New Gecko Species: “Van Gogh’s starry dwarf gecko”

April 9, 2024

The colouration of the new species is reminiscent of one of Van Gogh’s most iconic paintings, The Starry Night.

Authors of a new study outlining the discovery of two new species geckos, one of which is named Cnemaspis vangoghi after the famous Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890).

What To Know: Researchers discovered the lizard in 2022 while searching for new species in the Western Ghats, a mountain range in India “recognized as one of the world’s eight ‘hottest hotspots’ of biological diversity” (UNESCO). After DNA analysis, scientists confirmed that the lizard is a new species of gecko. Due to the lizard’s white spots and blue and yellow colors, scientists suggest the reptile be commonly referred to asVan Gogh’s starry dwarf gecko.

Big Picture: Evolutionary biologist Dr. Travis Hagey, Mississippi University for Women, explains the study’s significance: “These papers are important because they’re another step forward in understanding how complicated our ecosystems are. We have to understand that, ‘Hey, there’s a whole group of geckos here that we didn’t even know about, and they’re all special.'”

Read More: Vibrant creature looks like Van Gogh’s Starry Night, study says. See the new species (Miami Herald)

This new species is called the van Gogh gecko. The reason why is a work of art. (National Geographic)

by Leah Grainery, based in Texas