New species of gecko named after FFI scientist

A new species of South East Asian Cnemaspis gecko has been discovered in the rocky foothills of Cambodia’s Cardamom Mountains.

The species Cnemaspis neangthyi was named after Cambodian scientist Mr. Neang Thy, who heads up conservation charity Fauna & Flora International’s (FFI) Cardamom Mountains Research Group.

Mr Neang has had a huge contribution to the study of Cambodia’s reptiles and amphibians. His untiring efforts and personal sacrifice to support conservation research in his country.

The new species was found during a reptile and amphibian survey led by Dr Lee Grismer, La Sierra University and FFI in June 2007.

The unique combination of its colour pattern and scale characteristics has resulted in it being officially recognised as new to science. The gecko is exceptionally well-camouflaged, helping to blend in among the rock crevices and trees on which it lives.

“I am very happy and proud to have a species named after me,” said Mr Neang. “It gives me much pleasure and makes me feel my work as a herpetologist is being recognised.

FFI’s biological surveys of the southwestern Cardamom Mountains have shown the area to be one of the most important areas for biodiversity conservation in Asia, sheltering. The area is home to more than 62 threatened animal and 17 threatened tree species, many of them unique to this region.

The entire Cardamom region is now under increasing pressures from development.

“There are likely many more species to be discovered in the Cardamom Mountains,” said Mr Neang.

“Maybe this will also help to involve Cambodian people more in the conservation of species, landscapes and habitats. If we do not do this, many animals in Cambodia may soon become extinct and we will not be able to show them to our children,” he said.

Learn more about the Cardamom Mountains