New gecko species discovered in Vietnam and China

A new species of the genus Gekko was discovered in Cao Bang Province (Vietnam) and Guangxi Province (China). The new species, Gekko adleri (Nguyen, Wang, Yang, Lehmann, Le, Ziegler & Bonkowski, 2013), was named after Prof. Kraig Adler, a famous herpetologist from the United States of America. Description of the new species was published in Zootaxa (No. 3652, May 2013) by a group of scientists from Vietnam, China and Germany.


Adler’s Gecko Gekko adleri. Photo: Nguyen Quang Truong


The new species can be identified by the following morphological characters: maximum snout-vent length up to 75 mm, tail length up to 83 mm; one internasal scale, smaller than the supranasal scale; postmental scales enlarged; 27–36 interorbital scales between anterior corners of the eyes; 7–11 dorsal tubercle rows; 168–190 ventral scales between mental and cloacal slit; 123–144 scale rows at midbody; 35–44 ventral scale rows; 11–15 subdigital lamellae on fourth toe; tubercles absent on upper surface of forelimbs; 0–8 tubercles present on tibia; 17–21 precloacal pores in males; one postcloacal tubercle; tubercles present on dorsal surface of tail base; subcaudal scales enlarged; upper head and body grey or dark grey, dorsal surface of body with four or five narrow light bands between shoulder and sacrum. This gecko species inhabits secondary limestone forests, with mixed small hardwoods, shrubs and vines. It is a rock-dwelling specialist. Specimens of this gecko were found on walls in cave entrances, limestone cliffs and crevices, as well as on isolated limestone boulders. The prey items in the stomachs of this gecko comprise spiders, crickets, wasps and moths.


The discovery of G. adleri brings the species number of the genus Gekko to 12 in Vietnam. It is noted that the limestone forests in Ha Lang and Trung Khanh districts (Cao Bang Province) are still not included in any protected area, however, this area harbours a high level of biodiversity, with three new species discovered in 2012 and 2013: Oligodon nagao, Gracixalus waza and Gekko adleri.


Nguyen Quang Truong


Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources

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