Now, Tejas Thackeray discovers a new gecko

Updated: May 23, 2019, 19:20 IST | Ranjeet Jadhav | Mumbai

The son of Shiv Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeray was part of the team that discovered the Cnemaspis thackerayi

Tejas Thackeray
Tejas Thackeray

In an important discovery in terms of wildlife conservation and science, a group of wildlife researchers that include Tejas Thackeray, the son of Shiv Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeray, has discovered a new species of gecko from Tamil Nadu. The discovery was published in the renowned scientific journal Zootaxa.

The new species is endemic to the town of Yercaud in the Shevaroy massif in the Eastern Ghats of Tamil Nadu. The researchers who are part of the team include Akshay Khandekar, Nikhil Gaitonde, Ishan Agarwal and Swapnil Pawar. They have been known in wildlife circles for their contribution towards new discoveries and research work. There is already a crab named after Tejas, Sahyadriana thackerayi.

Hemidactylus thackerayi  is endemic to the town of Yercaud in the Shevaroy massif in the Eastern Ghats of Tamil Nadu
Cnemaspis thackerayi  is endemic to the town of Yercaud in the Shevaroy massif in the Eastern Ghats of Tamil Nadu

Thackeray's gecko

"I am delighted to announce that due to the hard work and efforts of our team members, we have discovered a new species of gecko from the Eastern ghats in Tamil Nadu. The newly described species Cnemaspis thackerayi will be commonly known as 'Thackeray's dwarf gecko'. I would like to thank the Tamil Nadu forest department for allowing me to collect and study these wonderful jewels," said Tejas.

"A holotype was collected by me in September 2018. The report about the species was published recently in the globally renowned peer reviewed journal from New Zealand, Zootaxa," Tejas added.

The other gecko
In a Facebook post, Khandekar, who is associated with National Centre for Biological Sciences, said, "We are delighted to announce the addition of two beautiful species of geckos from Yercaud in Shevaroy massif, Tamil Nadu, India! Both the species belong to the genus cnemaspis, commonly known as Day or Dwarf geckos. Hemidactylus thackerayi: we have named this beautiful gecko after our good friend, Tejas Thackeray, in recognition of his contributions to natural history and systematic zoology, and his constant encouragement and support to us for taxonomy. He also collected the holotype of this species."

Talking about another discovery, Khandekar said, "In the name of the gecko Cnemaspis shevaroyensis, shevaroyensis is a toponym for the Shevaroy massif, the only known locality for this species. It highlights the endemic squamate (scaled reptiles) diversity across the steep elevation gradient of this ancient mountain range. In the paper, we also provided diagnosis, natural history and distribution of the less known Cnemaspis yercaudensis."

Thackeray's discoveries

In 2018, Tejas Thackeray reportedly discovered 11 new species and one new genus of freshwater crabs in the Western Ghats of Maharashtra. The scientific research paper by him and the team was published in Zootaxa

In 2016, Dr S K Pati, Tejas and Anil Khaire discovered five new species of freshwater crabs in the Sahyadri range in the Western Ghats. A research paper on their discovery was published in Zootaxa. One of the crabs was named Gubernatoriana Thackerayi for Tejas Thackeray.

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