Over the last decade, the combination of biological surveys, genetic diversity assessments and systematic research has revealed a growing number of previously unrecognised vertebrate species endemic to the Australian Monsoonal Tropics. Here we describe a new species of saxicoline velvet gecko in the Oedura marmorata complex from Groote Eylandt, a large island off the eastern edge of the Top End region of the Northern Territory. Oedura nesos sp. nov. differs from all congeners in combination of moderate size, and aspects of tail morphology and colouration. It has not been reported from the nearby mainland regions (eastern Arnhem Land) suggesting it may be an insular endemic, although further survey work is required to confirm this. While Groote Eylandt is recognised as a contemporary ecological refuge for declining mammal species of northern Australia, newly detected endemic species suggest it may also be of significance as an evolutionary refuge for many taxa, especially those associated with sandstone escarpments.
Afonso Silva, A.C., Santos, N., Ogilvie, H.A. & Moritz, C. (2017) Validation and description of two new north-western Australian Rainbow skinks with multispecies coalescent methods and morphology. PeerJ, 5, e3724.
ASH (2016) Position of the Australian Society of Herpetologists on the increasing proliferation of names for taxa without adequate diagnosis or description and published without the benefits of peer review. Australian Society of Herpetologists Inc., Position Statement, No. 2, February 12, 2016, 1–7. Available from: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5448a9abe4b0ad6dc5e6fe6d/t/577e45a029687fd477a8375a/1467893157321/ASH_taxonomic_position_statement.pdf (accessed 26 April 2020)
Bi, K., Vanderpool, D., Singhal, S., Linderoth, T., Moritz, C. & Good, J.M. (2012) Transcriptome-based exon capture enables highly cost-effective comparative genomic data collection at moderate evolutionary scales. BMC Genomics, 13, 403.
Bourke, G., Pratt, R., Vanderduys, E. & Moritz, C. (2017) Systematics of a small Gehyra (Squamata: Gekkonidae) from the Einasleigh Uplands, Queensland: description of a new range restricted species. Zootaxa, 4231 (1), 85–99.
Bustard, H.R. (1966) The Oedura tryoni complex: East Australian rock-dwelling geckos. (Reptilia: Gekkonidae). Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History), Zoology, 14, 1–14.
De Vis, C.W. (1884) On new Australian lizards. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Queensland, 1, 53–56.
De Vis, C.W. (1888) A contribution to the herpetology of Queensland. Proceedings of the Linnaean Society of New South Wales, 2, 811–826.
Doughty, A.P., Bourke, G., Tedeschi, L.G., Pratt, R.C., Oliver, P.M., Palmer, R.A. & Moritz, C. (2018) Species delimitation in the Gehyra nana (Squamata: Gekkonidae) complex: Cryptic and divergent morphological evolution in the Australian Monsoonal Tropics, with the description of four new species. Zootaxa, 4403 (2), 201–244.
Gray, J.E. (1842) Description of some hitherto unrecorded species of Australian reptiles and batrachians. Zoological Miscellany, 2, 51–57.
Greer, A.E. (1983) A New Species of Lerista from Groote Eylandt and the Sir Edward Pellew Group in Northern Australia. Journal of Herpetology, 17, 48–53.
Grismer, L.L., Wood, P.L., Thura, M.K., Zin, T., Quah, E.S., Murdoch, M.L., Grismer, M.S., Aung, L., Kyaw, H. & Lwin, N. (2017) Twelve new species of Cyrtodactylus Gray (Squamata: Gekkonidae) from isolated limestone habitats in east-central and southern Myanmar demonstrate high localized diversity and unprecedented microendemism. Zoological Journal of the Linnaean Society, 182, 862–959.
Helgen, K.M. & Helgen, L.E. (2009) Biodiversity and biogeography of the moss-mice of New Guinea: a taxonomic revision of Pseudohydromys (Muridae: Murinae). Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, 331, 230–314.
