University of Adelaide research has discovered that there are many more species of Australian lizards than previously thought raising new questions about conservation and management of Australia s native reptiles. See also Plants & Animals New Species Nature Earth & Climate Environmental Policy Exotic Species Fossils & Ruins Evolution Lost Treasures Reference Gecko Lizard Conservation biology Marine conservation PhD student Paul Oliver from the University s School of Earth and Environmental Sciences has done a detailed genetic study of the Australian gecko genus Diplodactylus and found more than twice the recognised number of gecko species from 13 species to 29. This study was done in collaboration with the South Australian Museum and Western Australian Museum. “Many of these species are externally very similar leading to previous severe underestimation of true species diversity ” says Mr Oliver. “One of the major problems for biodiversity conservation and management is that many species remain undocumented. “This problem is widely acknowledged to be dire among invertebrates and in developing countries. “But in this group of vertebrates in a developed nation which we thought we knew reasonably well we found more than half the species were unrecognised.” Mr Oliver says this has great significance for conservation. For instance what was thought to be a single very widespread species of gecko has turned out to be eight or nine separate species with much narrower more restricted habitats and possibly much more vulnerable to environmental change he says. “This completely changes how we look at conservation management of these species ” he says.