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IND Press: Dwarf gecko sighted in India

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Posted by: W von Papineäu at Wed Oct 17 18:19:49 2007  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by W von Papineäu ]  
   

THE HINDU (Chennai, India) 11 October 07 Dwarf gecko sighted in India (Sunny Sebastian)
Jaipur: The first-ever sighting in the country of the Persian Sand Dwarf Gecko, commonly known as the Dwarf or Pygmy Gecko, has been reported from western Rajasthan’s Barmer district. A group of young researchers from the Ranthambhore-based Tiger Watch spotted the small but beautiful lizard belonging to the genus Tropiocolotes, during a 4,000-km trek in the Thar wilderness.
The team, led by Dharmendra Khandal, spotted it during the early hours of September 21 in the Divya Dhora valley of Kundal village amid a clutter of stones.
“The scalation, morphological details and colour pattern of the lemon-coloured gecko enabled us to identify it as Tropiocolotes persicus euphorbiacola. After consulting relevant literature, we found this gecko as the first of this genus and species reported in India,” Dr. Khandal told The Hindu.
There are 3,200 species of lizards in the world, of which 300 are reported in India. Thirty of them are in Rajasthan. “This lizard, 4 cm in size, is considered the smallest reported in India and possibly the most beautiful,” said Dr. Khandal. He undertook the expedition along with Tiger Watch members Sachin Rai, Mittal Gala and Saloni Bhatia.
Tropiocolotes is a small genus of very small geckos, some of which are about 2 inches or less in length. They have an elongated body. The head is oval and could be of equal or less width than the body. The digits have long claw and the scales are fairly large.
Dr. Khandal said the gecko was identifiable as a member of the genus Tropiocolotes on the basis of description of the herpetologist S.A. Minton Jr. He expressed his gratitude to the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI), Jodhpur, and the California Academy of Sciences for helping in the identification process.
“It was Minton who recorded the genus from Lower Pab Hills, Hab Chowki, in Las Bela district of West Pakistan. This sub-species is also reported from Baluchistan and Lower Sindh. However, the present spot in the Divya Dhora valley where it was sighted is approximately 500 km from Karachi,” Dr. Khandal said. One side of the Divya Dhora valley has hills 400 metres high. On the other side are 200-m-high sand dunes.
“This is a major breakthrough by a group of young scientists. I have surveyed this area many times while working on termites but never came across this genus of lizard myself,” said N.S. Rathore, a former Joint Director at the Arid Zone Sub Station of the ZSI in Jodhpur.
Dr. Rathore added: “This lizard, a purely nocturnal one, is named after euphorbia plants found abundantly in the desert. The gecko lays its eggs in hollow roots. It is a symbiotic co-existence for the euphorbia plant and the lizard as the health of these plants are ensured by the termite-eating lizards.”
Dwarf gecko sighted in India


   

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