MUMBAI: Indian scientists have rediscovered a rare lizard that British colonel RH Beddome had last spotted in the Eastern Ghats in 1877.
“This elusive lizard, Geckoella jeyporensis, commonly named as Jeypore ground gecko, was believed to have become extinct since it was last seen in 1877. But in 2010-11, a PhD student of Centre for Ecological Sciences (CES), Ishan Agarwal, and his team spotted it again in Orissa,” Bombay Natural History Society senior scientist Varad Giri told TOI.
Giri studied this rare find. “After properly studying its features and taxonomy, we were thrilled to learn that this is the same gecko which became ‘extinct’ 135 years ago. This rediscovery was recently published in the scientific journal of Hamadryad,” said Giri.
The published work was the result of two years of collaboration between scientists from the CES, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore; Bombay Natural History Society, Mumbai; and Villanova University in the US.
The story of the rediscovery began in 2008-09, when Agarwal began working on the genus Geckoella. Ishan was desperate to find this lost species to understand more about its evolutionary history.
Finally, in 2010, a team from CES embarked on a trip to try and locate this species. The team included two members of the Karanth Lab, CES, Ishan Agarwal and Aniruddha Datta-Roy and their field assistant, Tarun Khichi.
They managed to find the Geckoella jeyporensis. The team re-assembled in 2011 and was able to find the species again in Andhra Pradesh.
Agarwal, Ishan, Aniruddha Datta-Roy, Aaron M. Bauer and Varad B. Giri. 2012. Rediscovery of Geckoella jeyporensis (Squamata: Gekkonidae), with notes on morphology, coloration and habitat. Hamadryad 36 (1): 17-24