Site icon Conservation news

New termite-eating, fat-tailed gecko found in Australia

  • Diplodactylus ameyi is described as tan to medium-dark brown with pale spots, which helps it blend in with its surroundings in the dry, arid environments it inhabits.
  • Like many other terrestrial geckos, it shelters in unused spider burrows during the day.
  • One of the more distinctive features of Diplodactylus ameyi, which can grow up to 85 millimetres in length, is its broad, rounded snout, which closely resembles its tail.

A new species of fat-tailed gecko has been discovered by scientists in Australia.

The gecko, which was given the name Diplodactylus ameyi, is a specialized termite predator found in outback Queensland and northern New South Wales.

Diplodactylus ameyi is described as tan to medium-dark brown with pale spots, which helps it blend in with its surroundings in the dry, arid environments it inhabits. Like many other terrestrial geckos, it shelters in unused spider burrows during the day.

Herpetologists Patrick Couper of the Queensland Museum and Paul Oliver of the Australian National University described the new species in a paper published in the journal Zootaxa. The scientists said they named Diplodactylus ameyi in honor of fellow herpetologist Dr. Andrew Amey, who manages Queensland Museum’s reptile and amphibian collections, as a tribute to Dr. Amey’s contributions to Australian herpetology.

One of the more distinctive features of Diplodactylus ameyi, which can grow up to 85 millimeters in length, is its broad, rounded snout, which closely resembles its tail.

Couper has described over 50 reptile species over the course of his career, including 24 geckos.

“We have been working, on and off, on this particular species-group for the last five years,” Mr Couper said in a statement. “We recognized seven species of fat-tailed geckos back in 2014 but, at the time, knew there was further work to do.”

Diplodactylus ameyi. Photo by Angus Emmott.
Diplodactylus ameyi. Photo by Steve Wilson.


CITATION