Cnemaspis kohukumburai (2019)

Another of the controversial new entrants, Cnemaspis kohukumburai is named after Uwa-Wellassa hero Kohukumbure Walawwe Rate Rala. It was discovered from a tropical wet evergreen forested area in Kadugannawa in the central Kandy district, and is restricted to rock outcrops and granite caves. Recorded only in three locations, this gecko is considered critically endangered.

Named to honor yet another hero from the Uva-Wellassa rebellion, C. kohukumburai was discovered from a tropical wet evergreen forested area in Kadugannawa. Image courtesy of Sameera Suranjan Karunarathna.

Cnemaspis kumarasinghei (2007)

A small-sized species, this gecko is found on trees in hilltops and, unlike many others, generally in male-female pairs. The species is named after wildlife ranger Siril Kumarasinghe, who was killed in the line of duty in 2007.

Unlike most other day geckos, C. kumarasinghei is often found in pairs. Image courtesy of Mendis Wickramasinghe.

Cnemaspis latha (2007)

Also known as the Bandarwela round-eyed day gecko, this species is named after the Sinhala word for pretty, elegant or beautiful. It’s only known from a single species found in Bandarawella in the hilly district of Badulla.

Cnemaspis menikay (2007)

Discovered in the Ihala Kaluglla area in Alawwa in the Kegalle district, its abundance is only known from its original description. In Sinhala, menike means jewel or precious gem, denoting it as something of great value. It is also a term of endearment used for women from central Sri Lanka.

Cnemaspis molligodai (2007)

Ratnapura is home to many Cnemaspis species, among them Molligoda’s day gecko. It’s found in the split bark of large isolated trees up to the canopy, often in colonies of 30 to 40 members, distributed in lowland wet zones. It was named in honor of Hayasith Molligoda for his commitment to the conservation of Sri Lanka’s reptile fauna.

Ratnapura is home to many Cnemaspis species, among them Molligoda’s day gecko. Image courtesy of Mendis Wickramasinghe.

Cnemaspis nandimthrai (2019)

Another of the species named this year after one of the Ten Giant Warriors, and a target of the nationalist outrage over the perceived slight to the national hero. This critically endangered species was discovered from an area in the Kudumbigala Sanctuary, in the eastern district of Ampara. Individuals are restricted to rock outcrops and the interior of granite caves in forested areas.

This critically endangered day gecko is restricted to rock outcrops and the interior of granite caves in forested areas in Kudumbigala sanctuary in Sri Lanka’s east. Image courtesy of Sameera Suranjan Karunarathna.

Cnemaspis nilgala (2019)

The Nilgala day gecko was discovered in the savanna of the same name, an area that’s the homeland of Sri Lanka’s aboriginal community, the Nilgala. The savanna is also home to 17 known gecko species, though it faces threats from deforestation, logging, and granite mining.

Cnemaspis pava (2007)

Discovered in the Nawalapitiya area of the central district of Kandy, this diminutive species of day gecko is named for its size. In Latin, pava means “small,” and the name refers both to this slender gecko from the cool hillocks of the tea-growing region and the restricted habitat in which it can be found.

Cnemaspis phillipsi (2007)

Another species discovered from the Gammaduwa tea estate in the central Matale district. It’s named after plantation owner W.W.A. Phillips (1892-1981), who apparently collected the first specimens of the species in Gammaduwa.

This unusually patterned day gecko is named after plantation owner W.W.A. Phillips. Image courtesy of Sameera Suranjan Karunarathna.

Cnemaspis podihuna (1944)

Cnemaspis podihuna was first described in 1944 from Lahugala Kitulana National Park in Eastern province. It’s a small species that lives in the boles and buttresses of trees. Recent records indicate it’s also found in Koslanda, Badulla, Pallegama, Mathugama, Buttala, Central, Uva and Western provinces.

This day gecko was first described in 1944 from a national park in the island’s east. Image courtesy of Mendis Wickramasinghe.

Cnemaspis pulchra (2007)

Cnemaspis pulchra was described in 2007 from the evergreen Rakwana hills located in Ratnapura district. The species name comes from the Latin for pretty, elegant or beautiful.

Described from the Rakwana hills from the biodiversity-rich district of Ratnapura, this gecko is know for its distinct appearance. Image courtesy of Sameera Suranjan Karunarathna.

Cnemaspis punctate (2007)

Yet another from the class of 2007, and also discovered from the Gammaduwa tea estate. Its abundance is only known from its original description.

Cnemaspis rajakarunai (2016)

This species is named after Henry Rajakaruna, one of Sri Lanka’s most illustrious photographers. It’s a rock-dwelling species that’s native to the lush lowland rainforest near Salgala in Kegalle district.

Cnemaspis rammalensis (2014)

This is the largest known species of day gecko in Sri Lanka. It’s a rock-dwelling species that’s found in the unique habitat of the Rammalakanda Forest, after which it’s named. The habitat is threatened by extensive deforestation. It was first described in the Gannoruwa area in the central district of Kandy.

Cnemaspis retigalensis (2007)

In the Weweltenna area of Retigala, in Sri Lanka’s northwest, this small sized day gecko was discovered at an elevation of about 710 meters (2,330 feet) above sea level. It’s named after the forest where it lives, and can be found in hilltop trees or on rocks.

This diminutive day gecko is named after the forest region where it lives, Retigala. Image courtesy of Mendis Wickramasinghe.

Cnemaspis samanalensis (2007)

Discovered from the Samanala upper region in Ratnapura district and described in 2007. It’s a medium-sized day gecko, and another described by the prolific pairing of Wickramasinghe and Munindradasa.

Described from the Samanala upper region, this gecko is named after its own habitat, as C. samanalensis. Image courtesy of Mendis Wickramasinghe.

Cnemaspis scalpensis (1877)

This day gecko was discovered from the cool central hills of Agarapatana in the district of Hatton and first described in 1877. It’s widespread across Sri Lanka, though more common in dry areas rather than the wet zone, where it tends to live among large rocks (hence its alternative name of rocky day gecko).

Also known as rocky day gecko, C. scalpensis was first described in 1877. Image courtesy of Sameera Suranjan Karunarathna.

Cnemaspis silvula (2007)

2007 was a bumper year for Cnemaspis descriptions, and this specimen from the Kombala-Kottawa Forest Reserve in the southern district of Galle was one of the vintages of that year. It’s name comes from the Latin for “forest.”

Cnemaspis tropidgaster (1885)

Known as the rough-bellied day gecko, this was one of the earliest known species, having first been described in 1885 from a specimen discovered in the picturesque region of Kanneliya, Waratalgoda and Athweltota in Ratnapura district. It’s not very common, but can sometimes be found in man-made structures.

The rough-bellied day gecko, or Cnemaspis tropidgaster is able to effortlessly blend into its backdrop. Image courtesy of Mendis Wickremesinghe.

Cnemaspis upendrai (2007)

Cnemaspis upendrai, another of the cohort described in 2007, is named in honor Siran Upendra Deraniyagala, Sri Lanka’s top archaeologist. It’s also known as the Pussellawa round-eyed day gecko, after the region from which it was first described.

 

Banner image of Anslem’s day gecko (Cnemaspis anslemi), named in honor of Sri Lanka’s “father of modern-day herpetology,” Anslem de Silva, courtesy of Sameera Suranjan Karunarathna.

Article published by dilrukshi
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