Menu

A New Species of Gecko Defensively Sheds Its Scales

Geckolepis megalepis escapes its predators by rapidly detaching its fish-like scales.

Feb 9, 2017
Diana Kwon

FRANK GLAWGeckolepis megalepis, a gecko from Madagascar, has a unique survival strategy. When under attack the lizard sheds it skin, leaving predators with a mouthful of scales as it runs away with its pink flesh exposed. Researchers described this new species in PeerJ on Tuesday (February 7).

Tearaway skin is not the only thing that makes these creatures unique—they are also one of only a few species of gecko that have large, fish-like scales. "What's really remarkable though is that these scales—which are really dense and may even be bony, and must be quite energetically costly to produce—and the skin beneath them tear away with such ease, and can be regenerated quickly and without a scar," Mark Scherz, study co-author and a doctoral student at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, said in a statement.

These skin-shedding creatures are not easy specimens to study. "Generally, what we do is lure the geckos into a container or plastic bag, so that we have the minimum possible contact with them," Scherz told Live Science. "It is possible to catch them by hand without losing scales, but it takes a lot of practice and is not always successful."

G. megalepis may be able to escape its predators, but human activities—such as mining operations and illegal deforestation—still pose a threat to the species’ survival. To protect these geckos from extinction, the authors recommend that the International Union for Conservation of Nature label them as “near threatened.”

February 2019

Big Storms Brewing

Can forests weather more major hurricanes?

Marketplace

Sponsored Product Updates

Bio-Rad Releases First FDA-Cleared Digital PCR System and Test for Monitoring Chronic Myeloid Leukemia Treatment Response
Bio-Rad Releases First FDA-Cleared Digital PCR System and Test for Monitoring Chronic Myeloid Leukemia Treatment Response
Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE: BIO and BIOb), a global leader of life science research and clinical diagnostic products, today announced that its QXDx AutoDG ddPCR System, which uses Bio-Rad’s Droplet Digital PCR technology, and the QXDx BCR-ABL %IS Kit are the industry’s first digital PCR products to receive U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clearance. Used together, Bio-Rad’s system and kit can precisely and reproducibly monitor molecular response to treatment in patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML).
Bio-Rad Showcases New Automation Features of its ZE5 Cell Analyzer at SLAS 2019
Bio-Rad Showcases New Automation Features of its ZE5 Cell Analyzer at SLAS 2019
Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE: BIO and BIOb) today showcases new automation features of its ZE5 Cell Analyzer during the Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening 2019 International Conference and Exhibition (SLAS) in Washington, D.C., February 2–6. These capabilities enable the ZE5 to be used for high-throughput flow cytometry in biomarker discovery and phenotypic screening.
Andrew Alliance and Sartorius Collaborate to Provide Software-Connected Pipettes for Life Science Research
Andrew Alliance and Sartorius Collaborate to Provide Software-Connected Pipettes for Life Science Research
Researchers to benefit from an innovative software-connected pipetting system, bringing improved reproducibility and traceability of experiments to life-science laboratories.
Corning Life Sciences to Feature 3D Cell Culture Technologies at SLAS 2019
Corning Life Sciences to Feature 3D Cell Culture Technologies at SLAS 2019
Corning Incorporated (NYSE: GLW) will showcase advanced 3D cell culture technologies and workflow solutions for spheroids, organoids, tissue models, and applications including ADME/toxicology at the Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening (SLAS) conference, Feb. 2-6 in Washington, D.C.