Tuesday, October 14, 2014

[Herpetology • 2014] Oedura murrumanu | Limestone Range Velvet Gecko • A New Species of Velvet Gecko (Oedura: Diplodactylidae) from the Limestone Ranges of the southern Kimberley, Western Australia

  Limestone Range Velvet Gecko | Oedura murrumanu 
Oliver, Laver, Melville & Doughty, 2014

FIGURE 3. (A) Holotype of Oedura murrumanu sp. nov. (WAM R173368) in life, (B) close-up of head
and fringed fingers. Photographs—P. Horner. 
FIGURE 7. Deeply dissected limestone formations at type locality of
Oedura murrumanu sp. nov. in the Oscar Range. Photograph—P. Oliver.

We describe a new species of large Oedura from the Oscar Range on the southern edge of the Kimberley Craton in north-western Australia. Oedura murrumanu sp. nov. can be distinguished from all congeners by the combination of large size (snout-vent length to 103 mm), moderately long and slightly swollen tail, tiny scales on the dorsum, fringe of laterally expanded lamellae on each digit, and 6–7 paired distal subdigital lamellae on the fourth toe. The new species is the first endemic vertebrate known from the limestone ranges of the southern Kimberley; however, this area remains poorly surveyed and further research (particularly wet season surveys and genetic analyses) is required to better characterise regional biodiversity values.

Keywords: Australian Monsoonal Tropics, endemism, lizard, mesic refigia, Oscar Range, saxacoline

Oedura murrumanu sp. nov.
Limestone Range Velvet Gecko

Etymology. ‘Murru manu(‘u’ pronouced as ‘oo’) is the word for gecko in the language of the Bunuba people of the south-west Kimberley. This new species is probably entirely restricted to the traditional lands of the Bunuba. 
Distribution. All museum and sight records are from around the type locality (Fig. 1). Further survey work is required to determine if it occurs elsewhere in the Oscar Range, however, there are no obvious barriers between the type locality and large areas of similar limestone to the east, west and north.

Ecology. The type series of O. murrumanu sp. nov. was collected towards the start of the ‘wet season’ (late October) following a brief rain shower. Individuals were observed on horizontal rock platforms and associated with deep horizontal crevices among smooth, weathered limestone (Fig. 7). Several were observed drinking water that had pooled on the rocks. The single adult female paratype (WAM R176699) contains well-developed eggs (approximately 10 mm in diameter and shelled), suggesting that at least some egg-laying occurs early in the wet season. Other geckos recorded at the same time and place were Gehyra cf. multiporosa, Heteronotia planiceps, and Nephrurus sheai.
At the same locality in the late wet season (late February, 2013) several individuals were observed in inaccessible spots on limestone pillars, and one further individual was observed on lower rocks as it appeared to be stalking smaller Gehyra species (G. Gaikhorst, pers. comm.).

Oliver, Paul M., Rebecca J. Laver, Jane Melville & Paul Doughty. 2014. A New Species of Velvet Gecko (Oedura: Diplodactylidae) from the Limestone Ranges of the southern Kimberley, Western Australia. Zootaxa. 3873(1): 49–61. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.3873.1.4