A new species of gecko revealed in Madagascar was spotted shedding its skin whenever it feels threatened by predators. This small lizard can escape predators by shedding all the scales on their skin. The new species which was recently uncovered is known as Geckolepis megalepis. The lizard has fish-like scales which seem to be larger compared to any other species of gecko.
- Scientists have finally had the chance to analyze a new species of gecko.
- For several years researchers tried to capture the gecko with fish-like scales.
- This lizard has a defense mechanism which allows it to shed its scales whenever it feels threatened.
Scientists argue that this is the first species to be unveiled in 123 years and the first Geckolepsis species which was described in 75 years. This small lizard lives in northern Madagascar, around the limestone karst usually found in the Ankarana massif. Nevertheless, there are other species of gecko which can passively shed their scales, but the new species seems to have a different control over this process.
Juan Diego Daza, the co-author of the study but also a herpetologist at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas, argues that the behavior of this new species of gecko is very different from the rest of the known species.
Scientists find it difficult to capture this animal due to its shedding process which did not allow them to study it in its initial form. It took scientists more than 120 years to catch the lizard. The authors of the survey stated that the process of collection is most likely to damage the new specimens. They also claimed that Voeltzkow tried to capture new species by using bundles of cotton, but even that did not prevent the gecko from losing some scales.
The oversized fish-like scales of this lizard appear to shed at the slightest sign of threat or perturbation, revealing the pink, smooth skin underneath the cover. These scales are very easy to be discarded due to their size. Researchers noted that bigger scales usually have a larger area to cover around the spot where they attach to the skin compared to small scales.
Thus, they are easier to tear away. However, researchers believe that there is also some kind of control mechanism which is actually specific to this new species of gecko. After examining it, they have established that the lizard contracts a layer of tissue located beneath the skin to help it shed the scales. The uppermost blood vessels of the skin are compressed to prevent bleeding.
Image courtesy of: pixabay