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AUS Press: New desert geckos climb out

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Posted by: W von Papinešu at Sun Nov 9 20:33:42 2008  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by W von Papinešu ]  
   

WEST AUSTRALIAN (Sydney, Australia) 01 November 08 New desert geckos climb out of obscurity (Michael Hopkin)
A WA Museum zoologist has discovered two new gecko species, one completely unique to the North-West Cape near Exmouth.
Paul Doughty found the lizards after expeditions to the Cape Range and the deserts of WA and South Australia north of the Nullarbor. Dr Doughty, who revealed the new species yesterday, said different geckos looked so similar that only DNA analysis could prove they were new species.
Desert-dwelling geckos were so similarly adapted to life in arid areas that even relatives separated by millions of years of evolution could look identical, he said.
The Cape Range gecko, or Diplodactylus capensis, is reddish-brown for camouflage on the Cape Range rocks. It has a tiny territory and its closest relatives live 600km away.
Dr Doughty originally confused it with geckos in the Pilbara.
The other new species, the southern sand plain gecko, covers a bigger, more desert-based range. Its scientific name, Lucasium bungabinna, mixes the indigenous names of the Bungalbin and Yellabinna sand plains.
Although good climbers, desert geckos had not evolved the characteristic large, sticky feet of tropical geckos, Dr Doughty said. ďThese guys are a bit of a throwback,Ē he said.
New desert geckos climb out of obscurity


   

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