Lying in the Indian Ocean half way between Somalia and Yemen, the strange island archipelagos of Socotra offer a bewildering array of life found no where else on Earth. Thirty seven percent of its plant species, ninety percent of its reptiles, and ninety-five percent of its snail species are endemic.
Now biologists can add a new species to this list. Italian researchers unraveled the mystery of a gecko named Hemidactylus inintellectus (photo below). Inintellectus translates to ‘misunderstood’, since the gecko, which is common on the island, was consistently confused with other species.
“This new discovery raises the number of reptile species of Socotra to 26, with 23 species endemic of the island. And this is not a mere matter of numbers: when a species has no name it doesn’t exist, and it can’t be protected. That’s why biodiversity assessments are such an essential tool for conservation policies,” writes one of the researchers, herpetologist Fabio Pupin of the University of Pavia.
According to Pupin, Socotra is a reptile’s paradise (there are no amphibians on the island): “[Reptiles] are everywhere, from the high mountains of Haggeher to the desert lowland of the south coast, basking on tree branches as on nearly every rock around—and Socotra is a rocky place indeed! And even underground: there are, in fact, five worm-like reptiles, suited to a completely ctonian life.”
The new species of gecko prefers rocky areas and is nocturnal.
For more information and photos visit Herpfolio.
New gecko species from Socotra:Hemidactylus inintellectus. Photo by: Fabio Pupin.
Something out of science fiction? The Socotra seaside. Photo by: Fabio Pupin.
Mountains and trees of Socotra. Photo by: Fabio Pupin.
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(09/10/2009) Lying in the Indian Ocean half way between Somalia and Yemen, the strange island archipelagos of Socotra offer a bewildering array of life found no where else on Earth. Thirty seven percent of its plant species, ninety percent of its reptiles, and ninety-five percent of its snail species are endemic. Now biologists can add a new species to this list. Italian researchers unraveled the mystery of a gecko named Hemidactylus inintellectus. Inintellectus translates to ‘misunderstood’, since the gecko, which is common on the island, was consistently confused with other species.