New unusually large species of gecko found at Kalthota

Ifham Nizam – island.lk

A team of research scientists have discovered an unusually large gecko species at Kalthota, Sri Lanka.

This new gecko species was named as Hemidactylus kimbulae. Due to its large body size, and so far only found in the environs ofthe Duvili Ella area, the team thought it was better to name it as “kimbulae”, said lead scientist Dr. Thasun Amarasinghe.

The research team comprises Dr. Thasun Amarasinghe from the University of Indonesia, Suranjan Karunarathna from Nature Explorations & Education Team Sri Lanka, Dr. Patrick Cambel from Natural History Museum London, Majintha Madawala from Victorian Herpetological Society Australia, and the Father of Sri Lanka’s herpetology, Dr. Anslem de Silva from Amphibia and Reptile Research Organisation of Sri Lanka.

Dr. Amarasinghe told The Island that the newly discovered gecko species, almost one foot long, was found only on the walls and in crevices inside rock caves within the patchy forested areas in the savanna type ecosystem.

However, he said that no rock caves were observed in the grassland habitat; it has also never been observed on rock walls outside the caves.

Researcher Suranjan Karunarathna says that also for its closest relative, another giant gecko species found in Eastern Sri Lankan savannah forests, Himidactylus hunae is commonly known as “kimbul hunae” or “maha gal-hoona”.

Although this species found within a protected area, the Duvili Ella Forest Reserve, the area outside this protected range is highly threatened by pegmatite exploitation for industrial use, probably for the production of glass and ceramics, according to Dr. De Silva.

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Chandana Sesath Jayakody

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