SYDNEY: Australian researchers have discovered two new giant bent-toed gecko species in New Guinea.

Commonly known as bent-toed or bow-fingered geckos, due to their distinctive slender curved toes, these reptiles belonging to the world’s most diverse gecko genus family — Cyrtodactylus — are found throughout Asia and Australia.

One of the newly described species, called Cyrtodactylus rex, meaning ‘king’ in Latin, is the largest species in the genus, and among the biggest of all geckos in the world.

  1. rex can grow up to 17 cm, with the females growing slightly bigger than the males, the study revealed.

The ‘gecko king’ is also characterised with the upper body side covered in alternative regions of dark grey brown and medium brown, with four or five dark brown blotches or bands running down their original tails, the research showed.

The second species, named as Cyrtodactyulus equestris, which means ‘knight’ in Latin, is also considered as a giant with length measuring up to 14 cm for the females.

Looking similar to its larger relative, knight’s head is large and wide, clearly distinct from the neck. Its upper side is coloured with alternating regions of light and medium brown, said lead reseacher Paul Oliver from University of Melbourne in Australia.

The findings were detailed in the journal ZooKeys.

The distribution of the two new geckos overlap, while the ‘gecko knight’ is reported to prefer the relatively undisturbed hill or lower montane forests of northern New Guinea, ‘the king’ seems to stick to the surrounding lowlands, the researchers noted.