New Gecko Sheds Skin on Demand, Looks Like Raw Chicken
The Madagascar native has unusually large scales that it can drop with extraordinary ease, a new study says.
Meet Geckolepis megalepis, a new species of fish-scaled gecko from Madagascar that can drop its scales on demand—all the way down to the muscle. The tropical creature joins four other lizard species that lose their skin when threatened, similar to the well-known reptilian strategy of shedding tails to escape predators. (Read about an overachieving lizard that grew three tails.)
The newfound reptile is notable for the extraordinary size and thickness of its scales—its Latin name means "very large scales." Almost like bony plates, the scales shear bloodlessly off G. megalepis along a special layer of cells at the base oft the skin called the "tear zone." The scales regenerate quickly, in mere weeks.
It's also unusual among its relatives