There are a few reasons why a newly-discovered fish-scaled gecko from northern Madagascar caught the attention of herpetologists--that is, scientists who study amphibians and reptiles.
The Geckolepis megalepis flaunts exceptionally large scales, according to Mark Scherz, one of the herpetologists who discovered the new gecko. Even more interesting, though, is that the G. megalepis sheds a portion of its scales when grasped for touched, making it resemble more of a raw chicken breast than an amphibian.
It also resembles a naked mole rat.
The G. megalepis, according to findings published in the journal PeerJ, most likely loses its scales as a defense mechanism--easing the amphibians' ability to escape from larger prey. Remarkably, it only takes a few weeks for the gecko to regenerate its giant scales.
Without them, the gecko appears translucent, its blood vessels and vertebrae clearly visible.
“It’s bizarre, it’s really surprising, and it’s quite uncomfortable when you see them,” Scherz told the New York Times.
Take a closer look.
The discovery of the G. megalepis symbolizes triumph for scientists like Scherz, who noted that it's been 75 years since a similar gecko has been found.
Scherz said, "I am so happy that these secretive little geckos are getting a bit of exposurethey are strange and interesting creatures that deserve their time in the spotlight."
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