A team of biologists has recorded the Gekko mizoramensis as a new species of parachute gecko, so named because of skin flaps along the body and tail enabling it to glide.
The study on the lizard, with the common name Mizoram parachute gecko, has been published in the latest edition of Salamandra, the German Journal of Herpetology.
About Mizoram parachute gecko:
- It is a newly discovered species of gliding geckos.
- The Mizoram parachute gecko, or Gekko mizoramensis, is one of the 14 geckos known to take to the air.
- It is thought that the species evolved as a result of being separated from its closest relative, G. popaensis, by the Arakan Mountains.
- Unlike other gliding reptiles, which use the bone to form their flying surfaces, these geckos have flaps of skin.
- When the lizards leap off a tall structure, air resistance pushes the flaps out to their full extent, much like a parachute, slowing the speed at which they fall.
- The skin flaps also help to break up their shape, acting as a camouflage against predators.
- Their specialised camouflage and body shape are shared by multiple species, making it hard to tell them apart from one another.
What are Geckos?
- They are reptiles and are found on all continents except Antarctica.
- They are believed to be among the earliest evolving squamates, the group that contains all lizards, snakes and their close relatives.
- There are more than 1,200 species of gecko today, making up around a fifth of all known lizards.
- They have adapted to habitats from rain forests, to deserts, to cold mountain slopes.
- They had evolved the adhesive pads on their feet which allow them to climb almost any surface using a network of microscopic hairs.
- Like snakes, most geckos have a clear protective covering over their eyes.
- A gecko’s tail may be long and tapering, short and blunt, or even globular.
- The tail serves in many species as a storehouse of fat upon which the animal can draw during unfavourable conditions.
- Unlike other reptiles, most geckos have a voice, the call differing with the species and ranging from a feeble click or chirp to a shrill cackle or bark.
“Earlier studies included samples from most parts of the species’ range except for India, and the status of the Indian population remained unresolved. We conducted surveys in Mizoram and collected specimens, which allowed us to assess the systematic status of the Indian population,” he said.
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