Thursday, February 25, 2010

Cnemaspis Geckos of the Western Ghats

The Geckonid Genus Cnemaspis includes a group of diurnal geckos that ranges from South, South-East Asia and central Africa. Presently around 88 species of these Geckos have been recogniesd and the maximum diversity being from South and South-East Asia. Around 21 species of Cnemaspis geckos are found in South India of which 18 species are endemic to the Western Ghats. The Genus Cnemaspis can be easily identified from other geckos by their slender, clawed, non dilated digits and their round pupils. Although this group of geckos is fairly common throughout the Western Ghats, they remain to be one of the least understood gekonid genus of India. Recent studies on this genus have revealed several new species and have shed more light on their distribution and natural history.

During several visits throughout south India, I have been trying to understand more about this group of geckos. This note on the Cnemaspis geckos is posted to show the diversity of herpetofauna in the Western Ghats. The high endemism of the Western Ghats gives us more reasons for us to take urgent steps to protect and conserve it.