Hoskin, C.J. & Couper, P. (2013) A spectacular new leaf-tailed gecko (Carphodactylidae: Saltuarius) from the Melville Range, north-east Australia. Zootaxa, 3717 (4), 543–558.
Hoskin, C.J. & Higgie, M. (2008) A new species of velvet gecko (Diplodactylidae: Oedura) from north-east Queensland, Australia. Zootaxa, 1788 (1), 21–36.
Hoskin, C.J., Zozaya, S.M. & Vanderduys, E.P. (2018) A new species of velvet gecko (Diplodactylidae: Oedura) from sandstone habitats of inland north Queensland, Australia. Zootaxa, 4486 (2), 101–124.
Hoskin, C.J. (2019) Description of three new velvet geckos (Diplodactylidae: Oedura) from inland eastern Australia, and redescription of Oedura monilis De Vis. Zootaxa, 4683 (2), 242–270.
Hotaling, S., Foley, M.E., Lawrence, N.M., Bocanegra, J., Blanco, M.B., Rasoloarison, R., Kappeler, P.M., Barrett, M.A., Yoder, A.D. & Weisrock, D.W. (2016) Species discovery and validation in a cryptic radiation of endangered primates: Coalescent-based species delimitation in Madagascar’s mouse lemurs. Molecular Ecology, 25, 2029–2045.
Jombart, T. (2008). adegenet: a R package for the multivariate analysis of genetic markers. Bioinformatics, 24, 1403–1405.
Jombart, T. & Ahmed, I. (2011). adegenet 1.3-1: new tools for the analysis of genome-wide SNP data. Bioinformatics, 27, 3070–3071.
Kaiser, H., Crother, B.I., Kelly, C.M., Luiselli, L., O’Shea, M., Ota, H., Passos, P., Scleip, W.D. & Wüster, W. (2013) Best practices: In the 21st century , taxonomic decisions in herpetology are acceptable only when supported by a body of evidence and published via peer-review. Herpetological Review, 4, 8–23.
King, M. (1984) Three new species of Oedura (Reptilia: Gekkonidae) from the Mitchell Plateau of North Western Australia. Amphibia-Reptilia, 5, 329–337.
King, M. & Gow, G. (1983) A new species of Oedura (Gekkonidae: Reptilia) from the Alligator Rivers Region of Northern Australia. Copeia, 1983, 445–449.
Laver, R.J., Doughty, P. & Oliver, P.M. (2018) Origins and patterns of endemic diversity in two specialized lizard lineages from the Australian Monsoonal Tropics (Oedura spp.). Journal of Biogeography, 45, 142–153.
Miller, M.A., Pfeiffer, W. & Schwartz, T. (2010) Creating the CIPRES Science Gateway for large phylogenetic trees. Proceedings of the Gateway Computing Environments Workshop (GCE), New Orleans, Louisiana, 2010, pp. 1–8.
Moritz, C., Fujita, M.K., Rosauer, D., Agudo, R., Bourke, G., Doughty, P., Palmer, R., Pepper, M., Potter, S., Pratt, R., Scott, M., Tonione, M. & Donnellan, S. (2016) Multilocus phylogeography reveals nested endemism in a gecko across the monsoonal tropics of Australia. Molecular Ecology, 25, 1354–1366.
Nei, M. (1972) Genetic distance between populations. The American Naturalist, 106, 283–292.
Northern Territory Government (2018) Groote Eylandt group: Sites of conservation significance. Available from: https://www.territorystories.nt.gov.au/bitstream/handle/10070/254282/26_grooteeylandt.pdf (accessed 8September 2019)
Oliver, P.M., Ashman, L.G., Bank, S., Laver, R.J., Pratt, R.C., Tedeschi, L.G. & Moritz, C.C. (2019) On and off the rocks: persistence and ecological diversification in a tropical Australian lizard radiation. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 19, 81.
Oliver, P.M., Bauer, A.M., Greenbaum, E., Jackman, T. & Hobbie, T. (2012a) Molecular phylogenetics of the arboreal Australian gecko genus Oedura Gray 1842 (Gekkota: Diplodactylidae): Another plesiomorphic grade? Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 63, 255–264.
