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Article
Published: 2020-12-17

Two new species of yellow-tailed Hemidactylus Goldfuss, 1820 (Squamata: Gekkonidae) from rocky outcrops on the Telangana Plateau, India

Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore 560012, India. Institute of Evolution, Department of Evolutionary and Environmental Biology, University of Haifa, 199 Aba Khoushy Ave., Haifa 3498838, Israel.
Foundation for Biodiversity Conservation, A 1903, Shubhkalyan, Nanded City, Sinhgad Road, Pune 411041, India.
Jeevan Rekha medical store, Sam, Jaisalmer 345001, India.
Thackeray Wildlife Foundation, Vaibhav Chambers, BKC, Bandra, Mumbai, 400051, India.
Reptilia Dry zone granite Hemidactylus brookii peninsular India rocky outcrops rupicolous

Abstract

Two distinct species of the gekkonid genus Hemidactylus are described from the dry zone of peninsular India from the state of Telangana. The two sister species, Hemidactylus flavicaudus sp. nov. and H. xericolus sp. nov., are nested within the morphologically cryptic H. brookii group, but are clearly distinguishable from all known species in having a bright yellow tail and yellow markings on the head, besides unique combinations of meristic characters and small body size (< 45 mm snout to vent length). The two new species are also deeply divergent from each other and other members of the H. brookii group in mitochondrial NADH dehydrogenase 2 and cytochrome b sequences. Hemidactylus flavicaudus sp. nov. can be diagnosed from H. xericolus sp. nov. based on the number of dorsal tubercle rows at midbody (11–14 versus 6–8). These descriptions of evolutionarily and morphologically distinct species highlight the dearth of studies carried out in the dry zone of peninsular India and the urgent need to assess biodiversity in the face of rapid land-use changes in this landscape.

 

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