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Six Dravidogecko Species Discovered In Western Ghats Of India

The six gecko species were living in plain sight, thought to be a single species.

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Researchers in India have discovered six new gecko species in the country’s Western Ghats mountain region. The reptiles, new species of new species of Dravidogecko, include:

  • Dravidogecko septentrionalis
  • D. janakiae
  • D. tholpalli
  • D. meghamalaiensis
  • D. douglasadamsi
  • D. smithi 

The geckos are mostly nocturnal and can be found on tree trunks and branches, and since they are of the same ecological niche, the lizards have limited, but precise morphological differences. The live in wet forests at mid to high elevations, in the states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra and Gujarat.

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Until the discovery of these six new species, through mitochondrial and DNA analysis, it was thought that only one species of Dravidogecko anamallensis gecko existed.

Bengaluru-based herpetologist R. Chaitanya led the research team that discovered these new species. The team had originally set out to study the evolutionary origin and diversity of these geckos.

An abstract of the paper describing the six new gecko species can be read on the Zootaxa website.