CHINA New high-altitude gecko species found in southwest China

CHINA

New high-altitude gecko species found in southwest China

Xinhua

07:56, April 09, 2021

File photo taken by a Chinese researcher shows a Gekko jinjiangensis in Derong County, Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, southwest China's Sichuan Province. (Photo: Xinhua)

BEIJING, April 8 (Xinhua) -- Chinese researchers have discovered a new species of gecko living at high altitude in southwest China's provinces of Sichuan and Yunnan.

The new species, called Gekko jinjiangensis, was found at an elevation of 2,000 to 2,476 meters, the highest of any known gecko, according to an article published in the journal Asian Herpetological Research.

The species lives along the Jinsha River basin, which is situated in the mountainous region of southwest China. The basin boasts a high degree of biodiversity but the ecosystem is fragile.

The discovery was made by researchers from the Chengdu Institute of Biology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences during a two-year investigation into amphibians and reptiles around the Jinsha River basin from 2019 to 2020.

The new gecko species can be distinguished by its small size, with a head-and-body length of between 50.2 and 61.6 millimeters.

The investigation showed that the new species lives in the hot and dry valley of the Jinsha River, often in bushes, among the stones and on the buildings. The researchers reported finding many more female geckos than male.

They estimated that the breeding season of the new species is likely to be around May or June, since the new-born young were found in August.

There are currently 77 species of geckos worldwide, mainly distributed in tropical and subtropical regions. China has 19 gecko species.

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