Vincent van Gecko: Researchers Dub a Newly-Discovered Reptile After the Artist of ‘Starry Night’

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Cnemaspis vangoghi. Photos by Akshay Khandekar

In the Western Ghats of Tamil Nadu, India, scientists have discovered two new gecko species, and one in particular has inspired an art historical name. The research team, consisting of Akshay Khandekar, Tejas Thackeray, Swapnil Pawar, Ishan Agarwal, Satpal Gangalmale, and Vivek Waghe, landed on the name Cnemaspis vangoghi because the blue coloration evoked Vincent van Gogh’s iconic “Starry Night” (1889).

As a result of sexual dimorphism, only the males resemble the Post-Impressionist painting and are largely blue except for a faded brown collar and upper body. Especially on the specimen’s head, light blue stripes appear to swirl through darker areas, evocative of the way van Gogh painted light emanating from stars and the moon. The females are entirely brown in color with cream, black, and deep sepia spots.

Learn more about Cnemaspis vangoghi, along with another painted gecko called Cnemaspis sathuragiriensisf, named for the Sathuragiri Hills where it was discovered, in the report published on ZooKeys. You may also enjoy other remarkable dispatches from Tamil Nadu, like billions of synchronous fireflires or the epic flamingo migration.


Left: Vincent van Gogh, “Starry Night” (1889), oil on canvas, 29 x 36 1/4 inches. Image via Wikimedia Commons. Right: Cnemaspis vangoghi’s colorful patterns

Do stories and artists like this matter to you? Become a Colossal Member today and support independent arts publishing for as little as $5 per month. The article Vincent van Gecko: Researchers Dub a Newly-Discovered Reptile After the Artist of ‘Starry Night’ appeared first on Colossal.

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