Friday, August 23, 2019

[Herpetology • 2019] New Species of Lepidodactylus (Squamata: Gekkonidae) from New Guinea and Adjacent Islands; Lepidodactylus aignanus, L. zweifeli, L. mitchelli, L. kwasnickae & L. dialeukos

Lepidodactylus kwasnickae
Kraus, 2019

I describe five new species of Lepidodactylus from New Guinea or adjacent islands that are members of Brown & Parker’s (1977) phenetic Groups I and II and belong to the clades identified as the L. orientalis, L. pumilus, and L. novaeguineae groups of Oliver et al. (2018a). One of the new species is restricted to an isolated mountain range on New Guinea; the remainder inhabit offshore islands ranging from 3–250 km from New Guinea. These species are distinguished from their congeners primarily by unique combinations of toe lamellar numbers and shape, numbers and distribution of enlarged precloacal/femoral scales and pores, toe webbing, toe width, and color pattern. These clades are ancient, and the ancestor of one of them has been on the East Papuan Composite Terrane for at least 28 MY, highlighting the long-term importance of that former large island in generating regional biodiversity. At least one, and probably three, of the new species are inhabitants of forest interiors; one occupies disturbed coastal areas; and the habitat of the last is currently unsurmisable. All of the new species likely have restricted geographic distributions, with four of them being limited to one or a few small islands. As a result of their small ranges, rapid habitat conversion in the ranges of some of these species, and the threat of further habitat loss in the others, most of these species are of conservation concern although it is uncertain if any of them is under immediate threat.

Keywords: Reptilia, Adelbert Mts, East Papuan Composite Terrane, Misima, Woodlark, Yapen

Lepidodactylus aignanus sp. nov.

Etymology. The name is a masculine adjective referring to the type locality of Misima Island, whose former name was St. Aignan Island. 

Lepidodactylus zweifeli sp. nov. 

Etymology. The name is a genitive honorific for the collector, Richard Zweifel, whose contributions to knowledge of the herpetofauna of New Guinea and nearby islands were foundational to current understanding.

Lepidodactylus mitchelli sp. nov. 

Etymology. The name is a genitive honorific for my friend, David Mitchell, who has directed a series of conservation organizations in Milne Bay Province for many years, frequently provided logistical support to my expeditions in that same province, and helped collect part of the type series.

Holotype of Lepidodactylus kwasnickae sp. nov. (BPBM 39880).

Lepidodactylus kwasnickae sp. nov. 

Etymology. The name is a genitive honorific for my friend Gretta Kwasnicka who has long provided gracious hospitality and support for my fieldwork in Milne Bay Province.

Lepidodactylus dialeukos sp. nov. 

Etymology. The name is a masculine possessive Greek adjective meaning marked with white. The name is in reference to the numerous narrow white markings that typify this species.

Fred Kraus. 2019. New Species of Lepidodactylus (Squamata: Gekkonidae) from New Guinea and Adjacent Islands. Zootaxa. 4651(2); 305–329. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4651.2.7  
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