New species of lizard discovered in Meghalaya and Mizoram

New Species Of Lizard Named In Honour Of Indian Army

February 19, 2022

A new species of lizard discovered at the Umroi Military Station in the Ri Bhoi district of Meghalaya has been named honouring the valour of the Indian army.

The discovery was made by a team of researchers. This was a part of ongoing research to uncover the herpetofaunal diversity of Northeast India.

"The scientific name of the newly discovered species of lizard is Cyrtodactylus exercitus. In Latin, exercitus means army. The name was given to honour the Indian army for their services to India. The English name of the species was given as the Indian army’s bent-toed gecko.  The genus Cyrtodactylus is represented by around 320 species worldwide and is the third most species vertebrate genus in the world. The members of the genus range from South Asia to Melanesia with high diversity in south Asia. Northeast India now homes to 16 species of bent-toed gecko," informed Jayaditya Purkayastha, a Guwahati-based herpetologist and general secretary of Help Earth, an NGO based in Guwahati.

"One of the best ways to serve my motherland is by protecting it and its citizens and who better does it than Indian armed forces.  The biggest fear that haunts us is our death and an army embraces death for our wellbeing. As long as I live, I will be in debt to my countries’ armed forces and this is my minuscule contribution to the forces that makes us sleep peacefully with a belief that our nation is in safe hands," he added.

Apart from Purukayastha, the other members of the research team were Sanath Chandra Bohra of Help Earth, Yashpal Singh Rathee of  Umroi Military Station, Hmar Tlawmte Lalremsanga, Vabeiryureilai Mathipi, Lal Biakzuala & Lal Muansanga of Dept of Zoology, Mizoram University and Beirathie Litho of RMSA School Lobo.

Apart from the discovery made in Umroi, the research team also discovered another species of bent-toed gecko from Mizoram's Siaha district. The species has been named after the district.

The finding of the study was published in the European Journal of Taxonomy.

The new species from Mizoram has the scientific name Cyrtodactylus siahaensis.

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