The newly described gecko is truly a master of camouflage. And these pictures prove it!
Leaf-tailed geckos are fascinating animals. They all have a very camouflaged body that they can fully adapt to their natural environment. So it is virtually unrecognizable. However, an international team has found a new leaf-tailed gecko in northern Madagascar. While all leaf-tailed geckos are masters of camouflage, the newly discovered species is indeed one of the best, the researchers said.
It’s hard to define
During the day, leaf-tailed geckos are hard to spot. Then they hide in the foliage or rest their heads on tree trunks. Some species have strips of skin around the entire body and head, which spread during the day. In this way they blend seamlessly with their surroundings and are almost indistinguishable from the tree trunk. At night, the animals come to life, hunting insects and other invertebrate prey. They are good jumpers and often bring their front and hind legs together before jumping.
New in science
Early in the year 2000, hawk-eyed researchers roaming the forests of Madagascar got wind of a new species of leaf-tailed gecko. “When we first discovered this species in 2000, we already suspected it might be new to science,” said study leader Frank Glau. “But it took us many years to gather enough information to confidently describe it as a new species.” The team collected data on their genes, morphology and range. Several expeditions have also been undertaken to northern Madagascar to further expand knowledge about this potential new species.
Two drops of water
What made describing the new species particularly difficult was that it closely resembled another species, the leaf-tailed gecko. Uroplatus henkeli. Since the two resemble each other like two drops of water, they have been confused many times in the past. “This is very common in Madagascar reptiles,” explains researcher Jorn Koller. “There are many of these so-called occult species.” These are species so similar to another that they are grouped under the same name, when in fact they deserve separate status. In fact, species live “hidden” from science.
Thanks to a thorough and careful analysis, the researchers discovered some features that distinguish leaf-tailed barnacles. “It was a eureka moment when we discovered that tongue tip Uroplatus henkeli black, while in the new species it is pink, ”says researcher Philip Sebastien Gering. In addition, the new species, at 20 cm long, is slightly smaller than Uroplatus henkeli It has a narrower tail. Its unusual eyes also distinguish it from closely related species.
These subtle differences indicate that researchers have indeed found a hitherto undescribed leaf-tailed gecko. Gecko has the name Uroplatus garamaso Owns. The strain is the latest in a series Europlatus“Geckos have been discovered in Madagascar in recent years,” said co-author Vanumezana Ratsawina.
Master of camouflage
Although all leafy-tailed geckos know how to camouflage themselves well, the gecko shines Uroplatus garamaso really into this. In fact, this gecko is practically invisible during the day! Like other species, it hides during the day, face down, on tree trunks, with its hind legs extended and its body pressed against the bark. This makes them almost impossible to see. Just look at the pictures below.
despite of Uroplatus garamaso Now finally Described as a new species, there is still a lot to discover about it – and the species closely related to it. “We’re almost done completing the taxonomic inventory of the genus, but this is just the beginning of our understanding of its evolution and ecology,” said researcher Mark Shears. Oddly enough, the coloration of the beak, which has proved invaluable in distinguishing between different species, is still shrouded in mystery. There is still much we have to uncover about these geckos – from their broader evolutionary links to their behaviour.”
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