Saturday, January 19, 2019

[Herpetology • 2019] Cnemaspis nilgala • A New Species of the Genus Cnemaspis Strauch, 1887 (Squamata: Gekkonidae) from the Nilgala Savannah forest, Uva Province of Sri Lanka

Cnemaspis nilgala 
Karunarathna, Bauer, de Silva, Surasinghe, Somaratna, Madawala, Gabadage, Botejue, Henkanaththegedara & Ukuwela, 2019

Nilgala Day Gecko • නිල්ගල දිවාසැරි හූනා  ||  DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4545.3.4  
Photos: Madhava Botejue  

A new species of Cnemaspis Strauch, 1887 is described from Nilgala Savannah Forest in Sri Lanka. The new species is diagnosed from all other congeners by the following suite of characters: small body size (SVL< 33 mm), dorsal scales on trunk homogeneous, one pair of post mentals separated by a single small chin scale, ventral scales on trunk smooth, subimbricate, 17–19 scales across the belly. Subdigitals scansors smooth, entire, unnotched; lamellae under digit IV of pes 17 –18. Males with femoral pores on each thigh but lacking precloacal pores. Median row of subcaudals smooth, subimbricate, enlarged and in an irregular series of subhexagonal scales. This new species had been previously confused with Cnemaspis alwisi Wickramasinghe & Munidradasa, 2007. The new species differs from Cnemaspis alwisi by having 122–129 ventral scales (versus 146–152), 7–8 supralabials (versus 8–10), and relatively shorter SVL ranging between 31.5–32.9 mm (versus 37.8–39.9 mm). Further, the new species is genetically divergent from Cnemaspis alwisi, the species that it closely resembles by 13.5% and 7.8% from its sister species in the ND2 gene. The present discovery highlights the need for dedicated herpetofaunal explorations in Sri Lanka, especially the intermediate bioclimatic zone and associated cave systems and rock outcrops.

Keywords: Reptilia, Autecology, Conservation, Microendemic, Reproduction, Systematics, Threats

FIGURE 3. Cnemaspis nilgala sp. nov. male paratype (2018.06.02.NH) live in-situ (a) dorsolateral view of the full body; (b) dorsal view of the full body; (d) cloacal characters, femoral pores, and subcaudals pattern; (d) dorsal head; (e) lateral head; (f) ventral head; (g) smooth ventral area of the body; (h) subdigital lamellae on pes (Photos: Madhava Botejue).

Cnemaspis nilgala sp. nov.

Etymology. The species name is an eponym (nilgala) for the region it inhabits, the Nilgala savannah forest in Sri Lanka, formed here as a noun in apposition. 

Suggested vernacular names. The vernacular names suggested for the species are: Nilgala diva-sari huna - නිල්ගල දිවාසැරි හූනා (in Sinhala), Nilgala pahal-palli (in Tamil), Nilgala day gecko (in English).  

 Suranjan Karunarathna, Aaron M. Bauer, Anslem De Silva, Thilina Surasinghe, Lankani Somaratna, Majintha Madawala, Dinesh Gabadage, Madhava Botejue, Sujan M. Henkanaththegedara & Kanishka D. B. Ukuwela. 2019. Description of A New Species of the Genus Cnemaspis Strauch, 1887 (Reptilia: Squamata: Gekkonidae) from the Nilgala Savannah forest, Uva Province of Sri Lanka. Zootaxa. 4545(3); 389–407. DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4545.3.4