Discovered a new species of gecko in Arabia

Discovered a new species of gecko in Arabia

This new species, named Stenodactylus sharqiyahensis is most probably endemic to Sharqiyah Sands, as it has never been found outside the confines of this desert




Spanish scientists researching on Oman's reptiles have discovered a new species of gecko. Found only in Sharqiyah Sands, the new species has thus been named Stenodactylus sharqiyahensis. IBE researchers leaded by Salvador Carranza published a study on December 6 that demonstrates that Arabian short-fingered geckos of the genus Stenodactylus that live in Sharqiyah Sands are different from those in the rest of Arabia, and describes them as a new species.

"This new species is most probably endemic to Sharqiyah Sands, as it has never been found outside the confines of this desert.

"To highlight this important relationship, we named it Stenodactylus sharqiyahensis, after this ecologically relevant area of Oman," said Dr Carranza in an e-mailed reply to Muscat Daily from Spain.

He added that with this new addition, Oman's list of reptiles has 90 different species, 13 of which are not found anywhere else in the world.
"It is very interesting as this animal does not live anywhere else in the world but in Sharqiyah Sands in Oman, so another relevant animal that Omanis should be proud of," said Dr Carranza.

The discovery of this new species is the result of more than five years of work by the group led by Dr Carranza that is based at the Institute of Evolutionary Biology in Barcelona, Spain.

Dr Carranza has been carrying out research on reptile fauna in the country for more than ten years, and in 2012 he also described eight species of geckos of the genus Hemidactylus from Oman; six of them endemic to the country.
The project 'Field study for the conservation of the reptiles of Oman', funded by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs, was launched in 2013.

This allowed the researchers to carry out fieldwork in Oman during April, May and October this year, and gather more data on the country's reptile species.

Apart from these new species that can be clearly differentiated just by their distinctive morphology, the team has found several populations of lizards that are genetically very different from all known taxa.

"The total number of known reptile species in Oman is now 90, but this number will increase soon as a result of our ongoing investigations in the country," said Dr Carranza.