New species of fan-throated lizard found in Karnataka

New species of fan-throated lizard discovered in northern Karnataka

This is the second species discovered from the open scrub and rock terrain of Northern Karnataka

Photo by Amol Mande from Pexels

A new species of fan-throated lizard has been described from the barren lands of northern Karnataka’s Bagalkot district.

The new species has been named 'Sitana dharwarensis' - derived from the Dharwar craton- a piece of the Earth’s crust that dates back to 2–3 billion years ago,  according to a press statement released in Mumbai.

Mayuresh Ambekar, Arya Murthy and Zeeshan Mirza authored the study that was published this week in the international journal, Bonn zoological Bulletin.

Mumbaikars Mayuresh Ambekar and Zeeshan Mirza are researchers at Bengaluru’s National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS) and Arya is a Class 12 student at Inventure Academy.

The new species is quite similar to a species of fan-throated lizard called Sitana laticeps,  however, the new species bears a much larger throat fan or dewlap. The distinctness was new species was confirmed after comparing DNA sequences and micro-CT scans of the two species.

This is the second species discovered from the open scrub and rock terrain of Northern Karnataka after Hemidactylus Vijayraghavani, a gecko.

Many of these newly described species occur outside of protected areas and in most localities, local populations are at risk of being wiped out.

A management plan for non-protected areas, especially open and scrublands that are otherwise termed wasteland and considered less biodiverse must be devised to ensure the protection of species and habitats.