghats near Rajapalayam in Virudhunagar district | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

A new species of gecko has been discovered in the Western Ghats near Rajapalayam in Viridhunagar district of Tamil Nadu.

Senior scientist Amit Sayyed of Wildlife Protection and Research Society, Maharashtra, who led a team of researchers from different parts of the country, has named the previously undocumented species as Cnemaspis rashidi after his father, Prof. Rashid Sayyed.

A research paper on the new species was published in Asian Journal of Conservation Biology on Saturday.

So far, 93 species of gecko have been documented and this is the 94th species. The new species is also called Rashid’s dwarf gecko as it is the smallest among the genus. “It is approximately two inches long from its snout to vent,” said Mr. Sayyed.

He has been working on geckos in the Western Ghats since 2013.

The new species was found at an altitude of 1,245 metres at Kottamalai estate near Rajapalayam.

“It also displayed a combination of beautiful colour pattern of yellow, white and black adorning its back, making it stand out among its gecko relatives. The gecko’s eyes are of a mesmerizing shade of deep brown, giving it an almost ethereal quality,” he added.

The dwarf gecko has been found in small numbers and it is endemic to the Western Ghats. “Now, there is one more reason to conserve the rich biodiversity of the Western Ghats of Tamil Nadu,” Mr. Sayyed said. .

Other scientists from Bombay Natural History Society, Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment, Bengaluru, Help Earth, Assam, and InSearch Environmental Solutions, Pune, were involved in the research.

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