Saturday, September 16, 2017

[Herpetology • 2017] Japalura slowinskii • A New Species of Japalura (Squamata, Agamidae) from the Nu River Valley in southern Hengduan Mountains, Yunnan, China

Japalura slowinskii Rao, Vindum, Ma, Fu & Wilkinson, 2017

 A population of Japalura from Yunnan Province, China, previously assigned to Japalura splendida, is described as a new species. The new species has been recorded between 1138–2500 m in the Nu River drainage between the towns of Liuku and Binzhongluo, and on the lower western slopes of the Nushan and eastern slopes of the Goaligongshan. The new species can be distinguished from other species of Japalura, except J. dymondi, by the following combination of characters: exposed tympani, prominent dorso-lateral stripes, and small gular scales. It is very similar with but differs from J. dymondi by having smooth or feebly keeled dorsal head scales, three relatively enlarged spines on either side of the post-occiput area, strongly keeled and mucronate scales on occiput area and within the lateral stripes, back of arm and leg green, higher number of dorsal-ridge scales (DS) and fourth toe subdigital scales (T4S). A principal component analysis of body measurements of adult male specimens of the new species and J. dymondi showed principal component 1 loading highest for upper arm length, fourth toe length and snout to eye length and principal component 2 loading highest for head width, head length and fourth toe length.

Keywords: Agamidae, Japalura sp. nov., Goaligongshan Mountain, Nujiang River Valley, Hengduan Mountains, Yunnan, China

Japalura slowinskii sp. nov. 

Diagnosis: A large species of Japalura with a robust head and body compressed dorso-ventrally; SVL = 89.6±5.44 mm (n = 18; Male); SVL = 83.9±6.71 mm (n = 7; Female); smooth or feebly keeled dorsal head scales; exposed tympani; a transverse gular fold; a distinct oblique fold anterior to shoulder extending dorsally from transverse gular fold and continuing posteriorly beyond shoulder; dorsal scales heterogeneous, larger scales strongly keeled; a broken dorso-lateral row of enlarged and strongly keeled scales separated from dorsal crest scales by one large or two smaller scales, and separated from each other by one or two small scales; tail in adult males slightly swollen posterior to base; dorsum of males black with a turquoise dosolateral stripe on either side of mid-dorsal crest: fore and hind limbs green.

Etymology: The specific epithet is a patronym honoring our late friend and colleague Joseph Bruno Slowinski. The epithet is a masculine noun in the genitive case. Dr. Joseph B. Slowinski worked in CAS until his death on September 11, 2001 in north Myanmar a bite from a krait during a field expedition at the age of 38 years old, when he was in charge of both the projects of Myanmar Biodiversity Survey, and the China Natural History Project — the NSF-funded Gaoligongshan Project (collaborative project between KIZ, KIB, and CAS).

Distribution and Natural History: Japalura slowinskii has only been found within the Nu River Valley drainage system between the town of Liuku, Liushu County, and the town of Binzhongluo, Gongshan County, a northsouth distance of approximately 210 km (refer to Figure 1). The species has been found on the western slopes of the Nu Shan and the eastern slopes of the Goaligongshan between elevations of 1 138–2 500 m. J. slowinskii has not been recorded on the eastern slopes of the Nushan or the Hengduan Shan, or on the western slope of the Goaligongshan; however, these areas have not been thoroughly surveyed for reptiles. It is unlikely that the species extends beyond the western slopes of the Goaligongshan because of the high altitude of the ridge (above 3 000 m [Chaplin, 2005]). A recent collecting trip (2005) to Dulong Valley, west of the Goaligongshan ridge, only recorded a single agamid species, Pseudocalotes kingdonwardi.  ....

Dingqi Rao, Jens V. Vindum, Xiaohui Ma, Mingxia Fu and Jeffery A. Wilkinson. 2017. A New Species of Japalura (Squamata, Agamidae) from the Nu River Valley in Southern Hengduan Mountains, Yunnan, China. Asian Herpetological Research. 8(2); 86–95 DOI:  10.16373/j.cnki.ahr.160053

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