A biological treasure discovered amid the ruins of Hampi
news Saturday, April 18, 2015 - 05:30
A new species of day-gecko, a type of lizard, has been discovered in the ruins of Hampi, by researchers from Osmania University in Hyderabad. Hampi – a world heritage site in Karnataka, and its surroundings is a potential biodiversity rich area and a lot of smaller vertebrate and invertebrate diversity is yet to be taken into account, a press release said. The new species has been named Cnemaspis adii. The lizard belongs to the family of day geckos, which are characterized by round pupils, while regular geckos which have vertical pupils. The species was first observed by Dr. Bhargavi Srinivasulu in 2012 while surveying bats in the Hampi complex. Careful observations on the photographs of live animals and researching the known species of day geckos reported from India led to confirmation that the specimens belonged to a hitherto undescribed type.  Three voucher specimens later collected formed the basis of scientific description of this lizard. “These lizards were found to be active during the day time, seen on boulders and walls of temples and other ruins” said Dr. Bhargavi. Day geckos have been mostly reported from the Western Ghats and southern Eastern Ghats in peninsular India.  “Detection of the presence of day geckos in central regions of the peninsular India between the Eastern Ghats and Western Ghats is interesting and points to the fact that these regions are neglected with respect to documenting biological diversity, understanding habitat conditions and threats to habitats and species diversity dwelling therein” said Dr. Chelmala Srinivasulu, the lead author of the research paper.  “Majority of research efforts in India are centred around biodiversity hotspots – the Western Ghats and the Himalayas. The so called species-poor regions of peninsular India are home to many Gondwana-relict and ancient lineages of life forms. Our efforts are on to contribute to better understanding the biological diversity in such areas” he added. This discovery has been published in the prestigious journal Zootaxa this month by Chelmala Srinivasulu, G. Chethan Kumar and Bhargavi Srinivasulu of Wildlife Biology and Taxonomy Lab, Department of Zoology, Osmania University, Hyderabad.      
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