For the identification of insects and other fauna and flora of South Africa.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Johan Marais discovers new species of gecko

It has been named after him and called Pachydactylus maraisi.

This small (about 8cm) Gecko was found in Namibia near Swakopmund on the north coast about 5 years ago and has a restricted distribution within the National Park.

It inhabits minute cracks in small dark boulders scattered in desert sand.

What a magnificent find!! Congratulations Johan!! You deserve to have it named after you!!

In reply to my question "How did you feel on making the discovery of a new species and having it named after you?

Johan replied:
"The practise of naming animals after people when describing new species was quite common many years back but in recent years most animals are named using previously suggested but disused names as these often have preference. Otherwise they are names after the area where they are found or a description of some attribute, e.g. striped (striata), spotted (punctatus), thick-toed (Pachydactylus), very large for the group (rex), etc. So to have a gecko named after me was a big surprise and a great honour. Very cool, to say the least. The description was done by the leading reptile scientist in the world, Prof. Aaron Bauer of Villa Nova University in Pennsylvania and in honour of my contribution to science and popular knowledge on reptiles."
What a gorgous, cute one too!!
It is through the hard work done by people like you that we are able to discover and learn about all these wonderful creatures who inhibit our planet. Thank you for your dedication and sharing your knowledge with us. Most people do not realize the tough conditions and sacrifices which field researchers have to go through in order to collect information and pictures of our critters. In most areas there are no bathroom facilities, shops or any other convenience around. The work is done in all kinds of weather, blazing hot or icy cold, yet in the end, it is well worth the effort to a few dedicated souls. Only those who are passionate, dedicated, enthusiastic and tenacious can do this kind of work.

Johan is a very well known herpetologist and travels throughout southern Africa recording the species of reptiles found here. Him and his books have been of tremendous help to me in identifying species as they are packed with wonderful pictures and information. They are available in all book stores or can be ordered through his website

For more information, go to: Herpetologist Johan Marais new book


Gaelyn said...

Would be quite an honor. You got to interview him? Very cool. Now get out there and find a Somethingorother joanias

So glad to see comments back on. Hope you are well.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks Gaelyn. He is such a super person to know and I was so pleased for him for finding this and having it named after him. Took 5 years to get it established as a new species though. What a long wait!!

Yip, one of these days I am off into the wild blue yonder and hope to find a "joanias" or two. :)

Yes thanks, always well but just too busy. Have about another 500 pictures I am preparing for the website plus out almost every day taking more. Sucker for punishment aren't but I love every moment. :)