STOCK MARKET BSE NSE

New gecko species discovered in Ganjam

Interestingly, the Ganjam slender gecko is the first non-island species of the genus that is distributed in lowland habitats, and the lowest elevation.

Published: 18th September 2020 10:01 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th September 2020 10:01 AM   |  A+A-

Hemiphyllodactylus minimus

Hemiphyllodactylus minimus | Express

Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR: A team of researchers has discovered a new species of gecko, commonly known as lizards, in a sacred grove near Humma in Ganjam district.The new species of Hemiphyllodactylus minimus is the smallest member of the genus with a maximum body size of little of over six cm. Although slender geckos are found at a higher altitude in hill forests, this is the first one from India which is found below 100 metre above mean sea level. 

The researchers, including scientists from Jabalpur-based Zoological Survey of India (ZSI), Mumbai-based Thackeray Wildlife Foundation, Assam Don Bosco University and North Orissa University (NoU) have described about the new species in a recent publication in the international journal Zootaxa. The species was found in a tiny area of 0.01 sq km comprising around 20 large trees surrounding a temple. The area is part of a flat-top hillock dominated by scrub forest and is within 15 km of the sea coast and Chilika lake. 

Remembering the first encounter of the species Dr Pratyush Mohapatra, the then lecturer of Chatrapur Government Science College located the tiny gecko on Jhadeshwar temple premises. The species was studied for a period of three years in the sacred grove and details about population, life history and behaviour of this species was documented.

“The species is now spotted on mango trees in the locality and unlike other members of the Eastern Ghats clade of Hemiphyllodactylus, the species was never encountered on concrete walls or below rock boulders. Despite targeted searches for the species in similar micro-habitats in the hills surrounding and further away from the type locality, no other sub-populations have been found,” said Mohapatra, now Scientist-D at the ZSI. The researchers have suggested its common English name as Ganjam slender gecko. The species feeds on ants, termites, small roaches, spiders and beetles. Apart from this, Jhadeshwar sacred grove is also home for 40 species of reptiles and 15 species of amphibians.

“Since the locality is under modification due to anthropogenic activities and facing constant anthropogenic pressure in terms of beautification of the temple and tourist activities, we fear the species may go extinct if proper care is not taken. We will soon have a discussion with the local forest officials to preserve the trees and the surroundings,” said Mohapatra. 

The new gecko is the seventh Indian species of the genus, second from the northern Eastern Ghats and the 41st globally. Interestingly, the Ganjam slender gecko is the first non-island species of the genus that is distributed in lowland habitats, and the lowest elevation.



Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

IPL_2020
flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp