A team of scientists from India and the United States have discovered four species of lizards in the Western Ghats. The scientists have decided to name the species Cnemaspis limayei, Cnemaspis ajijae, Cnemaspis mahabali and Cnemaspis amboliensis – they all belong to the Cnemaspis genus. One of these, Cnemaspis limayei, has been named after Sunil Limaye, a former director of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park in Mumbai.

Before these discoveries, the genus Cnemaspis had 135 known species, 29 of them from India, researchers Amit Sayyed, Robert Alexander Pyron, and R Dileepkumar said in a paper they published in the United States journal “Amphibian and Reptile Conservation” on Friday. “The description of these new species from the Western Ghats suggests that our understanding of the richness of species within this genus is still incomplete,” the researchers said.

Cnemaspis is a genus of diurnal geckos found in Africa and Asia,” a press note said on Sunday. “With over 100 species, it is one of the most diverse genera of geckos.” Amit Sayyed, of the Wildlife Protection and Research Society, Pune, said that many more species of the Cnemaspis may be present in India. He added that there is a need for further scientific exploration in the Western Ghats to find such species.

Cnemaspis mahabali (Credit: Amit Sayyed)