Dr Sung Yik-hei (right) and Research Assistant Mr Lee Wing-ho.


宋亦希博士(右)與研究助理李詠豪先生。

New species: Hong Kong Tree Gecko. (Photo by Mr Lee Wing-ho)


浸大發表的新品種「香港半葉趾虎」。(圖片由李詠豪先生提供。)

Hong Kong Tree Gecko has divided lamellae on fingers and toes, and a clawless thumb. (Photo by Mr Lee Wing-ho)


香港半葉趾虎的特色﹕指與趾下的皮瓣分裂,以及第一指沒有爪。(圖片由李詠豪先生提供。)

Date: 11 Jun 2018 (Monday)

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Biology scholar names new gecko species — Hong Kong Tree Gecko

生物系學者命名新種壁虎——香港半葉趾虎

HKBU Biology research group has described a new species of gecko in Hong Kong, and named it Hong Kong Tree Gecko (scientific name Hemiphyllodactylus hongkongensis). The species description made by a group led by Dr Sung Yik-hei, Lecturer of the Department of Biology of HKBU was published in Zootaxa, a peer-reviewed scientific journal on the study of taxonomy.

Dr Sung said: “The discovery of this new vertebrate species highlights the rich biodiversity in Hong Kong. We knew that this species has existed in Hong Kong for a long time, however we were not certain about its identity. Eventually, we found that it is a species new to science. This represents the eighth species of gecko and the only species of tree gecko in Hong Kong. Reaching up to eight centimetres in length, it is the smallest gecko species in Hong Kong.”

“Identification of geckos is difficult, even for experts. Apart from its small body size, Hong Kong Tree Gecko can be distinguished from other geckos by its divided lamellae on fingers and toes, and clawless thumb. So far as we know, this is an endemic species which only appears in Hong Kong. Their narrow distribution, in areas such as Hong Kong Island, Po Toi and Shek Kwu Chau, suggests that it is probably a threatened species. More research on its population status and ecology is needed.” he said.

Dr Sung said that most populations of Hemiphyllodactylus hongkongensis on Hong Kong Island occur within Country Parks. Some populations dwell at the edge of the Country Parks, reiterating that Country Parks, including interior and edge, are essential for biodiversity conservation in Hong Kong. Populations on the other islands are in unprotected areas. “Therefore, we encourage reinforcing the protection, for example designating Po Toi as a Site of Special Scientific Interest or Country Park,” Dr Sung suggested.

浸大生物系講師宋亦希博士率領的團隊,發表了香港一種壁虎新品種,並命名為「香港半葉趾虎」(學名Hemiphyllodactylus hongkongensis),是項發現已獲國際學術期刊《Zootaxa》刊登。

宋博士說:「是次在本港發現新的有脊椎動物,證明香港是一個生物多樣性的城市。我們知道這種壁虎已存在於香港一段長時間,但其真正身份一直未能確定。近年,我們終於確定牠在分類學上為新品種。香港半葉趾虎是香港唯一一種半葉趾虎,亦是香港的第八種壁虎,是香港體型最小的壁虎品種,身長不長過八厘米。」

「即使是專家,也不容易為壁虎分類。除了體型較細小外,香港半葉趾虎與其他壁虎的最大分別是指及趾下的皮瓣分裂,而且第一指無爪。到現時為止,我們已知這種壁虎只在香港出現,是特有品種。牠們分佈於香港島、蒲台島和石鼓洲,狹窄的分佈表示牠們是一種易受威脅的物種,因此需要更多有關其族群現況和生態的研究。」

宋博士表示,大部份在香港島的香港半葉趾虎族群是在郊野公園範圍內,有些族群則分佈於郊野公園的邊緣地帶。他說,郊野公園不論是管轄範圍或邊緣地帶,都對香港生物多樣性的保育十分重要。由於分佈於其他外島的族群不在受保護的地區,因此宋博士建議加強保護,例如把蒲台島列入「具特殊科學價值地點(SSSI)」或郊野公園。