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Two new species of leaf-tailed geckos (Uroplatus) from the Tsaratanana mountain massif in northern Madagascar



The Tsaratanana Massif is the highest mountain massif of Madagascar and is characterized by a high species-level endemism of its biota. Here we describe two new small-sized species of leaf-tailed geckos of the Uroplatus ebenaui group from this region. Named in a preliminary way as confirmed candidate species Uroplatus ebenaui [Ca1] and [Ca2] in previous studies, we here provide detailed data on their molecular and morphological differentiation and describe them as Uroplatus fotsivava sp. nov. and Uroplatus kelirambo sp. nov. Their closest relatives are U. fiera and U. finiavana, respectively, as revealed by a phylogeny based on DNA sequences of four mitochondrial genes. However, integration of various lines of evidence confirms that the new species are independent evolutionary lineages, differing from other Uroplatus by high mitochondrial divergences, lack of haplotype sharing in the nuclear CMOS gene, and shape and relative size of the tail. While U. fotsivava is known from multiple sites at elevations between 1100–1538 m above sea level, U. kelirambo was found only at high elevations between 2000–2200 m a.s.l.; it therefore is the only known forest-dwelling nocturnal gecko reaching such high elevations in Madagascar, and might be narrowly endemic to montane forests of the Tsaratanana Massif.



Reptilia, Uroplatus fotsivava sp. nov., Uroplatus kelirambo sp. nov., Uroplatus ebenaui group, Taxonomy, Phylogeny, Gekkonidae

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