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‘Invisible’ gecko species discovered in Madagascar



A new species of gecko discovered in Madagascar resembles tree bark until it is almost invisible during the day.

They wake at night and wander among the understory twigs, searching for invertebrate prey such as insects and other creepy crawlies. By day, night hunters are masters of disguise. He hides in plain sight on tree trunks with a perfect blend of flat, fringed body and bark color, making it almost impossible to spot.

When it comes to camouflage, the giant gecko is better than the chameleon. Uroplatus galamaso, a new species from northern Madagascar, is no exception. It disguises itself so well that it took scientists 23 years to give it its own name and place it on the tree of life.

“Giant geckos are amazing animals. They are very strange and look completely different from other reptiles. Over 23 years ago we discovered that this Uroplatus from northern Madagascar might be a separate species. I started to have doubts.

Since then, we have conducted many research expeditions and studied it in more detail. “We are finally convinced that this is a new species,” Dr. Mark D. Schatz, curator of herpetology at the Natural History Museum of Denmark and co-author of the study, said in a statement.

The research team collected data on the genetics, morphology and distribution of this species. The discovery was officially announced in the scientific journal Salamandra.

The challenge for scientists was that U. galamaso was strikingly similar to another giant gecko, Uroplatus hencheri, with which it had been confused. However, over time, scientists were able to find features that distinguish the two species.

“The decisive breakthrough was the discovery that the tip of the tongue of the new species was pink, unlike its close relative U. henkeli, which had a black tongue. This determined that U. garamaso was a separate species. That was the key,” explains Dr. Schatz.

The new species is 20 cm long, slightly smaller than U. henkeli. And the tail is getting thinner.

This new species is the latest in a series of new Uroplatus geckos discovered in Madagascar in recent years. However, U. galamaso is a rare species with only a small number of individuals, and scientists believe it is seriously endangered. It is also a species that is still poorly understood.

Source: Diario.Elmundo

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