Say hello to the bumblebee gecko!
The fetching fellow above is a new species of gecko with black and gold bands that was discovered deep in the tropical forests of Papua New Guinea. Its distinct coloration has earned it the official name of ‘Nactus kunan’ – ‘kunan’ means ‘bumblebee’ in the local Nali Language.
The lizard, discovered by researchers from the U.S. Geological survey, measures roughly 13 cm (5 inches) from head to tail, and sports rows of skin nodules that make it easier for it to conceal itself on the forest floor. This particular gecko was found on Manus Island in March 2010.
Robert Fisher of the USGS Western Ecological Research Center, who along with biologists from the Papua New Guinea National Museum discovered the gecko, says:
“It belongs to a genus of slender-toed geckos, which means these guys don’t have the padded, wall-climbing toes like the common house gecko.”
Despite the bumblebee gecko’s nifty ability to blend with its jungle environment, Fisher found two on Manus Island in 2010, and demonstrated the lizards were entirely new finds after an analysis of their genetics. Fisher’s expedition group also discovered two further gecko species – these are awaiting analysis to determine how new they are.
Herpetologist George Zug of the Smithsonian Institution, co-author of the report on the newest addition to the wide-ranging gecko family, said of the bumblebee gecko:
“This species was a striking surprise, as I’ve been working on the genus since the 1970s and would not have predicted this discovery.”