## Sunday, July 19, 2015

### [Herpetology • 2015] Morphological and Molecular Review of the Gekko Diversity of Laos with Descriptions of Three New Species from Khammouane Province, central Laos; Gekko bonkowskii, G. sengchanthavongi & G. boehmei

 FIGURE 5. Map showing the type locality (black circle) of three new species of Gekko in Khammouane Province, central Laos. Fig. 2: Gekko bonkowskii; Fig. 8: G. sengchanthavongi; Fig. 10: G. boehmei  Luu, Calame, Nguyen, Le & Ziegler, 2015

Abstract
A review of the taxonomy, phylogeny, zoogeography, and ecology of the genus Gekko in Laos is provided based on morphological and molecular datasets. Three new species, which are both morphologically distinctive and molecularly divergent from described congeners, are described from Khammouane Province, central Laos: two members of the G. japonicus group, Gekko bonkowskii sp. nov. and Gekko sengchanthavongi sp. nov., and another member of the G. petricolus group, Gekko boehmei sp. nov. Gekko bonkowskii sp. nov. is closely related to the recently described G. thakekensis, which also occurs in Khammouane Province. Gekko sengchanthavongi sp. nov. is supported as a sister taxon to G. scientiadventura and Gekko boehmei sp. nov. is recovered as a sister species to G. petricolus. In addition, a key to the currently recognized members of the genus Gekko from Laos is provided.

Keywords: Gekko, morphology, taxonomy, molecular phylogeny, Khammouane Province, Laos, karst forest

Introduction
Rösler et al. (2011) provided a review of the taxonomy, phylogeny, and zoogeography of all currently recognized Gekko species based on morphological and molecular datasets. These authors assigned the members of the genus Gekko to six species groups, namely the G. gecko, G. japonicus, G. monarchus, G. petricolus, G. porosus, and G. vittatus groups. However, the genus Gekko Laurent, 1768 still remains a comparatively poorly researched lizard group, as new species are continuously described. One hot spot of Gekko diversity within Southeast Asia is Vietnam, with 13 currently recognized species: G. adleri Nguyen, Wang, Yang, Lehmann, Le, Ziegler & Bonkowski, G. badenii Szczerbak & Nekrasova, G. canaensis Ngo & Gamble, G. canhi Rösler, Nguyen, Doan, Ho & Ziegler, G. gecko (Linnaeus), G. grossmanni Günther, G. palmatus Boulenger, G. reevesii (Gray, 1831), G. russelltraini Ngo, Bauer, Wood & Grismer, G. scientiadventura Rösler, Ziegler, Vu, Herrmann & Böhme, G. takouensis Ngo & Gamble, G. truongi Phung & Ziegler, and G. vietnamensis Nguyen (see Rösler et al. 2011; Phung & Ziegler 2011; Nguyen et al. 2013). In comparison, the diversity of Gekko in Laos is still underestimated, with only five recognized species so far, namely Gekko gecko (Linnaeus), G. scientiadventura Rösler, Ziegler, Vu, Hermann & Böhme (Teynié et al. 2004), G. petricolus Taylor (Bain & Hurley 2011), G. thakhekensis Luu, Calame, Nguyen, Le, Bonkowski & Ziegler, and G. aaronbaueri Ngo, Pham, Phimvohan, David & Teynié (see Table 1).

During our recent field work in central Laos between 2013 and 2014, three unnamed Gekko populations were found in the karst forest of Khammouane Province. Two of them, from the karst forests around Bualapha and Thakhek towns, could be assigned to the Gekko japonicus group sensu Rösler et al. (2011) based on the following morphological characters: size moderate (SVL 58.2–99.2 mm); nares touching rostral; 0–21 dorsal tubercle rows at midbody; 0–32 precloacal pores; 1–4 postcloacal tubercles present; weakly developed webbing between fingers and toes; the absence of lateral fold tubercles; enlarged subcaudals; dorsal surface with blotches and bands (see Rösler et al. 2011; Nguyen et al. 2013; Luu et al. 2014). The third population from Bualapha town revealed to be a representative of the Gekko petricolus group sensu Rösler et al. (2011) based on the following morphological characters: size moderate (SVL 82.9–108.5 mm); nares in contact with rostral; three nasals; postmentals relatively large; dorsal tubercle rows 8–18; precloacal pores 8–15; postcloacal tubercles 1–3; webbing between fingers and toes absent; hind limb tubercles present; lateral fold tubercles absent; subcaudals enlarged; dorsal pattern of head and body more or less symmetrically blotched (see Rösler et al. 2011). However, all three taxa are clearly distinguished from the remaining species of the Gekko japonicus and Gekko petricolus species groups by a combination of differing morphological features together with molecular phylogenetic divergence based on the mitochondrial NADH dehydrogenase subunit 2 (ND2) gene (approximately 6.8 to 9.0 %). We thus describe these taxa as new species.