Oliver, P.M. & Doughty, P. (2016) Systematic revision of the marbled velvet geckos (Oedura marmorata species complex, Diplodactylidae) from the Australian arid and semi-arid zones. Zootaxa, 4088 (2), 151–176.
Oliver, P.M., Doughty, P. & Palmer, R. (2012b) Hidden biodiversity in rare northern Australian vertebrates: The case of the clawless geckos (Crenadactylus, Diplodactylidae) of the Kimberley. Wildlife Research, 39, 429–435.
Oliver, P.M., Keogh, J.S. & Moritz, C. (2015) New approaches to cataloguing and understanding evolutionary diversity: A perspective from Australian herpetology. Australian Journal of Zoology, 62, 417–430.
Oliver, P.M., Laver, R.J., Melville, J. & Doughty, P. (2014a) A new species of Velvet Gecko (Oedura: Diplodactylidae) from the limestone ranges of the southern Kimberley, Western Australia. Zootaxa, 3873, 49–61.
Oliver, P.M. & McDonald, P.J. (2016) Young relicts and old relicts: A novel palaeoendemic vertebrate from the Australian central uplands. Royal Society Open Science, 3, 160018.
Oliver, P.M., Smith, K.L., Laver, R.J., Doughty, P. & Adams, M. (2014b) Contrasting patterns of persistence and diversification in vicars of a widespread Australian lizard lineage (the Oedura marmorata complex). Journal of Biogeography, 41, 1–12.
De Queiroz, K. (2007) Species concepts and species delimitation. Systematic Biology, 56, 879–886.
Rosauer, D.F., Blom, M.P.K., Bourke, G., Catalano, S., Donnellan, S., Gillespie, G., Mulder, E., Oliver, P.M., Potter, S., Pratt, R.C., Rabosky, D.L., Skipwith, P.L. & Moritz, C. (2016) Phylogeography, hotspots and conservation priorities: an example from the Top End of Australia. Biological Conservation, 204, 83–93.
Rosauer, D.F., Byrne, M., Blom, M.P.K., Coates, D.J., Donnellan, S., Doughty, P., Keogh, J.S., Kinloch, J., Laver, R.J., Myers, C., Oliver, P.M., Potter, S., Rabosky, D.L., Afonso Silva, A.C., Smith, J. & Moritz, C. (2018) Real-world conservation planning for evolutionary diversity in the Kimberley, Australia, sidesteps uncertain taxonomy. Conservation Letters, 11, e12438.
Singhal, S., Hoskin, C.J., Couper, P., Potter, S. & Moritz, C. (2018) A framework for resolving cryptic apecies: a case study from the lizards of the Australian wet tropics. Systematic Biology, 67, 1061–1075.
Skipwith, P.L., Bi, K. & Oliver, P.M. (2019) Relicts and radiations: phylogenomics of an Australasian lizard clade with east Gondwanan origins (Gekkota: Diplodactyloidea). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 140, 106589.
Stamatakis, A. (2014) RAxML version 8: a tool for phylogenetic analysis and post-analysis of large phylogenies. Bioinformatics, 30, 1312–1313.
Thominot, A. (1889) Observations sur quelques reptiles et batraciens de la collection du Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle de Paris. Bulletin de la Société Philomathique de Paris, Série 8, 1, 21–30.
Wilson, S. & Swan, G. (2017) A Complete Guide to Reptiles of Australia. 5th Edition. New Holland, Sydney, 592 pp.
Woinarski J., Rankmore B., Fisher A., Brennan K. & Milne D. (2007) The natural occurrence of northern quolls Dasyurus hallucatus on islands of the Northern Territory: assessment of refuges from the threat posed by cane toads Bufo marinus. Report to the Australia Government’s Natural Heritage Trust. 36 pp. Available from: https://denr.nt.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0020/255071/quolls_nt_islands.pdf (accessed 26 April 2020)