New gecko species discovered
November 8, 2008
A previously unknown species of gecko has been discovered in the South Pacific by French scientists, reports the Associated Press.
The species, named Lepidodactylus bulel, was described by scientists after it hatched out of an egg at France’s National Museum of Natural History — some 12,000 miles from Espiritu Santo, its island home in the South Pacific. Espiritu Santo is part of the Vanuatu archipelago east of Australia.
The 3-inch-long (8 cm) species was first sighted by scientists during a 2006 expedition when a surveyor accidently killed an individual while climbing in the forest canopy. The researchers then scoured the canopy until they found eggs which they took back to France for further study. Only one of the eggs hatched but the specimen was enough to show that the gecko was indeed a new species.
French scientist Ivan Ineich holds Lepidodactylus buleli, a newly described species of lizard at France’s Natural History Museum. Photo cortesy of AP Photo/Francois Mori
Lepidodactylus bulel is likely endemic to Vanuatu. Overall, 21 percent of the island’s described animal species are found nowhere else.
More than a third of Vanuatu is forested. The country recently was accepted into the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility, a scheme to compensate developing countries for protecting their forest cover.