New “Bumblebee” gecko discovered in Papua New Guinea (Photo)

Biologists from the Papua New Guinea National Museum and the U.S. Geological Survey have discovered a new species of gecko, decked like a bumblebee with black-and-gold bands and rows of skin nodules that enhance its camouflage on the tropical forest floor.

Specimens of the lizard, which measures about 5 inches from head to tail, were collected in May 2010 in Sohoniliu Village on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea.

“Bumblebee” gecko discovered in Papua New Guinea

Image Credit: smithsonianscience.org

“We’ve officially named it Nactus kunan for its striking color pattern — kunan means ‘bumblebee’ in the local Nali language,” says Robert Fisher of the USGS Western Ecological Research Center. “It belongs to a genus of slender-toed geckos, which means these guys don’t have the padded, wall-climbing toes like the common house gecko, or the day gecko in the car insurance commercials.”

Fisher found two individuals of the bumblebee gecko on Manus Island in 2010 and analyzed their genetics to show that the lizards were new and distinctive. Two additional species were found that trip, and the specimens await further analysis.

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