Watch: New gecko ID’d in India

Biologists found that India's painted leopard gecko is a unique species: Credit: Sanjay Kumar and Avinash Ch.

Deep in the forests of India lives a colorful gecko species that only recently revealed its true identity. Meet Eublepharis pictus, also known as the painted leopard gecko.

In 2017, researchers Zeeshan Mirza, of the National Centre for Biological Sciences in Bangalore, and C. Gnaneswar, of the Madras Crocodile Bank Trust in Chennai, found a gecko in a water tank during a field survey. Back then, they identified it as an East Indian leopard gecko (Eublepharis hardwickii).

After examining molecular data, they found it is a separate species. They published their discovery in Evolutionary Systematics.

Even though the painted leopard gecko seems to be widespread across the state of Odisha and northern Andhra Pradesh, the researchers worry about its conservation. “The species is collected for the pet trade and even now may be smuggled illegally,” wrote the authors, who refrained from giving out the exact locations where it is found.

Watch the video below.