Wednesday, August 14, 2019

[Herpetology • 2019] Cnemaspis anandani • A New Species of Day Gecko of the Genus Cnemaspis Strauch, 1887 (Squamata : Gekkonidae) from the Nilgiri Hills, Tamil Nadu, India

Cnemaspis anandani
Murthy, Nitesh, Sengupta & Deepak, 2019

  Rec. Zool. Surv. India. 119(3) 

Based on the field explorations in the Western Ghats, a day gecko of the genus Cnemaspis 1887 is described from the Nilgiri hill ranges of Tamil Nadu. A medium sized gecko is distinguished from all the other congeners by a set of distinct morphological characters. Current taxonomic issues persisting among the members of genus Cnemaspis reported from the Western Ghats and India are discussed. The new species is found to have restrictive range of distribution in the higher elevations of Nilgiri hills. The discovery of a new high altitude endemic species indicates a need of further explorations in Nilgiri hill ranges.

Keywords: Cnemaspis, Gekkonidae, New Species, Nilgiri Hills, Taxonomy, Western Ghats.

Cnemaspis anandani sp. nov. (male) live in its habitat. 

Cnemaspis anandani sp. nov.

Species Diagnosis: A medium sized Cnemaspis with a maximum snout-vent length 41.2 mm; dorsal scales heterogeneous, entire dorsals keeled, scales are variable in size, interspersed with few large scales, irregularly arranged tubercles; two rows of enlarged 7-8 conical tubercles present on flanks; 3-4 small tubercles on the lateral side of the neck region; ventrals smooth with 16-18 mid body scales, imbricate; supra-labials to angle of jaw 7-8; infra-labials 7-8; sub-digital lamellae under manus IV 14-15; under pes IV 16-17; tail base slightly swollen, sub cylindrical, bulbous with a single post-cloacal spurs on each side; dorsal scales of tail is rough, keeled with two small, two enlarged tubercles on each side, weak whorls; sub-caudals smooth, enlarged, hexagonal, regularly arranged scales; male with 5-6 femoral pores, separated by 19–20 unpored femoro-precloacal scales; preanal pores absent. 

Etymology: The specific epithet is a patronym, named after Anandan Sethuraman an reputed Wildlife Conservationist, by honoring his contribution towards protection of Wildlife in the Niligiri district, Tamil Nadu, India. 

Suggested common name: Anandan’s Day Gecko

Distribution: Cnemaspis anandani sp. nov. is currently known to occur in Horasholai, Kotagiri and in Coonoor Gandhipuram (N 11.33 ; E 76.79), which is 6.16 miles aerial distance and Dolphin nose (N 11.35 ; E 76.82), which is 4.21 miles aerial distance from the type locality. The maximum altitude recorded for the species is 1,990 m ASL comparing to other high-altitude species described so far such as C. anamudiensis (1900 m ASL), C. maculicollis (1250 m ASL) and C. sisparensis (1500 m ASL). 

Natural history: The holotype and paratypes commonly found near the road side culverts, which is very close to the tea plantation and inside the hollow spaces of old wooden logs staked inside the tea plantation. The new species is found to be using the crevices for egg laying. We found large number of live animals in the evening hours around the walls of petrol pump in Kotagiri. Our field observations suggest this species is well adapted to live around human habitation.

B. H. Channakeshava Murthy, A. Nitesh , Shruti Sengupta and P. Deepak. 2019. A New Species of Day Gecko of the Genus Cnemaspis Strauch, 1887 (Squamata : Gekkonidae) from the Nilgiri Hills, Tamil Nadu, India. Rec. Zool. Surv. India. 119(3); 211-226. DOI: 10.26515/rzsi/v119/i3/2019/143339.