19 New Gecko Species Uncovered in Tiny Section of Myanmar

first_img Scientists have found a whopping 15 new gecko species in Myanmar’s karst landscapes.Well, 19 if you count the four that biologist L. Lee Grismer is still detailing.Uncovered during a two-week excursion to Southeast Asia in October 2016, the whole set was found in a measly 55-by-30-mile section of isolated limestone, previously cut off due to civil conflict.“That’s the really amazing thing about it—they all come from such a small area,” Grismer told New Scientist this week.The Hemiphyllodactylus montawaensis gecko (via L. Lee Grismer)Though common among invertebrates like snails or insects, it’s basically unheard of for backboned animals to live in that close proximity. In this case, it seems the sticky-footed lizards were likely hiding from predators on surrounding plains.“It’s like you’re the only one who occupies a 7-Eleven,” Grismer explained to the magazine. “It may not be a Wal-Mart, but it’s all yours.”With support from charity Fauna & Flora International, the discovery was led by La Sierra University professor Grismer, the senior author of three upcoming papers.A new Cyrtodactylus gecko (via L. Lee Grismer)He was joined by karst conservationists from Fauna & Flora’s Myanmar team, scientists from the Universiti Sains Malaysia and Brigham Young University, and researchers from the Myanmar Forest Department.Read more about the team’s findings in a trio of journal articles: First up, the Journal of Natural History, which describes three new dwarf geckos; the second paper, published today in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, covers 12 bent-toed lizards.A third, based on discovered in May 2017, is currently being written, and details four more species of bent-toed geckos.A new Cyrtodactylus gecko (via L. Lee Grismer)One of the adorable critters, Hemiphyllodactylus tonywhitteni, is named after FFI senior adviser Tony Whitten—a far cry from the famous titles given to 15 new species of “smiley-faced” spiders.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. Watch: Dolphin Leaps Feet Away From Unsuspecting SurferNASA Says 2 Asteroids Will Safely Fly By Earth This Weekend Stay on targetlast_img read more