New lizard species discovered in Vietnam

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zug Hemiphyllodactylus zugi, a new gecko species found in Vietnam / PHOTO COURTESY OF VAST

Scientists have discovered yet another new species of lizard in Vietnam, where at least four similar findings have been announced since the beginning of this year.

According to the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology's website, Vietnamese and German scientists found the species during their recent field work in the northern province of Cao Bang.

They described the lizard as slender and 41-46.6 millimeter long, excluding its tail.

They collected four specimens in karst forests at a height of 450-600 meters above sea level. The lizards resembled H. yunnanensis Boulenger, the only species of the genus Hemiphyllodactylus currently known to exist in Vietnam.

However, since there are distinct differences in the reptiles' morphological and molecular characteristics, the scientists identified it as a new species and named it zug Hemiphyllodactylus zugi after George Zug, an American professor who has greatly influenced the study of reptiles in Asia.

The gecko's distinguished characteristics include a trunk pattern of dark brown irregularly transverse bands on its back, a dark lateral head stripe, and large light spots along its sides, edged above and below in dark grey.

It was the second gecko species to be discovered in Cao Bang this year. The first one, Gekko adleri, was announced in May.

This year Vietnamese and foreign scientists have also announced the discovery of three new species in the southern province of Binh Phuoc, the central province of Phu Yen, and the central province of Quang Ngai.

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