Jeypore ground gecko, Geckoella jeyporensis (2)

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Habitat: India
Status: Data Deficient — but not extinct!

This elusive gecko, the Jeypore Ground Gecko (Geckoella jeyporensis) had last been spotted by British colonel RH Beddome in the Eastern Ghats in 1877. Everyone thought it had gone extinct since then… but they were wrong!

In 2010-11, a PhD student of Centre for Ecological Sciences (CES), Ishan Agarwal, and his team spotted it again in Orissa, Bombay Natural History Society senior scientist Varad Giri told TOI.

“The only clues [to find it] were in the original description, which said that this species was collected under a rock in a forest at 4,200 ft on ‘Patinghe Hill, Jeypore’ – meaning high elevation forest areas (@1,000m) in the Eastern Ghats,” Agarwal told IANS.

Giri studied this rare find. “After properly studying its features and taxonomy, we were thrilled to learn that this is the same gecko which became ‘extinct’ 135 years ago.”

Giri and Agarwal said that besides being morphologically unique and endemic to a region not traditionally known to harbour many endemics, this species appears restricted to a very specialised habitat in the Eastern Ghats, semi-evergreen forests above 1,000 m elevation.

“This discovery leads us to conclude that the country’s Eastern Ghats are more biodiverse than previously believed. There is a strong need for the authorities concerned to protect the region, its flora and fauna,” Giri urged.

— Read the full story at Times of India.

these “rediscovery” stories are my absolute favorite kind of news! Love it!