Researchers Discover And Describe New Gecko Species From Cambodia

April 13, 2020

Researchers have described a new species of bent-toed gecko (Cyrtodactylus phnomchiensis) hailing from Cambodia’s Prey Lang Wildlife Sanctuary. The reptile is 76.1 to 80.7mm in length, from snout to vent, and brownish in coloration with white or yellowish-white bands that run from its tail to its neck.

Cyrtodactylus phnomchiensis

Thy Neang

The bent-toed gecko (Cyrtodactylus phnomchiensis) was found in Cambodia’s Prey Lang Wildlife Sanctuary.

It was discovered in July 2019 by Thy Neang, a Wild Earth Allies biologist. Neang was conducting field surveys on Phnom Chi mountain when he happened upon the lizard.

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"It was an extremely unexpected discovery. No one thought there were undescribed species in Prey Lang," Neang said in a press release put out by the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.  "This exciting discovery adds another reptile species to science for Cambodia and the world. It also highlights the global importance of Cambodia's biodiversity and illustrates the need for future exploration and biological research in Prey Lang," Neang said.

Cyrtodactylus phnomchiensis is found in rocky outcrops that are a staple ecosystem of the Phnom Chi mountains and is thought to have a very limited geographic range. Because of this narrow range, the researchers say that an assessment of the species is warranted by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species due to threats to its habitat, small range, and the fact that the lizard is uncommon.


"When [Neang] first returned from fieldwork and told me that he had found a species in the C. irregularis group so far west of the Mekong River in Cambodia, I did not believe it. His discovery underscores how much unknown biodiversity remains out there in unexpected places. Clearly, Prey Lang Wildlife Sanctuary is important for biodiversity and deserves attention," said Neang's co-author, North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences' Herpetologist Bryan Stuart.

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