Shake that healthy tail! Queensland Museum has unveiled a new species of fat-tailed gecko.
Queensland Museum herpetologist Patrick Couper and his colleague, Paul Oliver from the Australian National University, discovered the new species, Diplodactylus ameyi, which is named in honour of fellow Queensland Museum herpetologist Dr Andrew Amey. (A herpetologist is someone who studies reptiles and amphibians.)
A specialised termite predator found in outback Queensland and northern New South Wales, Diplodactylus ameyi is tan to medium-dark brown with pale spots. It can grow up to 85 millimetres in length, and has a distinctive, broadly rounded snout.
It’s well camouflaged in the dry arid environments it inhabits, which might be why it took so long to find and catalogue. It also shelters during the day in disused spider burrows.
“We have been working, on and off, on this particular species-group for the last five years,” Mr Couper said.
“We recognised seven species of fat-tailed geckos back in 2014, but at the time, knew there was further work to do.”
Mr Couper has described over 50 reptile species during his career, including 24 geckos.
Queensland Museum Network CEO and Director Professor Suzanne Miller said the find was just another example of why 2016 is shaping up to be a big year for science in the region, with today’s announcement coming shortly after the success of the inaugural World Science Festival Brisbane.
“It is always exciting to learn about new species and discoveries like this, which help showcase the talents of the Queensland Museum’s researchers, highlighting the important, behind-the-scenes, work they do in documenting the state’s faunal diversity,” she said.
Science Minister Leeanne Enoch hailed the discovery as yet another example of the great work being done by Queensland scientists.
“Science is exhilarating; scientists question the world around us and develop new ideas and understandings that benefit our society,” she said.
“Queensland has an outstanding depth of high-quality scientific talent and I hope this newest discovery will help to inspire our next generation of aspiring scientists to follow a career in research.”
Fat-tailed geckos, you make the rockin’ world go round.