New Gecko Species Can Put Houdini To Shame
At first glance, they look like fish. But then again, that is why they are called fish-scale geckos. These species are said to have a freaky way of escaping from their predators -- by streaking.
According to The New York Times, these species rip off their scales so that they can escape from the hands of their attackers, unscathed. Mark D. Scherz, a doctoral candidate from the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, said, "It looks like a fish until you grab it, and then it looks like a naked chicken breast."
This description is apt. Tearing away the scales of the gecko reveals pink flesh underneath, and through the translucent skin, quite visible to the naked eyes, are the spine and blood vessels. "It's bizarre, it's really surprising, and it's quite uncomfortable when you see them," Scherz shared.
Gruesome as it looks, however, the lizard seems okay afterwards. While losing its skin makes it look like it is ready to become a chicken nugget, it does regenerate its scales in full within a few weeks, with new patterns than the previous ones but are still quite indistinguishable from the last ones it had.
The gecko species has been called Geckolepis megalepis. It is said to have been found in limestone karsts of northern Madagascar. In the researchers' finding, they noted that the scale shedding of these weird little critters make them hard to catch. Scale sizes, which are about as large as pinkie fingernails, may also contribute to their easy removal. The special cells found on the gecko skins were noted to not only contract on contact. They also help loosen up the uppermost layers of skin and fat tissue, as well as the scales, allowing them to "flake off."
The Washington Post noted that there isn't a lot that people know about the gecko species yet. However, they are part of the newly discovered population in the Ankarana National Park, where Day-Glo colored geckos and "ghost" snakes are also said to reside.