Srikanthan, Swamy, Mohan & Pal, 2018
We describe a new species of rock-dwelling gecko, Hemidactylus paaragowli sp. nov., from the Agastyamalai Hill Range, in the southern Western Ghats. Morphological and molecular data support the distinctiveness of the species and its close relationship to other large-bodied, tuberculate Hemidactylus spp. from the H. prashadi group from India and Sri Lanka. This species belongs to a rupicolous complex and can be distinguished from other members of the group based on the following characters: 22–24 longitudinal rows of fairly regularly arranged, subtrihedral, weakly keeled, striated tubercles at midbody; 9–11 and 10–12 subdigital lamellae on the first and fourth digits, respectively, of both manus and pes; tail with transverse series of four enlarged tubercles on each tail segment; 10–12 femoral pores on each side separated by 16–18 scales without pores; 11–13 supralabials and 9–10 infralabials.
Keywords: Reptilia, Hemidactylus paaragowli sp. nov., Hemidactylus prashadi group, Agastyamalai, Western Ghats, India
Hemidactylus paaragowli sp. nov.
Etymology. The species name is derived from the languages, Malayalam and Tamil. H. paaragowli sp. nov. is named after the habitat it inhabits, namely large rocks; paara means rock and gowli means gecko in both languages. ‘Gowli’ is derived from traditional South Indian mythological scriptures known as Gowli Shasthra; a set of superstitious beliefs based on where a falling gecko would land on a person. The specific epithet is formed as a noun in apposition. We conferred this name to this taxon for its predominant distribution in South India. We suggest the common name Travancore Rock Gecko for this species.
Achyuthan N. Srikanthan, Priyanka Swamy, Ashwini V. Mohan and Saunak Pal. 2018. A Distinct New Species of Riparian Rock-dwelling Gecko (Genus: Hemidactylus) from the southern Western Ghats. Zootaxa. 4434(1); 141–157. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4434.1.9