Army tag for new gecko from Meghalaya

Two more species of the lizard new to science have been named after the places of their occurrence in Mizoram

February 18, 2022 07:33 pm | Updated 09:29 pm IST - GUWAHATI:

The Indian Army’s bent-toed gecko, a species new to science recorded from a forest in Meghalaya.

The Indian Army’s bent-toed gecko, a species new to science recorded from a forest in Meghalaya. | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

A lizard new to science is wearing the Indian Army’s tag.

A team of herpetologists have recorded a new species of bent-toed gecko from a wooded part of the Umroi Military Station in Meghalaya. Its scientific name is Crytodactylus exercitus and English name is Indian Army’s bent-toed gecko. Exercitus in Latin means army.

“The name was given to honour the Army for its services to the country. The military station where the bent-toed gecko was discovered was also a factor behind its name,” Jayaditya Purkayastha of green NGO Help Earth and one of the authors of a study on the gecko told The Hindu on Friday.

The finding of the study was published in the latest issue of the European Journal of Taxonomy. The paper recorded another new bent-toed gecko, the Cyrtodactylus siahaensis named after Mizoram’s Siaha district where it was found. The other authors of the twin study are Sanath Chandra Bohra of Help Earth, Yashpal Singh Rathee of Umroi Military Station, Hmar Tlawmte Lalremsanga, Vabeiryureilai Mathipi, Lal Biakzuala and Lal Muansanga of Mizoram University’s Department of Zoology and Beirathie Litho of a school in the Siaha district.

Most of these lizard specialists and a few others had in a separate study recorded the Cyrtodactylus lungleiensis, a new species of bent-toed gecko named after Mizoram’s Lunglei town.

Mr. Purkayastha said a team of researchers has been scanning the urban, rural and jungle areas across the northeast to uncover the herpetofaunal diversity of the region. Several new species of reptiles have been recorded in the past decade. The genus Cyrtodactylus is represented by about 320 species worldwide and is the third most speciose vertebrate genus in the world. The members of the genus range from South Asia to Melanesia with high diversity in south Asia. India is now home to 40 species of the bent-toed gecko with the northeast accounting for 16 of them.

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