New cave-gecko species identified in Kampot, Cambodia

For immediate release ‐ June 27, 2024

Contact: Jon Pishney, 919.244.7913. Images available upon request

Royal cave bent-toed geckoPhoto: Cambodian Ministry of Environment.

“A previously unidentified species of gecko has been discovered at the Phnom Preah Kuhear Luong (luong caves) in Kampot province’s Banteay Meas district [Cambodia]. The discovery is the result of a two-year research project, according to the Ministry of Environment.

“The study was conducted by specialists from the ministry, in collaboration with the Royal University of Phnom Penh, Wild Earth Allies and the IUCN, as well as experts from La Sierra University and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in the US.

“This new species has been named the ‘royal cave bent-toed gecko’. Its scientific name is Cyrtodactylus regicavernicolus.”

Read the full story on the Phnom Penh Post

The gecko was described in the June 25, 2024 issue of Zootaxa.

Dr. Bryan Stuart, NCMNS Research Curator of Herpetology and an author on the paper, says:

“The entire global range of this new species seems to be limited to a small block of limestone karst in southwestern Cambodia. It is such a relief that the Cambodian government has already protected 25 hectares of that karst block as the Phnom Preah Kuhear Loung Natural Heritage Site – without having done so, the species would likely go extinct from limestone quarrying (for concrete production) in the very near future. I’m also very pleased that this project of discovering and describing the new species was led almost entirely by Cambodian wildlife biologists and managers.”

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