Mistaken Identity

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In the dense forests of northern Madagascar, a newly discovered leaf-tailed gecko species has amazed scientists with its remarkable camouflage abilities, the New York Times reported.

The Uroplatus garamaso can blend into their surroundings perfectly – even better than chameleons, researchers wrote.

During the day, these geckos rest on tree trunks, nearly invisible, thanks to their fringe-covered flanks, chin beards, and flattened tails. At night, they emerge to hunt for invertebrate prey.

The team noted that the newly found reptile was often mistaken for another leaf-tailed gecko species called U. henkeli. While the two geckos had some subtle differences, it was the tip of the U. garamaso’s tongue that stood out – it’s black while other species have differently colored tongues.

But scientists are still puzzled as to why these geckos have different tongue colors. Some speculate that they could be part of a private communication signal, a means of species differentiation, or even related to mating or combat.

The authors noted that the U. garamaso geckos have a complex evolutionary history that’s not yet fully understood. They’ve expanded into various species in the mountainous regions of Madagascar, suggesting common historical events or environmental factors driving their speciation.

The discovery adds to our understanding of Madagascar’s biodiversity patterns and raises the possibility of more undiscovered leaf-tailed gecko species in this unique habitat.

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