Gekko bonkowskii sp. nov.

Etymology. The new Gekko species is named after Professor Dr. Michael Bonkowski from the Zoological Institute, University of Cologne, Germany to acknowledge his engagement for herpetological and ecological research in the Indochina region. We suggest as common names: Bonkowski’s Gecko (English), Kap Ke Bonkowski (Laotian), and Bonkowskis Gecko (German).

Natural history. Specimens of Gekko bonkowskii were found at night between 20:00 and 21:00 on the tree trunk of shrubs, about 1.0–1.5 m above the ground, near the entrance of a karst cave at an elevation of 146 m a.s.l. Surrounding habitat was secondary forest of small hardwood and shrubs near a village (ca. 20 m) and about 40 m from the main road. The crepuscular or nocturnal new species co-occurs with at least two other gecko species in the same karstic microhabitat: Gekko gecko and the recently described bent-toed gecko Cyrtodactylus jaegeri (Luu et al. 2014). We also found the large huntsman spider species Heteropoda maxima (Jaeger) in the immediate vicinity of the observed gecko species (Fig. 6).

Gekko sengchanthavongi sp. nov.

Etymology. We name the new species in honour of Mr. Sinnasone Sengchanthavong, Natural Resources and Environment Department of Khammouane Province, Laos, in recognition of his great support of our field research in Hin Nam No NPA. As common names, we suggest Sengchanthavong’s Gecko (English), Kap Ke Sengchanthavong (Laotian), and Sengchanthavongis Gecko (German).
Natural history. Specimens of G. sengchanthavongi were collected on karst walls at night from 20:00 to 21:30 during small rain, ca. 1.5–4 m above the ground, at an elevation of ca. 210 m a.s.l. The surrounding area was disturbed secondary forest (Fig. 8).

Gekko boehmei sp. nov.

Etymology. The specific epithet honors Professor Dr. Wolfgang Böhme from the Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum Alexander Koenig (ZFMK), Bonn, Germany to acknowledge his great contributions to herpetological research. In particular we dedicate the new species to Wolfgang on the occasion of his 70th birthday. We suggest as common names: Boehme’s Gecko (English), Kap Ke Boehme (Laotian), and Böhmes Gecko (German).

Natural history. The specimens of Gekko boehmei were collected on karst walls between 20:00 and 21:00 after heavy rain, from 1.5 to 3 m above the forest floor, at an elevation of 196 m. The location was close to rice fields and about 100 m distant from the main road (Fig. 10).

Key to members of the genus Gekko reported from Laos

1     SVL > 160 mm; nares in contact with rostral only; iris yellow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .G. gecko gecko
1’    SVL < 160 mm; nares in contact with rostral and first supralabial; iris not yellow   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
2     SVL < 80 mm, dorsal tubercles absent . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
2’    SVL >80 mm, dorsal tubercles present. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . .   7
3     Interorbitals 41–51; scale rows around midbody 139–143   . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . G. scientiadventura
3’    Less than 41 interorbitals; less than 139 scale rows around midbody  . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . .   4
4     Scale rows around midbody 120–135 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . G. sengchanthavongi sp. nov.
4’    Less than 120 scale rows around midbody . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . .   5
5     Interorbitals 34–37; scale rows around midbody 98–104 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .G. aaronbaueri
5’    Less than 34 interorbitals; more than 104 scale rows around midbody  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
6     SVL 79 mm; interorbitals 26–27; scale rows around midbody 110–116, praecloacal pores 1–5; irregular blotches  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  G. thakhekensis
6’    SVL 69 mm; interorbitals 22–26; scale rows around midbody 117; praecloacal pores 6, regular blotches  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . .G. bonkowskii sp. nov.
7     SVL 101 mm; interorbitals 36–38; scale rows around midbody 152–156 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . G. petricolus
7’    SVL 95 mm; interorbitals 27–32; scale rows around midbody 104–114 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . G. boehmei sp. nov.

Luu, Vinh Q., Thomas Calame, Truong Q. Nguyen, Minh D. Le and Thomas Ziegler. 2015. Morphological and Molecular Review of the Gekko Diversity of Laos with Descriptions of Three New Species. Zootaxa. 3986(3): 279–306. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.3986.3.2