Tuesday, 19 Jan 2021
An international research team, studying reptile fauna in the sultanate, has discovered a new species of gecko of the genus Asaccus endemic to the Eastern Hajar Mountains of Oman.

Researchers learn new gecko species endemic to Eastern Hajar Mountains

With the new discovery, the total quantity of reptile species found so far by the team has reached 21 given that 2012, taking the total quantity of reptile species in Oman to 101, of which 20 are endemic to the sultanate.

“We have just published a new manuscript in which we describe a new species of gecko endemic to the Eastern Hajar Mountains. I think that it is a very important discovery that highlights again how little we still know about the interesting biodiversity of the Hajar Mountains, one of the top biodiversity hot-spots in the whole of Arabia,” stated Dr Salvador Carranza from the Institute of Evolutionary Biology, Spain, who has been researching on reptiles in Oman for more than a decade.

The new species has been named Asaccus arnoldi in honour of Dr E Nicholas Arnold for his life-lengthy dedication and contribution to Arabian herpetology, which includes the description of the small-recognized gecko Asaccus gallagheri (a close relative to the newly described species) 45 years ago, explained Dr Carranza.

“With only 3cm of body size, this elegantly built big-eyed slim gecko endemic to the Eastern Hajars is very small and despite being nocturnal it presents sexually dimorphic tail colour, being white barred black in females and bright orange-yellow in males,” he stated.

The Hajar Mountains is a special mountain variety and so far it has 20 described endemic species of reptiles, Dr Carranza added, saying that several a lot more species will be described quickly.

a“As a result of its relatively old geological origin, complex topography, environmental heterogeneity and geographic isolation from other mountain ranges, its fauna and flora have diversified significantly producing high levels of endemicity, particularly amongst reptiles,” he stated.

Several genetic research indicate that this diversity might nonetheless be underestimated, particularly inside some groups containing morphologically comparable species like the nocturnal geckos of the genus Asaccus. “We therefore suggest that these mountains should be a priority focal point for conservation in Arabia,” he concluded.

The study is getting undertaken with the collaboration from the Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs, Oman, CIBIO/InBIO, Portugal and the University of California, US.

The initial author of the study, published in the International Journal Systematics and Biodiversity, is Marc Simó-Riudalbas and supported by Thuraya al Sariri from MECA along with other researchers.

Information Source: Muscat Daily

Check Also

Face masks out of stock in Muscat pharmacies

Pharmacies in 19 currently sweeping the world.