Fish-scale gecko in Madagascar evades predators by getting naked – Los Angeles Times

Talk about escaping by the skin of your teeth! Scientists have discovered a new type of gecko — an evasive little lizard who can escape predators’ grip not just by dropping its tail, but by shedding the scales on its skin.

The new species Geckolepis megalepis, described in the journal PeerJ, has big, fish-like scales, larger than any of the other gecko species in its genus. It’s also the first new Geckolepis species to be described in 75 years, and the first currently recognized species in 123 years.

G. megalepis lives in northern Madagascar, where it appears to be found only around the limestone karst of the Ankarana massif. While other geckos do have scales that can slip off passively, Geckolepis seems to have a certain amount of control over the process.

This has created problems for scientists trying to study the genus Geckolepis; capturing the lizards without losing their scales in the process has been a total pain for more than 120 years.


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