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New gecko species found in Meghalaya named in honour of Indian Army

Indian Army's bent-toed gecko, discovered recently in Meghalaya has been named after the forces for their bravery and courage

Now Indian Army will find mention in science books as Jayaditya Purkayastha, a herpetologist from Assam has named a new species of bent-toed gecko lizard, discovered at a military station in Meghalaya, after them.

The new species was found from Umroi Military Station in Ri-Bhoi district. While its scientific name is Cyrtodactylus exercitus (exercitus in Latin means army), it will be known as Indian army’s bent-toed gecko in English.

Talking to EastMojo, Purkayastha, Help Earth’s general secretary, remarked: “One of the best ways to serve the motherland is by protecting it and its citizens and who better than the Indian armed forces. The biggest fear that haunts us is our death and the Army men embrace 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 make us sleep peacefully with a belief that our nation is in safe hands.

He went on to add that this species was collected from a very small rocky patch within the cantonment area. “During the survey, we could not find any Cyrtodactylus within the whole cantonment area except in this patch.”

The find came about as a part of ongoing research to uncover herpetofaunal diversity of Northeast India and its details were published in the latest issue of European Journal of Taxonomy. The paper also revealed that another new bent-toed gecko, the Cyrtodactmylus siahaensis named after Mizoram’s Siaha district was also found.

Other authors of this twin study include Sanath Chandra Bohra of Help Earth, Yashpal Singh Rathee of Umroi Military Station, Hmar Tlawmte Lalremsanga, Vabeiryureilai Mathipi, Lal Biakzuala and Lal Muansanga of Mizoram University’s Department of Zoology and Beirathie Litho of a school in the Siaha district.

There are about 320 species of Cyrtodactylus across the world and they are found from South Asia to Melanesia with South Asia having a high diversity. At present India is home to 40 species of the bent-toed gecko with 16 of them found in the northeast.

Also read: Agile gecko of Western Ghats named after Jackie Chan!