Superpowers are a staple of fantasy and science fiction. They’re certainly a common feature of the television, movies, novels, and comic books that we see today, but ever since ancient times, tales have been told of people and animals with extraordinary abilities.
From Hercules to Superman to Harry Potter, we’ve been enchanted for millennia by tales of those who can do things that seem impossible. Still, we usually chalk it up as nothing but pure make-believe. These super geckos, however, are all too real!
These geckos may not be able to use their powers to fight crime (or try to take over the world, for that manner), but they certainly are impressive. Just wait until you see them for yourself!
The object below may look like a piece of raw, skinless chicken breast… but would you believe it’s actually a gecko? Known as Geckolepis megalepis (Latin for “very large scales”), it has the uncanny ability to shed its skin at will, then regenerate them two weeks later. It does this as a defense mechanism when threatened.
These geckos have proven to be quite elusive creatures. “I personally have only ever once managed to catch one of these geckos without losing more than a few scales,” said Mark Scherz, Ph.D., a student at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich who authored a study on the creatures. “I was elated! You can look at any museum with these geckos and you see how seldom the [skin] stays intact. It’s almost ridiculous.”
The gecko, which can be found in Madagascar, shouldn’t be confused with another species in that region called G. maculata.
Scientists were able to determine the difference between the two species by studying three-dimensional images of their skulls.
Sadly, the geckos’ habitat is threatened by manmade fires, free-ranging livestock, and nearby sapphire mining projects. For these reasons, Scherz recommends they be listed as “near-threatened” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
These geckos are truly fascinating animals, aren’t they? Hopefully they remain protected as scientists continue to study them. There’s so much more to learn!
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