Coastal Kerala Geckoella

Scientists have made a new discovery of a species of lizard from the coastal forests of northern Kerala. The species, named Cyrtodactylus (Geckoella) chengodumalaensis, is a ground-dwelling gecko that was discovered by a team of researchers led by Ishan Agarwal and Akshay Khandekar from the Thackeray Wildlife Foundation, Mumbai.

Habitat of the Cyrtodactylus (Geckoella) chengodumalaensis

The newly discovered species of ground-dwelling gecko is found in the ground among leaf litter and rocks in forests, orchards, and other areas with canopy cover. The species is nocturnal and small in size. It is known to inhabit the coastal forests of northern Kerala, which is a habitat that supports endemic biodiversity.

The Chengodumala or Coastal Kerala Geckoella

The Chengodumala or Coastal Kerala Geckoella is also known as the Chengodumala dwarf gecko or Cnemaspis chengodumalaensis. This species is also found on the midland hillock in Kozhikode district, with Chengodumala as its type locality. The discovery of the second new species of gecko from Chengodumala highlights the fact that biodiversity of these low-elevation hillocks is understudied, with many more species remaining to be discovered.

Threats to Chengodumala and Other Coastal Hills in Northern Kerala

Chengodumala and other coastal hills in northern Kerala are under immense pressure due to illegal mining and indiscriminate logging. The protection of these unique habitats that support endemic biodiversity is imperative because they are under threat. The discovery of the new species of ground-dwelling gecko highlights the need for further exploration and conservation of the biodiversity in low-elevation hillocks.

Publication of the Discovery

The paper describing the new species of ground-dwelling gecko was published in the Journal of Herpetology. The Journal of Herpetology is an international publication of the Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles based in the United States.



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