VietNamNet Bridge - Scientists recently announced a new gecko species in the Ba Na - Nui Chua Nature Reserve in Da Nang City.


According to information on the website of the Academy of Science and Technology of Vietnam, the new species has a scientific name as Hemiphyllodactylus banaensis. This species is common in the evergreen forest atop Ba Na Mountain.

Previously included within H. yunnanensis, the new species is distinguished from all other congeners by having the unique combination of a maximum SVL of 48.2 mm in males and 51.0 mm in females.

It also has seven chin scales extending transversely from the union of the first and second infralabials and posterior margin of mental; enlarged postmental scales; 9–12 supralabials; 9–11 infralabials; 18–20 longitudinally arranged dorsal scales at midbody contained within one eye diameter; 20–21 precloacal and femoral pore-bearing scales contiguous in males and 0–20 contiguous pore-bearing precloacal scales in females.

There are dorsal patterns on body composed of transverse blotches and two whitish stripes across shoulder extending to sacrum; postsacral mark whitish brown and bearing anteriorly projecting arms; and caecum and oviducts unpigmented.

The Ba Na–Nui Chua Nature Reserve is a large protected area of 8,838 ha and reaching 1,487 m in elevation at Ba Na Peak. The reserve encompasses a diverse array of habitats in central Vietnam northwest of Da Nang City and protects the watershed areas that drain the eastern slopes of the Truong Son Mountain Range.

The first specimens of Hemiphyllodactylus Bleeker reported from Vietnam came from Bourret (1937) who described H. typus chapaensis from Sa Pa, Lao Cai Province, in the northwest.

Only one additional specimen of Hemiphyllodactylus was collected from central Vietnam and was tentatively identified as H. yunnanensis. Grismer et al. (2013) demonstrated with an integrative taxonomic approach that Hemiphyllodactylus was far more diverse than the most recent morphological taxonomic revision indicated.

They reported that the Lao Cai Province specimen (Bourret 1937) represented a range extension of H. dushanensis Zhou & Liu from China. They also indicated that the southern representative of H. yunnanensis group was the sister taxon of H.dushanensis and considered it an unidentified new species, Hemiphyllodactylus  10.

During a series herpetological surveys in Ba Na–Nui Chua Nature Reserve during 2012–2013, scientists collected ten specimens of Hemiphyllodactylus 10 and confirmed that this population cannot be ascribed to any known species of Hemiphyllodactylus based on morphology and therefore it is considered as new.

The findings were published in the international journal Zootaxa this month.

Na Son