Wednesday, January 17, 2018

[Herpetology • 2018] Hemidactylus vanam • A New Cryptic, Rupicolous Species of Hemidactylus Oken, 1817 (Squamata: Gekkonidae) from Meghamalai, Tamil Nadu, India


Hemidactylus vanam
Chaitanya,  Lajmi & Giri, 2018

Meghamalai Rock Gecko  ||  DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4374.1.3 

Abstract
distinct new gecko of the genus Hemidactylus is described from the Meghamalai massif in Tamil Nadu, India. This large sized (average SVL 88.2±16.0 to at least 112.2 mm), cryptic, rock-dwelling species is superficially similar to its tuberculate South Asian congeners of comparable size, but can be distinguished from them in having 17–19 longitudinal rows of fairly regularly arranged, strongly keeled, striated tubercles with the two most medial parasagittal rows smaller, flatter, strongly keeled and rounded, increasing in size laterally and becoming strongly conical at the flanks; 8–10 and 10–12 sub-digital lamellae under the first and fourth digits respectively of both manus and pes; 17–22 femoral pores on each side separated medially by a diastema of 10–11 poreless scales; 11–15 supralabials and 9–14 infralabials. Molecular data supports the distinctiveness of this species and helps ascertain its phylogenetic position within the larger Indian Hemidactylus clade.

Keywords: Reptilia, Hemidactylus vanam sp. nov., H. prashadi group, cryptic species, Western Ghats, eastern escarpment


FIGURE 7. Photo in life of Hemidactylus vanam sp. nov. paratype (NCBS-AU159).

Etymology. The specific epithet is a noun in apposition honouring Vanam (pronounced vʌnʌm), a nongovernmental organization based in Theni District, Tamil Nadu, India, for carrying out exemplary conservation work in the region. Their unwavering support has been vitally important to our work in the Meghamalai Wildlife Sanctuary.

Suggested Common Name. Meghamalai Rock Gecko





R. Chaitanya, Aparna Lajmi and  Varad B. Giri. 2018. A New Cryptic, Rupicolous Species of Hemidactylus Oken, 1817 (Squamata: Gekkonidae) from Meghamalai, Tamil Nadu, India. Zootaxa. 4374(1);  49–70.  DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4374.1.3

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