Photo from Philly.com
After its discovery by Dr. Aaron Bauer on the South Pacific island of New Caledonia, a new gecko species remained nameless, until now. New Jersey fourth grader, Gemma Farquhar (pictured at right) has given the once nameless species of gecko an identity. As the grand prize winner of the nationwide contest, Project Gecko presented by Zilla, Farquhar’s name Bavayia periclitata will be given to the new species. “Bavayia periclitata was chosen for its accurate and artistic description. Gemma was able to combine scientific language with creative intellect forming a name that depicts the importance of taking care of the animals that share our world with us,” said Dr. Aaron Bauer, Villanova professor of biology.
In her contest submission, Farquhar, a student at Oaklyn Elementary School in Oaklyn, NJ, dared to be different and strayed away from using typical Latin names that describe the gecko’s habitat or physical features. Bavayia periclitata means “endangered” in Latin. Farquhar says she chose this name to help emphasize the importance of taking care of geckos, other endangered species as well as our environment in general. “I chose this name because it means endangered and it will make people think about how our geckos are disappearing and are on the endangered list. I hope people will try harder to protect our geckos,” said Farquhar. “Winning Project Gecko means a lot to me because I named a whole new species of gecko for eternity and giving the gecko this name may mean there’s a better chance to help other species.”
The contest organizers Zilla, manufacturer of reptile products, believe Farquhar’s name is perfect for the new species. “We were thrilled to read about why Gemma chose this name for the gecko,” said Daniel Lorica, Zilla brand manager. “She recognizes that we all have a responsibility to preserve the endangered species of animals with whom we share our world. And her appreciation for the environment is what made her entry stand out from the others.”