Researcher Conrad J. Hoskin of Australia's James Cook University has discovered a new leaf-tailed gecko species on Scawfell island in Queensland, Aust
Researcher Conrad J. Hoskin of Australia’s James Cook University has discovered a new leaf-tailed gecko species on Scawfell island in Queensland, Australia. The gecko, named the Scawfell Island leaf-tailed gecko (Phyllurus fimbriatus), is known to inhabit boulder habitats under rainforest canopies on the island, which is 50 kilometers offshore from Mackay in mid-east Queensland. Hoskin also surveyed Carlisle island but was unable to locate the species. He noted that other nearby islands don’t have the deeply piled boulder habitat that this species was found in.
The gecko uses camouflage to hide within the rocks in which it hides during the day and comes out at night to hunt. It is a large gecko with a beaky face, spindly legs and a spiny tail that resembles a leaf.
Hoskin noted that the reptile was fond in just two small areas of habitat on the island but is also likely to persist in other habitat patches on the island. Hoskin says that based on imagery, Phyllurus fimbriatus inhabits a total area of about one square kilometer. he discovered the new gecko species when he was out surveying with the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service & Partnerships.
“It is incredible to still find large and spectacular new species in this day and age,” Hoskin said in a news release put out by the university. “The fact that this gecko remained undiscovered to science shows that there are still areas of Australia with hidden secrets.”
The island itself is protected as it resides within the South Cumberland National Park. It is however, susceptible to fire encroachment from the adjacent dry sclerophyll habitats and climate change. It also may face competition from the introduced Asian house geckos (Hemidactylus frenatus Duméril & Bibron, 1836) and poaching.
Other Geckos of Phyllurus genus
Other geckos of the Phyllurus genus in Australia include the Mt. Blackwood broad-tailed gecko (Phyllurus isis), Oakview leaf-tailed gecko (Phyllurus kabikabi), Eungella broad-tailed gecko (Phyllurus nepthys) and the broad-tailed gecko (Phyllurus platurus). All of these species can be found in certain rock formations in Australia.
An abstract of the paper, A new species of Phyllurus leaf-tailed gecko (Lacertilia: Carphodactylidae) from Scawfell Island, mid-east Queensland, Australia, can be read on the Mapress website.