Queensland Museum unveils new species of gecko

22 April 2016

Diplodactylus ameyi © Angus Emmott

A new species of fat-tailed gecko has been discovered by scientists in outback Queensland.

Queensland Museum herpetologist Patrick Couper and his colleague, Paul Oliver from the Australian National University, recently described the new species, Diplodactylus ameyi, which is named in honour of fellow herpetologist Dr Andrew Amey.

Dr Amey manages Queensland Museum’s reptile and amphibian collections and the naming of this gecko in his honour, recognises his contributions to Australian herpetology.

Diplodactylus ameyi is a specialised termite predator found in outback Queensland and northern New South Wales.

It is tan to medium-dark brown with pale spots and is well camouflaged in the dry arid environments it inhabits. Like many other terrestrial geckos, it shelters during the day in disused spider burrows.

During his career, Mr Couper has described over 50 reptile species, including 24 geckos. He said Diplodactylus ameyi is up to 85 millimetres in length and has a distinctive, broadly rounded snout.

“We have been working, on and off, on this particular species-group for the last five years,” Mr Couper said.

“We recognised seven species of fat-tailed geckos back in 2014 but, at the time, knew there was further work to do.”

Queensland Museum Network CEO and Director Professor Suzanne Miller said 2016 was shaping up to be an exciting time in science, with this announcement coming off the back of the hugely successful inaugural World Science Festival Brisbane.

“It is always exciting to learn about new species and discoveries like this, which help showcase the talents of the Queensland Museum’s researchers, highlighting the important, behind-the-scenes, work they do in documenting the state’s faunal diversity,” she said.

Science Minister Leeanne Enoch said this new discovery was yet another example of the important work being conducted by Queensland scientists.

“Science is exhilarating; scientists question the world around us and develop new ideas and understandings that benefit our society,” Ms Enoch said.

“Queensland has an outstanding depth of high-quality scientific talent and I hope this newest discovery will help to inspire our next generation of aspiring scientists to follow a career in research.”

The scientific paper describing Diplodactylus ameyi has just been published in the journal ‘Zootaxa’.

Media Enquiries: media@qm.qld.gov.au