A NEW species of gecko discovered in the rocky foothills of the northwestern section of Cambodia’s Cardamom Mountains will be named after the Cambodian researcher who helped find it, the conservation group Fauna and Flora International (FFI) said Wednesday.
Neang Thy, a senior research officer at FFI, said scientists in the US have confirmed that Cnemaspis neangthyi, an olive-green gecko with white patches containing central black dots, is a hitherto unseen species.
Neang Thy said he and other researchers from La Sierra University in California, led by Lee Grismer, discovered the gecko in 2007, but at that time could not confirm that it was in fact a new species.
“After discovering the new species, we caught four to five geckos to experiment and compare with other geckos in other countries throughout Southeast Asia,” he said.
The unique combination of its colour pattern and scale characteristics led researchers to conclude that it was “new to science”, according to a press release issued by FFI.
“Cnemaspis neangthyi has been named in honour of Mr Neang in recognition of his important contributions to the herpetofauna of Cambodia and his untiring efforts and personal sacrifice to support conservation research in Cambodia,” the statement quoted Grismer as saying.
Neang Thy, who is also the head of the Ministry of Environment’s General Department for Administration of Nature Conservation and Protection, said he was thrilled that the new species of gecko had been named after him. “I am very happy ... it motivates me to find other new species,” he said.