A Griffith University student has played a key role in the discovery and description of a new gecko species – the eye-catching yellow-snouted bent-toed gecko from a mountain forest in Papua New Guinea.
Denise Karkkainen, a Bachelor of Science in Ecology and Conservation Biology graduate, was hand-picked by lecturer Dr Paul Oliver, who is also a member of Griffith’s Environmental Futures Research Institute and a Queensland Museum curator, to collaborate on describing the colourful new species Cyrtodactylus manus.
The sole specimen is a female, collected back in 2001, but with no additional specimens forthcoming Dr Oliver enlisted the help of Karkkainen in describing it in Queensland Museum’s labs for this latest study, published in the journal Zootaxa.
Comparatively small for the Cyrtodactylus genus at just 73mm, this new species was also distinguished by its distinctive colouration and body and tail scalation.
The yellow-snouted bent-toed gecko adds to the growing number of vertebrate species known only from the limestone mountains along the southern edge of New Guinea’s Central Cordillera.
“Dr Oliver offered the opportunity to work with him at Queensland Museum and collaborate on describing a new gecko species, which was mind blowing in itself,” Karkkainen said. MORE
Header image: Crytodactylus manos close-up. A close-up of the yellow-snouted bent-toed gecko. Credit: S Richards.