Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Family Of Gecko Discovered

Date:
May 23, 2008
Source:
University of Minnesota
Summary:
A new family of gecko, the charismatic large-eyed lizard popularized by car insurance commercials, has been discovered. Scientists have long been interested in geckos and their evolution because they are key biodiversity indicators and are found on nearly every continent.

The new family of gecko consists of 103 species found in semiarid and tropical regions of North Africa, the Middle East, North and South America and the Caribbean. Shown above: a tropical gecko and member of the genus Tarentola -- one of eight genera that make up the new family.

Researchers at the University of Minnesota's Bell Museum of Natural History and Pennsylvania's Villanova University have discovered a new family of gecko, the charismatic large-eyed lizard popularized by car insurance commercials.

Scientists have long been interested in geckos and their evolution because they are key biodiversity indicators and are found on nearly every continent. Researchers are also interested in the gecko because of the animal's sticky toe pads, which allow them to scale rough and smooth surfaces -- a characteristic that may have human application in medicine, emergency rescue service and military industries.

Graduate students Tony Gamble from the University of Minnesota and Aaron Bauer from Villanova sequenced DNA from 44 species of gecko and used this genetic data to reconstruct the animals' family tree. The resulting new classification is different from previous classifications, which are based solely on foot structure.

"A classification based solely on foot structure will track selective pressure on the feet and not represent actual evolutionary history," said Gamble, who believes his discovery will add to a more accurate gecko family tree that, in turn, will allow scientists to better understand how sticky toe pads have evolved.

The researchers have named the new family "Phyllodactylidae," referring to the leaf-shaped toes of many of the species in this group (phyllo meaning "leaf:" dactyl meaning "toe"). The new family consists of 103 species found in semiarid and tropical regions of North Africa, the Middle East, North and South America and the Caribbean. The family includes eight previously known genera: Asaccus, Haemodracon, Homonota, Phyllodactylus, Phyllopezus, Ptyodactylus, Tarentola and Thecadactylus.

Gamble and Bauer's research was funded by the National Science Foundation as part of a funding push by the agency to construct a family tree for 1.7 million known species of plants, animals and microbes. Gamble and Bauer's study will be published in the forthcoming issue of Zoological Scripta: An International Journal of Systematic Zoology.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Minnesota. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Tony Gamble, Aaron M Bauer, Eli Greenbaum, Todd R Jackman (2008). Out of the blue: a novel, trans-Atlantic clade of geckos (Gekkota, Squamata). Zoologica Scripta doi: 10.1111/j.1463-6409.2008.00330.x

Cite This Page:

University of Minnesota. "New Family Of Gecko Discovered." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 May 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080522145204.htm>.
University of Minnesota. (2008, May 23). New Family Of Gecko Discovered. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080522145204.htm
University of Minnesota. "New Family Of Gecko Discovered." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080522145204.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How to Make Single Serving Smoothies: Howdini Hacks

How to Make Single Serving Smoothies: Howdini Hacks

Howdini (July 24, 2014) Smoothies are a great way to get in lots of healthy ingredients, plus they taste great! Howdini has a trick for making the perfect single-size smoothie that will save you time on cleanup too! All you need is a blender and a mason jar. Video provided by Howdini
Powered by NewsLook.com
Boy Attacked by Shark in Florida

Boy Attacked by Shark in Florida

Reuters - US Online Video (July 24, 2014) An 8-year-old boy is bitten in the leg by a shark while vacationing at a Florida beach. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 24, 2014) The eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, mainly known for conflict and instability, is an unlikely place for the production of fine cheese. But a farm in the village of Masisi, in North Kivu is slowly transforming perceptions of the area. Known simply as Goma cheese, the Congolese version of Dutch gouda has gained popularity through out the region. Ciara Sutton reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tyrannosaur Pack-Hunting Theory Aided By New Footprints

Tyrannosaur Pack-Hunting Theory Aided By New Footprints

Newsy (July 24, 2014) A new study claims a set of prehistoric T-Rex footprints supports the theory that the giant predators hunted in packs instead of alone. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins