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Article
Published: 2021-03-31

A new small-bodied, polymorphic Cnemaspis Strauch, 1887 (Squamata: Gekkonidae) allied to C. monticola Manamendra-Arachchi, Batuwita & Pethiyagoda, 2007 from the Central Western Ghats of Karnataka, India

Thackeray Wildlife Foundation, Mumbai, 400051, India National Centre for Biological Sciences, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Bengaluru, 560065, India
Thackeray Wildlife Foundation, Mumbai, 400051, India
Thackeray Wildlife Foundation, Mumbai, 400051, India National Centre for Biological Sciences, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Bengaluru, 560065, India Department of Biological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Mohali, Punjab140306, India
Reptilia Cnemaspis monticola dwarf geckos endemic ND2 South Asian Cnemaspis systematics Western Ghats

Abstract

We describe a new small-bodied, polymorphic Cnemaspis from near Hongadahalla village, Sakleshpur in the Central Western Ghats of Karnataka, India. Cnemaspis schalleri sp. nov. is allied to C. monticola and can be diagnosed from all other Indian Cnemaspis by its small body size; presence of spine-like tubercles on flank; heterogeneous dorsal pholidosis; presence of both precloacal and femoral pores in males; dorsal pholidosis of tail heterogeneous, composed of small, weakly keeled, flattened, sub-imbricate scales intermixed with enlarged, strongly keeled, distinctly pointed, conical tubercles forming whorls; slightly enlarged median row of sub-caudal scales, smooth at anterior half and strongly keeled posteriorly. The new species differs from C. monticola based on the number of dorsal tubercle rows at mid-body, the number of paravertebral tubercles, the number of precloacal pores and poreless scales between precloacal and femoral pores; besides 8.9–10.7 % uncorrected ND2 sequence divergence. We also provide the first description of topotypic males of C. monticola along with the first data on live colouration and natural history. Cnemaspis schalleri sp. nov. is the second new Cnemaspis described from around Sakleshpur within a span of less than a year with minimal field survey effort. It is almost certain than the dedicated systematic sampling across the Central Western Ghats will result in the discovery of many undescribed Cnemaspis lineages.

 

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