Evolutionary biologist and herpetologist Ishan Agarwal talks to host Pavan Srinath about discovering new species of geckos and other wildlife in India.

India’s ecosystems and biodiversity are facing new threats every day, but dedicated researchers are finding large numbers of new species of lizards, frogs, insects and more in the last decade or two.

Ishan Agarwal has helped discover about 40 new species of small animals till date, and shares how new species are found, identified and named. He shares stories of naming geckos after his mother who inspired his love for nature, after places where the species were found, and how scholars pay homage or have fun while naming new species. Ishan also discusses modern scientific tools and modern understanding of what constitutes a species. He links these discoveries to larger ideas of studying biodiversity, environmental conservation and climate change.

Ishan Agarwal is an evolutionary biologist by training and studies lizards, their biological diversity, evolution and natural distribution. He is currently a scientist at the Thackeray Wildlife Foundation and focuses on studying the biodiversity of peninsular India.

You can read Ishan’s published research on Google Scholar, and follow his photography of backyard biodiversity and more on Instagram @geckoella.

Related articles:

Three New Species of Geckos Described from Southern India | Ishan Agarwal in Sanctuary Asia (June 2020)

Stunning New Geckos Described from South India | Cara Tejpal in Sanctuary Asia

Lizard DNA reveals India’s grasslands are likely pre-human – and need protection | Maxine Chen on Mongabay

Plate tectonics and Indian Geckos | Karthik Ramaswamy in India Bioscience

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