New gecko discovery in Papua New Guinea


From Wildlife Extra:

New ’bumblebee’ gecko discovered in Papua New Guinea

Unexplored region could contain many new species

April 2012. A new species of gecko, adorned like a bumblebee with black-and-gold bands and rows of skin nodules that enhance its camouflage on the tropical forest floor has been discovered in Papua New Guinea by biologists from the Papua New Guinea National Museum and the U.S. Geological Survey.

Specimens of the lizard, which measures about 5 inches from head to tail, were collected in May 2010 in Sohoniliu Village on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea. Herpetologists George Zug of the Smithsonian Institution and Robert Fisher of the USGS Western Ecological Research Center described the new species.

“We’ve officially named it Nactus kunan for its striking colour pattern – kunan means ‘bumblebee’ in the local Nali language,” says Fisher. “It belongs to a genus of slender-toed geckos, which means these guys don’t have the padded, wall-climbing toes like the common house gecko, or the day gecko in the car insurance commercials.”

Fisher found two individuals of the bumblebee gecko on Manus Island in 2010 and analysed their genetics to show that the lizards were new and distinctive. Two additional species were found that trip, and the specimens await further analysis.

“This species was a striking surprise, as I’ve been working on the genus since the 1970s, and would not have predicted this discovery,” says Zug, a curator emeritus at the National Museum of Natural History.

Many new species in unexplored region

“Exploration of Manus Province is in its infancy, with many new species possible, and this joint expedition was our first to this region,” says Bulisa Iova, the reptile curator at the Papua New Guinea National Museum.

This research on Pacific lizard biodiversity was supported by the Smithsonian, U.S. Department of Defense and USGS.

So, part of the money for this beautiful discovery comes from a very ugly source: the Pentagon. The United States Department of “Defense”; “Defense” which, for some reason, invariably happens thousands of miles away from US borders. The Pentagon, the worst polluters in the world. What a pity that this beautiful interesting Papua New Guinea lizard is abused for Pentagon greenwashing.

More about greenwashing by militarists is here.

February 2014: The endless stick-ability of geckos’ feet have inspired researchers to develop a reusable adhesive tape: here.

Geckos take advantage of van der Waals forces to run across ceilings:  here.

11 thoughts on “New gecko discovery in Papua New Guinea

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