Many animals use some form of camouflage to hide their location. However, some are particularly masterful in concealing themselves inside their environment. Leaf-tailed geckos are especially adept at camouflage. Now, scientists have just announced the discovery of a new type of leaf-tailed gecko species, one that is a master of disguise.
Scientists have uncovered a new species of leaf-tailed gecko (Uroplatus garamaso) living in Madagascar. Although the species was discovered in 2000, it took 20 years, multiple expeditions to Madagascar, and a lot of research, to get enough information to confirm this was a before-unknown species of leaf-tailed gecko.
Uroplatus garamaso closely resembles that of another species, Uroplatus henkeli. However, the scientists have determined some differences between the two.
- The tip of U. garamaso’s tongue is pink, rather than the blackish tongue of the other species.
- U. garamaso’s tail is narrower, and its body is smaller than the other species.
- The eyes of U. garamaso have a slightly bloodshot appearance.
Dr. Mark Scherz, herpetology curator at the Natural History Museum of Denmark, described the species in his science blog as, “a truly striking, bizarre, and beautiful species.”
You can read the study published in the Salamandra German Journal of Herpetology here.
Where Do Leaf-Tailed Geckos Live?
Leaf-tailed geckos are native to Madagascar and its coastal islands. They prefer humid climates and tend to live in the lowlands of rainforests. Dr. Scherz found specimens of the new species on his expedition to Montagne d’Ambre in 2017 and 2018 in the lower reaches of the forest.
Montagne d’Ambre is a national park in Madagascar. It protects the isolated montane rainforest in the area and is surrounded by an otherwise dry region. The park contains diverse wildlife, crater lakes, and spectacular waterfalls.
Are Leaf-Tailed Geckos Nocturnal or Diurnal?
Also, the light from the flashlight reflected off the gecko, making the animal much easier for researchers to spot as the reptile climbed trees and stalked on branches, searching for its prey.
How Do Leaf-Tailed Geckos Blend Into Their Environment?
The leaf-tailed species of gecko is especially adept at disguise. There are two varieties within the genus: the dead-leaf-like type and the tree-bark-like type.
During the day, the bark-like species blends in perfectly with a tree trunk as it sits, unmoving with its head facing down the tree. The leaf-like species rests among dead leaves, blending in among the branches. At night, they come out to eat.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Anna Veselova/Shutterstock.com
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