- Geckos or house lizards usually evoke in us varying degrees of disdain. But a team of scientists’ fascination for these reptiles led them to discover a new species from the Eastern Ghats.
- The Kanger valley rock gecko Hemidactylus kangerensis is the newest addition to India’s lizard species.
- According to a paper published in the taxonomic journal Comptes Rendus Biologies, discovered the gecko from Chhattisgarh’s Kanger Ghati National Park. Though named after this park, the species is also found in Jagdalpur and Sukma in Chhattisgarh and in Khamman in the adjoining State of Telangana, which are part of the Eastern Ghats.
- Growing to over eight inches long, the adult Kanger valley rock gecko is fairly large.
- The researchers found them in abandoned houses in the national park and juveniles on termite mounds and tree trunks.
- Though several researchers and reptile buffs had spotted the species before, they had mistaken it for the commonly-found rock gecko which it resembles.
- The distinct black-bordered beige bands that the new species sports right from its neck to its tail tip and specific scales on its thighs (which are visible only on closer inspection) set the Kanger valley rock gecko apart from the commonly-found rock gecko.
- According to the researchers, the discovery highlights the need for dedicated surveys across the Eastern Ghats, where biodiversity has not been quantified too well. Most areas here also need protection from various anthropogenic pressures.