Monday, 3 October 2016

A New Lizard Species is Discovered in Mumbai – via Herp Digest

By Angel Soleil, | September 28, 2016 Telegiz

Scientists have discovered a new species of gecko in Goregaon's Aarey Colony and Thane's Badlapur forests. Previously, the species was considered to be the same as "Geckoella collegalensis," but after extensive research, it was confirmed to be different.

The "Cyrtodactylus varadgirii" is the first new species of Gecko discovered after 130 years. The reptile was named after Varad Giri, a member of the Indian Herpetological Society.

For several years, Ishan Agarwal and Aaron Bauer of Villanova University as well as Anurag Mishra and Zeeshan Mirza of Saunak Pal of Bombay Natural History Society and the National Centre for Biological Science, have been doing research on the reptile. It was initially found to be the same species as the "Geckoella collegalensis," but it was later differentiated using the reptile's morphological characters and DNA data.

The "Cyrtodactylus varadgirii" has been spotted among the leaf litters in Maharashtra, Gujarat, and are more active during the night. Most of the known species of the group stay in the forest and hide under rocks and logs during the day, but Giri said they also prefer residing near human-dominated areas.

Giri, during his post-doctoral talk at the National Centre for Biological Sciences, explained that since the "Cyrtodactylus varadgirii" are mainly found in the ground, it did not have a well-developed lamellae [a special structure on the foot] as compared to other types of geckos.

Giri also added that the "Cyrtodactylus varadgirii" is brown in color and can grow to about six centimeters. The findings of the discovery has been published in "Zootaxa." 

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