BENGALURU: We have heard of researchers discovering new species of insects and butterflies, but here is a Bengaluru-based researcher who has discovered six new Dravidogecko lizard species in the south of the Western Ghats, after a detailed study for four years.
R Chaitanya, a Bengaluru-based herpetologist, discovered six new lizard species and listed them in his research paper titled: “Diversification in the mountains: A generic reappraisal of the Western Ghats endemic gecko genus Dravidogecko Smith, 1933 (Squamata: Gekkonidae) with descriptions of six new species,” which was published on October 21, 2019.
Chaitanya and his team mates- Dr Deepak Veerappan of the Natural History Museum in London, Dr Aniruddha Datta-Roy of the Bhubaneswar-based National Institute of Science Education and Research, Dr B H C K Murthy of the Zoological Survey of India in Kozhikode and Dr Praveen Karanth of the Indian Institute of Science, studied the southern part of the Western Ghats comprising Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu to study the species.
The six new species have been named as Dravidogecko septentrionalis, D Janakiae, D Tholpalli, D Meghamalaiensis, D Douglasadamsi and D Smithi, after noted researchers from across the globe.
Speaking to The New Indian Express, Chaitanya said, “I am sharing this study with the International Union for Conservation of Nature and they will decide under which threatened category the lizards need to be listed. I chose lizards because they are less studied. The species of my research belongs to the Gecko species and these are very tiny lizards. They are very interesting and have very ancient origins. They are found only in the southern part of the Western Ghats.”
“We found them in abandoned buildings and trees. We collected the samples from various localities from Wayanad to Trivandrum districts. We searched for them every where and also did a DNA and microscopic analysis before ascertaining that these were the new species,” he added.
He pointed that the origin of the species goes back to the 1850s, when one species was discovered by British zoologists. Explaining about the species, he said that they were nocturnal species and the geckos were restricted to moist-deciduous and evergreen forests and can be found on trees, under rocks during the day or willingly occupying uninhabited man-made structures in these landscapes. They are very good climbers and their body type explains it, he added.