Reptile Research / 2nd discovery of a new species during Exo Terra expedition
As during their Madagascar 2004 expedition, the Exo Terra team discovered a totally new gecko species deep in the rain forest of central Gabon during their expedition to that country in the spring of 2007.
The new tiny day gecko was spotted by team leader, and Exo Terra manager, Emmanuel Van Heygen. It took a team effort though to capture the tiny gecko for documenting, measuring and photographing. It is certain that this species is extremely rare, since only two specimens were found during very intense searches in the forests surrounding Langoue Bai in Ivindo National Parc.
The gecko, a member of the genus Lygodactylus, lives on vast networks of lianas close to the forest floor. When disturbed, or when sensing danger, these geckos immediately hit the leaf litter for cover. This makes it almost impossible to monitor, let alone capture them. Their size (only 70 mm), colour and speed make them even more elusive.
The gecko will be described in Olivier Pauwels next book on the reptiles of Gabon. Mr. Pauwels is a Belgian herpetologist and has worked as a WWF consultant in Gabon. Currently he is the Smithsonian Institution’s country manager for Gabon.