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Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Two Mumbai researchers discover new species of fan-throated lizard

This is the second species to be discovered from the open scrub and rock terrain of northern Karnataka after Hemidactylus vijayraghavani, a gecko. Many of these newly described species occur outside protected areas and are at risk of being wiped out.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai | Published: July 8, 2020 3:20:16 am
Mumbai researchers, National Centre for Biological Sciences, ncbs, fan-throated lizard, fan-throated lizar new species, fan-throated lizard discovered in karnatka, indian express news This is the second species to be discovered from the open scrub and rock terrain of northern Karnataka. (Express Photo)

Two Mumbai researchers were part of a three-member team of Bengaluru-based National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS) that discovered a new species of a fan-throated lizard, Sitana dharwarensis, from the barren lands of northern Karnataka’s Bagalkot district.

The study, authored by Mayuresh Ambekar (24), Zeeshan Mirza (32), from Mumbai, and Mangaluru-resident Arya Murthy (17), was published in Bonn zoological Bulletin this week. The new species is similar to a fan-throated lizard species Sitana laticeps. But Sitana dharwarensis bears a much larger throat fan or dewlap. Its distinctness was confirmed after comparing the DNA sequences and micro-CT-scans of the two species.

“We came across this species while conducting a survey of geckos. When we found a difference in characteristics of this gecko, we documented it for the paper,” said Mirza. Its name Sitana dharwarensis has been derived from the Dharwar craton — a piece of the Earth’s crust formed 3.6-2.5 billion years ago.

This is the second species to be discovered from the open scrub and rock terrain of northern Karnataka after Hemidactylus vijayraghavani, a gecko. Many of these newly described species occur outside protected areas and are at risk of being wiped out.

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