Human Interest

New gecko species discovered on remote Australian island

Sydney, Australia, Mar 3 (EFE).- An Australian scientist has discovered a new species of geckos, a variety of small reptiles, in the remote inhabited island of Scawfell, academic sources reported on Friday.

The tiny lizard-like creature, which has a “beaky” face, spindly legs and a spiny tail, has been named the Scawfell Island Leaf-tailed Gecko (Phyllurus fimbriatus), with the name referring to the fringe of spines around its leaf-shaped tail.

“It is incredible to still find large and spectacular new species in this day and age. The fact that this gecko remained undiscovered to science shows that there are still areas of Australia with hidden secrets,” the scientist who discovered the reptile, Conrad Hoskin, said in a statement released by the James Cook University on Friday.

About 10-centimeters (3.9 inches) long, the gecko hides during the day among the gigantic rocks that dominate the landscape of Scawfell, situated around 50 kilometers (31 miles) away from the coastal town of Mackay and surrounded by waters of the Great Barrier Reef.

The reptile is “perfectly” camouflaged in this habitat, and comes out at night to hunt small insects.

Hoskin said that as of now the population-size of the gecko is unknown, although there are at least 30 individuals.

“Some habitats on the island naturally burn, but the rocks are probably pretty good protection from fire. Another potential threat is the invasive Asian House Gecko and poachers,” Hoskin said in the statement.

The JCU academician carried out the discovery as part of a study with the government body tasked with conservation of the natural parks in the Queensland region, with the result being published last week in the scientific magazine Zootaxa. EFE

wat/ia

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