Wednesday, June 17, 2020

[Herpetology • 2020] Cnemaspis magnifica • A New Large-bodied, Rupicolous Cnemaspis Strauch, 1887 (Squamata: Gekkonidae) allied to Cnemaspis heteropholis Bauer, 2002 from the Central Western Ghats of Karnataka, India

Cnemaspis magnifica  
Khandekar, Thackeray, Pal & Agarwal, 2020 

We describe a new large-bodied, rupicolous Cnemaspis from near Sakleshpur in the Central Western Ghats of Karnataka, India. Cnemaspis magnifica sp. nov. is allied to C. heteropholis and can be diagnosed from all other Indian Cnemaspis by the absence of spine-like scales on flank; heterogeneous dorsal pholidosis, presence of only femoral pores in males, homogenous dorsal pholidosis of tail with small, smooth, regularly arranged, flattened, subimbricate scales, without whorls of enlarged tubercles, median row of sub-caudals enlarged and smooth. The new species differs from its closest congener C. heteropholis in body size, the number of longitudinal ventral scales, number of lamellae under digit I and IV of manus and pes, and subtle colour pattern differences; besides 9.1 % uncorrected ND2 sequence divergence. We provide the first description of topotypic male of C. heteropholis along with data on its distribution and natural history. The discovery of Cnemaspis magnifica sp. nov. with minimal field survey effort indicates the need for further herpetological exploration in the region.

Keywords: Reptilia, Biodiversity hotspot, cryptic species, dwarf geckos, nocturnal, taxonomy, Western Ghats

  Cnemaspis heteropholis, female in life (CES L693).

Cnemaspis magnifica sp. nov. male in life: (holotype - NCBS-BH699)

Cnemaspis magnifica sp. nov.

Etymology. The epithet is derived from the Latin magnifico (=magnificent) and is given to this striking species for its large size and conspicuous colour pattern.

Suggested Common Name. Magnificent Dwarf Gecko

Akshay Khandekar, Tejas Thackeray, Saunak Pal and Ishan Agarwal. 2020. A New Large-bodied, Rupicolous Cnemaspis Strauch, 1887 (Squamata: Gekkonidae) allied to Cnemaspis heteropholis Bauer, 2002 from the Central Western Ghats of Karnataka, India. Zootaxa. 4801(1); 57–84. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4801.1.2