Scale-shedding gecko a nasty mouthful for predators

Science News reveals the unappetizing trick of a newly discovered gecko species. The lizard sheds its large scales to wriggle out of predators’ mouths:

All species of Geckolepis geckos have tear-off scales that regrow within a few weeks, but G. megalepis boasts the largest. Some of its scales reach nearly 6 millimeters long. Mark Scherz, a herpetologist and taxonomist at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, and colleagues describe the new species February 7 in PeerJ.

Attacking animals probably get their claws or teeth stuck on the scales while G. megalepis contracts its muscles, loosening the connection between the scales and the translucent tissue underneath. The predator is left with a mouthful of armor, but no meat.

I gotta add… the naked geckos left after doing this trick look pretty unappetizing, too. Picture at the link.

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