- Scientists discovered a new species of paragliding gecko in India.
- The smiling reptiles use skin flaps along their body to fly from tree to tree.
- The discovery highlights a lack of documentation of the region’s biodiversity, researchers said.
Scientists have discovered a new species of paragliding geckos in India, according to a May study published in Nature, highlighting the lack of comprehensive documentation of the region’s biodiversity.
The wide-eyed, smiling reptiles were discovered while researchers were surveying gecko populations in northeastern India.
The creature’s scientific name is Gekko mizoramensis, but scientists have dubbed the mini-lizards “parachute geckos” due to their habit of gliding from tree to tree.
The animals use flaps of skin alongside their bodies and tails to glide through the air.
Parachute geckos live across Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, and Cambodia, but this is the first time researchers clocked the new species in India, according to the study.
Scientists found that the geckos discovered in India are distinct from other types of parachute geckos, some of which can glide up to 200 feet.
The Gekko mizoramensis are nocturnal and use scent simulations to protect themselves as they fly. The reptiles were most active around the onset of dusk, hunting and ambushing their prey, which includes beetles, roaches, moths, and other insects, according to the study.
Investigators captured the geckos by hand while conducting surveys in India. All the reptiles were found at heights about 150 to 360 cm above the ground.