Monday, January 21, 2019

[Herpetology • 2019] Uroplatus finaritraFinaritra! A Splendid New Leaf-tailed Gecko (Uroplatus) species from Marojejy National Park in north-eastern Madagascar

Uroplatus finaritra 
Ratsoavina, Raselimanana, Scherz, Rakotoarison, Razafindraibe, Glaw & Vences, 2019

The Marojejy Massif in northern Madagascar is a constant source of herpetological surprises. Herein we describe a new species of leaf-mimicking leaf-tailed gecko, Uroplatus finaritra sp. nov., based on morphological and molecular phylogenetic evidence. This new species inhabits the rainforests of Marojejy National Park at low elevations and is morphologically similar to Uroplatus phantasticus, but differs by having a larger body size, relatively shorter tail, and dark-red pigmentation of the oral mucosa. Molecular data reveals a distance of 14.0–14.7% in the 16S rRNA gene to U. phantasticus, and haplotype sharing in the c-mos nuclear gene only with species of much shorter tails (i.e., with U. kelirambo and two undescribed candidate species). Similar to other members of the leaf-mimicking Uroplatus species in northern Madagascar, Uroplatus finaritra sp. nov. likely has a small geographic distribution, and is currently known only from the lowland rainforests of Marojejy. We discuss the value of the buccal mucosa colouration and tail dimensions of Uroplatus as taxonomic characters, and the potential drivers of their evolution. In order to reduce the risk of international trade under incorrect species names we suggest that exported CITES species should be obligatorily accompanied by information about their precide geographic origin within Madagascar.

Key words: Squamata, Gekkonidae, Uroplatus ebenaui group, Uroplatus finaritra sp. nov., Marojejy, Madagascar

Uroplatus finaritra sp. nov. from Marojejy National Park.
[probably paratype UADBA-R 70494 (APR 12692)]

Uroplatus finaritra sp. nov. 
Uroplatus sp. G—Raxworthy et al. (2008) 
Uroplatus sp. Ca9—Ratsoavina et al. (2013)

Etymology. Finaritra is a Malagasy word for special greetings but also means healthy and happy. We refer to our delight in describing this splendid and exceptionally large species from a clade of generally small-sized leaf-tailed geckos. The name is an invariable noun in apposition.

FIGURE 4. Subadult female specimens of Uroplatus finaritra sp. nov. (a–b) ZSM 458/2016 (MSZC 0271) and (c–d) UADBA-R 70501 (MSZC 0253)
 in (a, d) dorsolateral and (b–c) dorsal view.


Fanomezana Mihaja Ratsoavina, Achille P. Raselimanana, Mark D. Scherz, Andolalao Rakotoarison, Jary H. Razafindraibe, Frank Glaw and Miguel Vences. 2019.  Finaritra! A Splendid New Leaf-tailed Gecko (Uroplatus) species from Marojejy National Park in north-eastern Madagascar. Zootaxa. 4545(4); 563–577. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4545.4.7
Resumé: Le massif de Marojejy au nord de Madagascar, représente constamment une source de surprises herpétologiques, avec la découverte d'une nouvelle espèce de gecko à queue plate. Les résultats des analyses phylogénétiques et morphologiques ont permis la description de Uroplatus finaritra sp. nov. Cette nouvelle espèce habite les forêts humides de basse altitude de Marojejy et est morphologiquement similaire à Uroplatus phantasticus. Néanmoins, elle diffère de cette dernière par un corps plus grand, une queue relativement plus courte et une pigmentation rouge foncée de la muqueuse buccale. Les données moléculaires révèlent une distance de 14,0 à 14,7% pour le gène 16S rRNA par rapport à U. phantasticus. Le partage d’haplotypes pour le gène nucléaire c-mos ne se présente qu’avec les espèces à queue beaucoup plus courte tel que U. kelirambo et deux autres espèces candidates non décrites. Vue la présence de plusieurs formes similaires de gecko A queue aplatie dans la partie nord de Madagascar, Uroplatus finaritra a probablement une distribution restreinte, étant recensée uniquement dans la zone de basse altitude du massif de Marojejy. Afin de réduire le risque de la commercialisation des espèces au niveau international sous des noms incorrects, il est suggéré que les espèces CITES exportées soient obligatoirement accompagnées d'informations concernant leur origine géographique précise à Madagascar. 


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