Natures wonders: geckos look like dead leaves (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Saturday, January 26, 2019, 04:36 (236 days ago) @ David Turell

How did this develop to hang around as a dead leaf looking gecko, only to come very alive= looking and eat:

https://earther.gizmodo.com/newly-discovered-gecko-species-is-extremely-good-at-bei-183...

As night falls on the lowland rainforests in Madagascar, dead, decaying leaves find new life, slowly unfurling in the vanishing light. But as four scaly feet and wide, unblinking eyes emerge from behind the crinkly veil, the leaves reveal their true identities: these are leaf-tailed geckos, unparalleled masters of disguise. Now, researchers have described a species of these secretive lizards totally new to science, discovered in a protected corner of the island.

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Well over a dozen species have evolved on the island, and all are equipped with impressive camouflage. In the ultimate RPG of Life, these reptiles have maxed out their stealth skill trees, appearing indistinguishable from an old leaf when at rest. Their tails are flattened and leaf-shaped, and their skin has blotchy colors and textures, even incorporating ragged edges on skin folds for that authentic, “brittle decay” look.

"This intense mimicry is almost certainly a strategy to avoid predators, said Mark Scherz, herpetologist and PhD candidate.

“'During the day, [they] sit among dead leaves with their tails covering part of their bodies, sometimes with a leg stuck out at a funny angle to look like a twig,” Scherz explained. “But at night … they are very active hunters.”

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"It didn’t take long for the research team to note that the geckos Raselimanana first collected from low-lying areas of the park were weird. They were very large when compared with what appeared to the most similar species, the ominously-named satanic leaf-tailed gecko. In 2016, the team went out at night and collected more of these big, unplaceable leafy boys. Through careful measurements of their physical features, the team found that the reptiles were indeed unique.

"At about four inches long, the new geckos are 50 percent larger than their satanic cousins, and have a proportionally shorter tail. The new geckos also have purely scarlet red tissue in their mouths, potentially a last-minute warning to predators; in their close relatives, the mouth is more black. When the team analyzed the geckos’ genetics, their results aligned with the physical conclusions that the Marojejy lizards warranted classification as a new species, Uroplatus finaritra."

Comment: Just bow does this evolve with a resemblance so exactly a copy of a real desiccated leaf? Only a designer can do this.


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