New gecko species discovered to clear up taxonomic confusion
The specimen had been found many times before, but it had been misclassified in several zoological collections and identified as a Tropiocolotes scorteccii. A 2015 expedition to the south of Oman led by Tomas Mazuch, co-author of the article, set off the alarms. "Once we analysed the gecko genetically at the IBE, we saw that it was definitely a new species," says Salvador Carranza, principal investigator of the IBE, responsible for the research and member of the Reptile Database Scientific Advisory Board (SAB). The team decided to name the new species Tropiocolotes Confusus - after the confusion.
The T. confusus is a very small gecko species - 5 cm in total length -, strictly nocturnal and fragile in appearance - despite being able to adapt and live in very arid places. Neither the ecology nor the abundance or diet of the species has been described yet. Like other species of Tropiocolotes (dragons), confusus moves very slowly while waving its tail when threatened. This behaviour could be a mechanism to divert attention from predators to this limb, which regenerates with ease.
Currently in Oman 16 species of endemic reptiles coexist, many considering that they are half of those found throughout the Spanish territory. 10 of them have been described by Dr. Carranza's laboratory, contributing to the knowledge of the diversity of this country in a meaningful way.
Reference article: Systematics of the Saharo-Arabian clade of the Palearctic naked-toed geckos with the description of a new species of Tropiocolotes endemic to Oman; Luis Machado, Jiri Smid, Tomás Mazuch, Roberto Sindaco, Ahmed Said Al Shukaili, Salvador Carranza. J Zool Syst Evol Res. 2018;1–20. DOI: 10.1111/jzs.12226