Scaly creature — with yellow eyelids — found lurking in forest. It’s a new species

On a hot and humid night in Vietnam, a scaly creature perched on a rock in the middle of a forest. The animal had yellow eyelids and a mosaic-like pattern.

It turned out to be a new species.

Scientists visited the forests of Binh Dinh Province several times between 2016 and 2022 to survey the area’s reptiles, according to a study published April 29 in the peer-reviewed journal Zootaxa.

During their visits, researchers found six geckos with yellow eyelids, the study said. At first, they thought the lizards were a new population of a known species, but when they took a closer look, they realized they’d discovered a new species: Cyrtodactylus binhdinhensis, or the Binh Dinh bent-toed gecko.

Binh Dinh bent-toed geckos are considered “medium”-sized, reaching up to 6.2 inches in length, the study said. They have “slender” limbs, yellow eyelids and a “neckband” around their throats.

A Cyrtodactylus binhdinhensis, or Binh Dinh bent-toed gecko, perched on a leaf. Photo from Dang Trong Do via Ngo, Do, Do, Pham, Bui, Ho, Nguyen, Ziegler and Le (2024)A Cyrtodactylus binhdinhensis, or Binh Dinh bent-toed gecko, perched on a leaf. Photo from Dang Trong Do via Ngo, Do, Do, Pham, Bui, Ho, Nguyen, Ziegler and Le (2024)

A Cyrtodactylus binhdinhensis, or Binh Dinh bent-toed gecko, perched on a leaf. Photo from Dang Trong Do via Ngo, Do, Do, Pham, Bui, Ho, Nguyen, Ziegler and Le (2024)


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A photo shows the brown mosaic-like coloring of a Binh Dinh bent-toed gecko. Its eyes are almost greenish-yellow with some bright yellow scales around the top. The rest of its body is a mixture of dark brown blotches on a light tan-brown background.

Binh Dinh bent-toed geckos were found lurking on rocks near a small forest stream at night, the study said.

Researchers said they named the new species after Binh Dinh Province because it was discovered there and, so far, has only been found there. This province borders the South China Sea and is about 300 miles northeast of Ho Chi Minh City.

The new species was identified by its size, scale pattern, coloring, DNA and other subtle physical features, the study said.

The research team included Hanh Thi Ngo, Quyen Hanh Do, Dang Trong Do, Cuong The Pham, Thanh Phuong Thi Bui, Anh Thi Ngoc Ho, Truong Quang Nguyen, Thomas Ziegler and Minh Duc Le.

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