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New species of a Fan-Throated Lizard, ‘Sitana Dharwarensis’ Discovered from Northern Karnataka

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New species of fan-throated lizard Sitana dharwarensisA 3 member team has discovered a new species of a fan-throated lizard, Sitana dharwarensis, from the barren lands of northern Karnataka’s Bagalkot district. The study on the discovery was published in Bonn zoological Bulletin.

Gist about Sitana dharwarensis

i.The species belongs to the genus Sitana and derives its name from the Dharwar craton,  a piece of the Earth’s crust formed 3.6-2.5 billion years ago.

ii.Though it is similar to a fan-throated lizard species, Sitana laticeps, it bears a much larger throat fan or dewlap. Its distinctness was confirmed after comparing the DNA sequences and micro-CT-scans of the two species.

iii.When compared to other fan-throated lizards, it is larger in size. 

iv.It is restricted to the area surrounded by two major rivers namely Krishna and Dungapatra, which likely acts as biogeographic barriers for terrestrial lizards.

About the team

The team includes Mumbai residents Mayuresh Ambekar and Zeeshan Mirza from  Bengaluru’s National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS) and Mangalore resident,  Arya, a Class 12 student at Inventure Academy, Bangalore.

Note

  • This is the 2nd species discovered from the open scrub and rock terrain of northern Karnataka after Hemidactylus vijayraghavani, a gecko.
  • Most of these newly described species survive outside the protected areas. In many such places, local populations are at risk of being wiped out.

About Karnataka:
Capital– Bengaluru
Governor– Vajubhai Vala
Chief Minister– BS Yediyurappa