Monday, 10 November 2014

A new species of Phasmid Gecko from the Arnhem Plateau in Northern Territory, Australia.

Phasmid Geckos are small climbing Geckos of the genus Strophurus found across much of northern Australia, where they inhabit stands of Spinifex Grass (clump-forming grasses of the genus Triodia). They get their name from their resemblance to Stick Insects (Phasmids), being elongate, slow moving Lizards with camouflaging colouration, though the term is colloquial and is not applied to all members of the genus, which is defined by the presence of defensive glands that secrete a viscous fluid distasteful to predators.

In a paper published in the journal Zootaxa on 22 October 2014, PaulOliver of the Department of Zoology at the University of Melbourne, MuseumVictoria and the Research School of Biology at the Australian NationalUniversity and Tom Parkin of the Museum & Art Gallery of the NorthernTerritory describe a new species of Phasmid Gecko from the Arnhem Plateau in the Top End of the Northern Territory.

The new species is named Strophurus horneri, in honour of Paul Horner of the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, one of the scientists who helped collect the first specimens of the species. These are small slender Geckos, reaching less than 40 mm in total length. They are very pale in colour, being yellowish with distinct longitudinal stripes (stripes running along the body).

Strophurus horneriin life, at Yirrkakak on the northern edge of the Arnhem Plateau. RichGlor in Oliver & Parkin (2014).

Strophurus horneri was found to be living on the northern and western fringes of the Arnhem Plateau, a 32 000 km2 sandstone block rising 100-400 m above sea-level with a distinct climate and flora and fauna compared to the surrounding landscape.

Habitat of Strophurus horneri at Namarragon Gorge, Kakadu National Park. Stuart Young in Oliver & Parkin (2014).

See also…

The application of genetic studies to populations of widespread animals and plants in recent years has revealed that many widespread ‘species’ are in fact made up of several different cryptic species, which...

As with many other groups, studies of Australian Geckos have, in recent years, revealed the presence of many cryptic species; populations which resemble other species yet are genetically distinct and incapable of breeding with them. In 2013 Mark Sistrom of the...

In 1853 Lieutenant Colonel Edward Frederick Kelaart (1819-1860) of the Ceylon Medical Service published...

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