Posted by: Loren Coleman on October 31st, 2008
Two species of gecko have been discovered in the southern deserts of Western Australia and South Australia, report researchers from the Western Australian Museum.
The Cape Range Gecko (Diplodactylus capensis) is found only on the Northwest Cape near Exmouth, while the Southern Sandplain Gecko (Lucasium bungabinna), occurs in the southern deserts in Western Australia and South Australia, north of the Nullarbor Plain.
Western Australian Museum curator of herpetology Dr. Paul Doughty said the Cape Range Gecko had previously been confused with a similar-looking Pilbara species, but is more closely-related to southern species.
Male Cape Range Gecko (top) and Male Southern Sandplain Gecko (bottom). Image courtesy of the Western Australian Museum “What is fascinating about this species is its evolution in isolation on the northwest Cape, far from its nearest relatives more than 600 kms away,” he said. “The Cape Range is made up of an ancient block of limestone which has created a unique habitat to which the species has adapted.”
“Little is known of this new species and we are still in the process of describing other new species of reptiles from this special area of Western Australia.”
The second species is notable in that unlike closely-related ground-dwelling species which have lost the sticky toe pads used by climbing geckos, the Southern Sandplain Gecko has small toe pads for climbing low shrubs.
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